As Heard on NPR

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know what gets me through the week sometimes? The chance to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.

At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.

The Helio Sequence On World Cafe

Feb 4, 2013

Hailing from Beavertown, Ore., singer-guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer-keyboardist Benjamin Weikel started playing together in 1996. Three years later, the duo self-produced its first EP and officially formed The Helio Sequence.

The plummeting mercury in Alaska this time of year doesn't keep bikers inside. More and more of them are heading to recreational trails and to the office on "fat bikes." They look like mountain bikes on steroids, with tires wider than most people's arms.

Kevin Breitenbach runs the bike shop at Beaver Sports in Alaska's second-largest city. Aboard a fat bike, he makes his way down a trail that winds through a forest as wet, quarter-sized snowflakes drop from the sky. Visibility is low, and the snow hides the roughest spots on the trail.

Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters trio, died of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to her management. She was 94. The group's career spanned more than five decades and resulted in 90 million records and 46 top 10 hits.

The youngest of the sisters, Patricia Marie Andrews was just 19 when the trio became an overnight sensation crooning "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," a tune originally written for the Yiddish theater. Patty not only sang lead; she was clearly the star of the group.

This week brings two new high-profile drama series. One is The Americans, premiering Jan. 30 on the FX network; it's about sleeper KGB agents living in the U.S. during the Reagan era. The other is House of Cards, a new series premiering Feb. 1.

In culling through albums released late last year that I still play with pleasure, Paloma Faith's Fall to Grace was a real keeper. In contrast to my joy, Faith was singing about her agony: her broken heart, her wracked sobs about ruined affairs, her choked goodbyes to lovers who'd left her. She made all this sound tremendously intense and exciting. Not for nothing did she title her previous album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?

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It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Aaron Embry On World Cafe

Jan 29, 2013

If Aaron Embry's name doesn't sound familiar, his previous collaborators will. Embry was recently the touring pianist with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and has worked with the likes of Elliott Smith, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris.

Next: Hey Marseilles

Jan 29, 2013

The Seattle septet Hey Marseilles integrates symphonic cello, drumbourine, accordion and viola into a standard lineup of guitar, bass and drums for a warm, distinctive sound.

Nick Ward and Matt Bishop formed Hey Marseilles while students at the University of Washington, and independently released their first album, To Travels & Trunks, at the end of 2008. The band has since given the album a nationwide reissue and performed at festivals like SXSW and Bumbershoot.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

It was an announcement that made history.

SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: If they can do the job, if they can meet the standards...

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Fisher Stevens is a name you may not know but you've probably seen his face. He was in the 1986 film "Short Circuit" with Steve Guttenberg. Fisher also had a role in the 1995 movie "Hackers."

Latest Battle In Mali Has Deep Roots

Jan 27, 2013

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For some historical context on the fighting in Mali, we spoke with Gregory Mann. He's an associate professor of history at Columbia University and he's an expert on North Africa, including the area in northern Mali now controlled by insurgents.

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