Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has won a decisive election victory, extending its control to the upper house of parliament and setting the stage for the country's first stable government in years.
Based on exit polls, national broadcaster NHK predicts that Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, will take 71 seats, giving them a total of 130 seats, eight more than needed for a majority in the chamber.
Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe has been sworn in as the country's seventh monarch, succeeding his father, Albert II, who abdicated on Sunday after a 20-year reign.
Albert, 79, resigned the throne on Sunday, citing ill health. He officially signed away his rights to the largely ceremonial post in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who holds the real political party in Belgium, a 183-year-old constitutional monarchy.
Another American who listened intently to President Obama's remarks Friday was linguist and commentator John McWhorter. He's written several books about race in America, including "Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority." McWhorter says Mr. Obama's emphasis on the police and criminal justice hit an essential problem of black inequality in America.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Pope Francis is headed to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow for World Youth Day. It's actually a week-long gathering for young Catholics held every few years in a different part of the world. The event is meant to inspire and energize the faithful, and more than a million young pilgrims are expected to attend this year. Pope Francis is the first pope from Latin America and he's making his first papal visit overseas. It is to Latin America.
Howard Norman's memories of the strange incidents of his life compose his memoir. In 2003, his family rented their house to a poet, who killed her son and then herself in the Normans' home. Norman, his wife and daughter decided to continue living there, giving a certain weight to the title of his memoir, I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place.
But his book begins in a very different place, with the story of Norman's childhood, a bookmobile and a swan.
Every year for the past four decades, comic book fans dressed as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman - anything, really - have descended upon the city of San Diego for Comic-Con. The convention has grown as fast as a speeding bullet in the last decade. This year, an estimated 130,000 Con-goers are walking the floor, sitting on panels, and boosting their geek credentials at various workshops.