Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

National sorority leaders have told members at the University of Virginia not to attend a multi-frat Bid Night party after a discredited article about a gang rape.

Saturday is Boys' Bid Night at the University of Virginia, when fraternities welcome their new members.

Women from U.Va.'s sororities are always invited to join the Boys' Bid Night party, but this year, they're under strict orders from national sorority presidents to stay clear of frat houses. The orders come after a Rolling Stone article about a gang rape at U.Va. that was later discredited.

But the women at U.Va.'s sororities are outraged, calling the ban unnecessary and patronizing.

Students like Sara Surface say the controversy is about much more than a party.

"This is not an issue of we're angry because we can't go out and drink and party," Surface says. "It's an issue over whether or not we have the choice."

She admits that Boys' Bid Night sounds risky, but Surface has been active in rape prevention programs on campus and says the progressive party, where women go from one frat house to the next, often drinking at every stop, is actually quite safe. Many women — and men — do take safety measures, she says.

"People are assigned buddies to have them look out for each other," she says. "You stay in groups."

Surface says she has helped to educate hundreds of sorority women about how to intervene in situations where friends are at risk, and thinks parties are safer if sorority members are there. Fellow U.Va. student Sofia McKewen Moreno adds that even the matching tops women wear on Bid Night help protect them.

"They look like we're just trying to show off that we're in sororities, which to some degree I'm sure is true, but when you see a woman in a Tiffany-blue tank-top in the back of the room with a guy that she doesn't know, too drunk, and you're wearing that same shirt, you know to go to her," Moreno says.

She and Surface declined to say which sororities they belong to, but did defy a ban on talking with reporters to express their objections. They doubt that older women who run national sororities share the values of their younger members.

"I think that a lot of these national organizations are not used to the university tradition of self-governance, but that's something we hold very dear to our hearts here and that will continue to fight for," Surface says.

"The whole idea of, 'What was she wearing? What was she doing? Where was she and who with?' is not a concept that's even talked about in a serious manner," Moreno says. "To have a policy that specifically addresses, 'Who are you with, what are you wearing, and where are you going?' That does come off as a slap in the face."

She plans to observe the ban, but hopes officials will consult local chapters before taking future actions.

Meanwhile, U.Va.'s student council was deluged with complaints and voted unanimously against the restriction.

"They took a chaotic and emotional time in the University of Virginia's history as an opportunity to pass something that they've been trying to do forever," council representative Abraham Axler says.

National sororities have long complained that women have been used to lure new members to fraternities and should not be part of recruiting events, Axler says. He and other council leaders asked national sorority presidents to discuss the matter, he says, but they declined.

University President Teresa Sullivan did weigh in on Friday. She affirmed her belief in students' right to self-governance, but said women looking for fun might consider skipping the fraternity functions in favor of Saturday's basketball game, in which No. 2-ranked U.Va. faces its traditional rival, No. 4 Duke.

Copyright 2015 WVTF Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wvtf.org.

Libya was hopeful after Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, but today it's a nation torn apart, with two competing governments in two different cities, each with its own parliament and military.

There was hope in Libya and around the world for Libya after Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown four years ago.

But today, Libya is a country torn apart. There are now two competing governments, in different cities with their own parliaments and their own military.

A traveler first needs a visa from one government to land in Tripoli, then a so-called "landing permission" to fly east to the other government's territory — and has to hopscotch around jihadist-controlled areas along the way.

In Tripoli, one of the capitols, an umbrella group called Libya Dawn is in charge, allied with a loose group of militias. This government wants to make its case to the world and project Libya as a safe place — but the country doesn't feel safe, correspondent Leila Fadel tells NPR's Scott Simon.

"The streets empty out completely at night," Fadel says. "The main mall of the city is burned down, and honestly, you just feel scared that if something does happen, there's no one to call."

Very few diplomatic missions still operate in Tripoli, the U.S. presence is gone and the city has no centralized security force. Checkpoints are manned by masked gunmen with no clear identity, Fadel says.

In another sign of the city's slide into chaos, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel Tuesday, killing 10 people, including one American. Libya's representative to OPEC went missing Thursday; last week an Italian doctor in his 70s, who worked in a Tripoli hospital, was reported missing.

Fadel flew from Tripoli east to Baida, the unofficial second capitol, where a former general, Khalifa Hiftar, is in charge. Hiftar, who is followed by many former army officers, leads what he calls an anti-Islamist, anti-extremist operation.

Baida, a smaller city than Tripoli, feels more like a security state, with many more checkpoints.

"We were briefly taken in by the police because they didn't understand why we had traveled from the west to the east, and we had to call a low-level government official to take us out.

"When he did get us out, he did say to us, 'Listen, you have to understand: We're two countries now, and you came from the enemy side,' " Fadel says.

Polarization between the sides is growing, feeding extremism and the so-called Islamic State, which is in control of pockets of the country, she says. People feel stuck in the middle as politicians vie for power and resources.

"Now, in this very wealthy country, now, electricity is scarce, water comes in and out, there's a huge amount of displacement, huge fuel lines caused by the conflict," she says.

In fact, the country is in a worse situation than it was under Gadhafi, Fadel says. Militias, divided by region, by ideology, by tribe, now divide Libya, controlling what are essentially a series of city-states.

"The men that picked up arms to fight Gadhafi four years ago never put them down," she says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Who says a beheaded man can't still be head of state? NPR's Scott Simon speaks with British journalist, author and TV host Andrew Marr about his novel, Head of State.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.