This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
President Obama leaves tonight on a quick trip to Europe. He'll attend a G8 summit of industrialized nations in Northern Ireland. He'll also pay a visit to Germany, where his plans include a public speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate.
NPR's Scott Horsley will be traveling with the president. He joins us now. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Rachel.
Like a lot of Northern Ireland, County Fermanagh, where the G8 Summit is being held has been hit hard by the recession in recent years. A lot of businesses there have had to close their doors. But before world leaders started pouring in for the G8 Summit, county officials decided to give their town a bit of a facelift. With money from a government grant, they put fake storefronts on some of the shuttered businesses. Imagine big stickers plastered to store windows to make them look like thriving stores; a real butcher shop or a busy cafe.
We've started hearing from some of the Internet companies implicated in the NSA data collection scandal. On Friday, Facebook and Microsoft disclosed for the first time that last year they received thousands of requests from the government to hand over information about their users. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency is still on the defensive. The agency's head spoke on Capitol Hill last week in an effort to reassure lawmakers that the NSA is not spying on Americans.
Ambassador Crocker is watching what's happening in Iraq with a careful eye. So are the many Iraqis who fled the country several years ago, when sectarian tensions there escalated to something close to civil war. Haider al-Jumaili was one of them. He is a mechanical engineer but he lost his job after the U.S. invasion and found work as an interpreter for U.S. organizations. Eventually, the sectarian violence started to overwhelm him.
HAIDER AL-JUMAILI: I left my country because of these two words: The Sunnis and the Shias.
Google scientists have been testing a way to link computers to the internet in rural, war torn or disaster areas where high speed internet does not exist. We hear from Steven Levy, a senior writer with Wired magazine who was embedded with the Google team.