When Meliza Arellano started seventh grade at New York City charter school Democracy Prep four years ago, she was below grade level in both math and reading. She was put in a class that helps students like her get up to speed. Her teacher was Sarah Benko. That was the year Arellano became a serious student.
"I kinda didn't like you at first," Arellano tells Benko. She says Benko would take her outside to tutor her, and that made her mad.
At her old school, Arellano rarely attended class, and she says the teachers never encouraged her to put in the extra work to succeed.
The Congressional supercommittee, charged with coming up with a plan to cut the national deficit, had been invested with handling so many unrelated tasks that its failure last week has left Congress with a sizeable workload in its remaining weeks this year. Among them: possible extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, and a continuation of the entire federal budget. NPR congressional correspondent David Welna joins us to set the stage for December.
A group of human rights activists in Mexico has asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate President Felipe Calderon in connection with the deadly war on drug cartels. The complaint, spearheaded by human rights lawyer Netzai Sandoval, claims war crimes have occurred. The complaint was filed a day after two dozen bodies were found dumped in Guadalajara. NPR's Jason Beaubien has more.
The spillover effects of Mexico's drug war are taking a grim toll in Central America. The region has the highest homicide rate in the world, according to a new U.N. report, as traffickers move more and more U.S.-bound cocaine through Central America's struggling and weak states.
Nick Miroff has this story from Honduras, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
NICK MIROFF, BYLINE: Operation Lightning is Honduras's response to the murder problem.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. In Egypt today, protests are continuing ahead of tomorrow's parliamentary elections, the first since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and his replacement by a military council. The turmoil is not limited to Cairo. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in the city of Alexandria and she joins us now. Welcome, Soraya.
SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Audie.
Egyptians living abroad are eligible to vote in the upcoming election. Absentee ballots are being accepted at Egyptian embassies around the world, including Washington, D.C. Several of those voting there spoke with NPR about their hopes as well as their frustrations with the process.
Protestors in Egypt's Tahrir Square have called for another massive demonstration in advance of Monday's parliamentary elections, bringing on fears of renewed violence on election day. As turmoil continues, sexual violence and paranoia are on the rise. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Cairo.
Students sit at the Virginia Tech campus on April 18, 2007, two days after a student killed 32 people and himself. FBI victim specialists span out to help in the wake of crimes like the Virginia Tech massacre.
When FBI agents arrive at the scene of a shooting or a terrorist attack, there's often someone else standing in the background. It's a representative from the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance, there to help people suffering in the aftermath of a disaster.
The planning for those unfortunate days starts here, in a windowless conference room in the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building, where seven serious-looking people are sitting around a table.