High on a hill overlooking Pakistan's scenic Swat Valley sits a recently excavated cemetery. Italian archaeologist Luca Maria Olivieri walks across the site and lays a sun-beaten hand on a clay slab jutting out from a high, dun-colored wall. It's an ancient grave.
Olivieri says the remains still have to be carbon-tested, but archaeologists believe the graves contain members of a Dardic community, which dominated this part of Pakistan 3,000 years ago.
It's believed Alexander the Great fought one of his battles here, in the village of Udegram.
On Dec. 1, Kazakhstan celebrated a new holiday: "First President's Day." The central Asian country feted its long-time leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, though outside observers have criticized what appears to be a growing cult of personality around the president in the oil-rich country.
Convulsed by war and civil strife for decades, Afghanistan has experienced some of the largest ebbs and flows of migration anywhere in the world.
It began with the Soviet invasion in 1979, which sent millions of Afghans fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. When the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, many Afghans began returning home.
Now, the country has hit another milestone: For the first time since 2002 and the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, the country has a negative migration rate — more Afghans are leaving than returning.
Wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau is making a habit of tracking down roadkill. She actually seeks it out, hunting for clues about larger ecological trends. Garneau records it all on a free smartphone app, EpiCollect.
Standing by the side of the road in upstate New York, phone in hand, Garneau peers down at a dead, bloody and smelly skunk.
My well-documented weird affection for Hallmark movies brings me — along with NPR.org movies editor Trey Graham — to Weekend Edition on Sunday to talk to NPR's Rachel Martin about the high-profile theatrical holiday film as well as the corny basic-cable incarnations that are appropriate to this season.