Let's stay in Europe for our last word in business - about an ad that allegedly pushes Nationalist buttons.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The story starts with the Netherlands Energy Company. As a promotion, the energy company is offering free beer taps.
INSKEEP: We do not know how a free beer tap promotes using energy, but never mind. The company bought ads. The ads contain a warning for Netherlands women: Prevent your husbands from traveling to Ukraine to see this summer's European soccer championship. They thought...
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
For the president, next week is being billed as the official launch of his re-election campaign. Mr. Obama will be holding rallies in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. But it would be hard to tell a difference from this week, when Mr. Obama made a tour of college campuses in three other battleground states.
Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.
Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's follow up on the controversy over the American use of drones in Pakistan. Over the past few years, no issue has done quite as much to inflame public sentiment and stir anti-American feelings in Pakistan as drone strikes.
China and Africa have become major trading partners in recent years. Chinese companies have made a big push into Africa seeking raw materials like oil. And enterprising Africans now travel to China to buy cheap goods at the source and ship them home. Today, the city of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is home to some 10,000 Africans, the largest such community in China. The city's Little Africa neighborhood is a world unto itself, with restaurants specializing in African food to money changers who deal in the Nigerian currency.
Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.
Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.
Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.
Security professionals in both the U.S. government and in private industry have long feared the prospect of a cyberwar with China or Russia, two states capable of launching destructive attacks on the computer networks that control critical assets such as the power grid or the financial system.
Now they face a new cyberthreat: Iran.
"[The Iranians] have all the resources and the capabilities necessary to be a major player in terms of cyberwarfare," says Jeffrey Carr, an expert on cyberconflict who has consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense.
It's dinnertime at a bustling Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Little Africa neighborhood of Guangzhou, in southern China. Chinese schoolgirls nibble on fries, a grandmother feeds her grandson, and Kelvin Njubigbo stares at a single wing on his tray. His foot, wrapped in a gauze bandage, juts out from the table.
"Everything is risk in life," repeats Njubigbo. "It's all risk from the beginning to the last."
A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled Wednesday that they will uphold at least part of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Four provisions of the law were blocked by a federal appeals court last year, and while even some of the court's conservatives expressed skepticism about some of those provisions, a majority seemed willing to unblock the so-called "show me your papers" provisions.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:52 pm
The Republican primaries were certainly fun while they lasted, especially for political journalists and junkies for whom the intramural fighting generated no shortage of interesting and sometimes bizarre story lines.
But President Obama's campaign aides were all but certain from the start that they would be running against Mitt Romney. That was one of the few areas of agreement between the former Massachusetts governor's campaign and the Obama people.
Over the past year and a half, the world has seen crisis after crisis. Today, NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke to António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, mostly about the crisis in Sudan.
But at one point during their talk, Guterres rattled off the crises they've dealt with since the beginning of 2011: The Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, Yemen, both a famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa, Mali and now Syria is flaring up again.
It's been 20 years since Los Angeles erupted in riots following the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. There have been many changes in the city since those days of fire, looting and public discord, but perhaps the biggest changes can be seen in L.A.'s police department.
On a drive around the heart of South Central L.A., there are still plenty of weed-filled lots where businesses that burned down in the riots used to stand. There's also still a lot of crime.
Newt Gingrich has experienced a long slide since March 6, when he won Georgia's Republican primary. It was his second and final victory of the campaign season, but Gingrich fought to stay in the race through a Southern strategy that never caught on.
On Wednesday, a source close to the Gingrich campaign told NPR that he would officially suspend his campaign next week, and was likely to formally endorse Mitt Romney.
The U.N.-brokered cease-fire in Syria keeps unraveling. Syrian government troops were supposed to pull their tanks and soldiers out of cities and towns, while rebels were supposed to lay down their arms.
Yet hundreds of people have died in recent days, according to activists. And in some areas, visits by U.N. observers have been followed by intense violence.
The U.S. Postal Service is so much a part of this country, it's in the Constitution. And yet with so much written communication now delivered via email, text messages and the Internet, the Postal Service is steadily losing business and operating in the red.
Most people wouldn't think of Washington, D.C., as one of R&B's great cities. Despite the fact that soul music greats Marvin Gaye and Roberta Flack grew up in D.C. neighborhoods, the city never had the equivalent of Detroit's Berry Gordy and Motown, or Memphis' Willie Mitchell and Hi Records. But in the early 1970s, D.C. did have producer Robert Williams and his Red, Black and Green Productions. A new compilation album called Eccentric Soul: A Red Black Green Production revisits Williams' influence on the sound of R&B in D.C.
Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 8:10 am
Allegations that Wal-Mart officials in Mexico paid local authorities to speed up permits to build new stores could result in a trial and a huge financial penalty under a U.S. anti-corruption law. But legal experts who spoke to NPR have their doubts it will ever come to that.
Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 2:42 pm
Making a living practicing medicine is more complicated and frustrating than ever. But it still pays. And pretty well.
A survey of more than 24,000 doctors conducted online for Medscape, a doctor-oriented information service of WebMD, finds that their average annual pay ranges from $156,000 for pediatricians, the lowest-paid specialty, to $315,000 for the top earners.
A court in the Netherlands is set to deliver a verdict Thursday in a case involving a former head of state charged with international war crimes.
Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, is on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Netherlands. He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers — in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Tens of thousands died during Sierra Leone's vicious civil war, one that was infamous for the brutal hacking off of limbs.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed is ready to implement "balance sheet actions if necessary."
That means if the Federal Open Market Committee feels that the economic recovery is in danger, it is ready to implement a third round of quantitative easing, or bond purchases intended to bring down long-term interest rates and spur borrowing and spending.
"If appropriate... we remain entirely prepared to take additional action," the chairman said. "We will not hesitate to use them."
As I write this, it's about 1 a.m. in Nepal and, according to National Geographic magazine's iPad app, a group of climbers is camped on the side of Mount Everest, possibly sleeping (though we can't be totally sure), at nearly 21,000 feet. They expect to make a final summit push in early May.