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Chinese Activist Leaves Beijing For U.S.

May 19, 2012

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Failure To Launch: SpaceX Delays Mission

May 19, 2012

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Katie Beckett has died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the age of 34. She was just 3 years old when her case changed health care law. NPR's Joseph Shapiro has more.

The Steel Wheels: Americana, Made By Hand

May 10, 2012

The Harrisonburg, Va., band The Steel Wheels embraces a hand-hewn quality in its music, which is a collection of American sounds reaching from mountains to fields. The group's first album, Red Wing, showed more of the grain and rougher edges, but Lay Down, Lay Low has been buffed to a high polish. The new album is stronger in its use of the band's vocal talents, reminiscent of the four-part singing of the Mennonite communities where several of them once lived.

Hailing from Washington state, Brandi Carlile began her music career at the age of 8, when her musician mother brought her on stage to sing a Rosanne Cash song. From then on, music was her constant companion, as she taught herself to sing, play the piano and later the guitar. Her latest album, 2009's Give Up the Ghost (produced by Rick Rubin), featured a guest appearance by Elton John and helped earn Carlile the "Breakthrough" artist honor at Seattle's City Of Music Awards.

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