Food
3:41 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Is U.S. Farm Policy Feeding The Obesity Epidemic?

Joe Raben harvests corn on land he farms with his father and uncle Oct. 4, 2008, near Carmi, Ill. Some farmers say technological improvements and farming mechanization, not subsidies, are responsible for increased output.
Scott Olson Getty Images

These days, U.S. farm policy is blamed for a lot of things — even the nation's obesity epidemic. The idea is that the roughly $20 billion in subsidies that the federal government gives to farmers encourages them to grow too much grain. As a result, the theory goes, prices drop, food gets cheaper and we end up eating too much.

It seems like a simple equation. But the truth is rarely simple. So what's really going on?

Americans Eat Cheap

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Melissa Block joined NPR in 1985 and has been hosting All Things Considered since 2003, after nearly a decade as an NPR correspondent.

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

National Security
3:26 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Congressman Wants Probe Of Bin Laden Movie

A House committee chairman wants an investigation of Obama administration cooperation with award-winning filmmakers on a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The White House says it did not give anyone special access.

Republican Peter King, who heads the Homeland Security Committee, says there has been too much talk already about the raid by Navy SEALS that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

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Economy
3:25 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Fed May Need To Find New Tricks Up Its Sleeve

The Federal Reserve has issued one of its gloomiest pronouncements about the economy in a long time: It says it sees little prospect that growth will rebound much anytime soon, and that it's ready to keep interest rates low for the next two years.

The recent downturn leaves Fed officials without any of its obvious ways of fixing the economy, and analysts say it may need to try steps it hasn't taken before.

Joe Gagnon spent part of his career as a Fed economist, and Tuesday he saw something he thought he'd never see at the central bank.

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Media
3:22 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Murdoch To Take Questions From Investors, Media

Rupert Murdoch is expected to take questions from analysts, investors and reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The call follows Tuesday's meeting of the News Corp. board — the first such meeting since the phone hacking scandal that has roiled the company.

The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

PIMCO's Gross: The Days Of The Markets As Saviors Are Over

Bill Gross, founder and managing director of PIMCO, runs the world's largest mutual fund. What he had to say about the markets to Michele Norris on today's edition of All Things Considered was pretty gloomy.

Michele asked him what advice he would give to friends and family facing economic uncertainty and tumbling markets. He said first of all they should "lower their expectations."

He also said they should listen to the words of Will Rogers, a newspaper columnist, who said "I'm more concerned about the return of my money as opposed to the return on my money."

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After nearly a decade as an award-winning Foreign Correspondent with NPR's international desk, Eric Westervelt returned in September 2013 to domestic news with a new national beat covering American education as an Education Correspondent.

In this role, he covers the news, issues, and trends in classrooms across the country, from pre-K to higher education. He has a strong interest in the multiple ways in which technology is disrupting traditional pedagogy.

Westervelt recently returned from a 2013 John S Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. The fellowship focused on journalistic innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and the future of news.

Europe
2:46 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Britain Ramps Up Security Efforts To Stop Rioting

Police forensic officers work at the scene where three people were killed after being struck by a vehicle Wednesday in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, England.
Jeff J Mitchell Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:34 am

After more rioting overnight, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that it was time to fight back, vowing that he wouldn't allow "a culture of fear" take over the country's streets.

"Whatever resources the police need, they will get; whatever tactics police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so. We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets," he said in a statement outside his Downing Street office Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

National Scrabble Champion Defends Title, Wins Tournament

Nigel Richards successfully defended his National Scrabble Championship title in Dallas, winning a $10,000 first prize.
Patricia Hocker PR NEWSWIRE

The king of American Scrabble has kept his crown, as Nigel Richards spelled his way to the 2011 National Scrabble Championship title and a $10,000 prize. Richards, 44, is a former world champion from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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