NPR News


2:03 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Despite Deal, Credit Downgrade Still A Possibility

Congress' tentative deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts, far short of the $4 trillion in deficit reductions proposed earlier in the process.

And that keeps the doors open to a potential downgrade in the country's credit rating. Of the three major ratings agencies, Standard & Poor's toed the hardest line on a possible downgrade to U.S. debt.

Last month, S&P said there was a 50 percent chance the U.S. could lose its top AAA rating if Congress failed to come up with a "credible agreement to reduce the debt."

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America's Mayors: Governing In Tough Times
1:59 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Redondo Beach: Unusual Leadership Dodges Red Ink

While much of California is struggling financially, the city of Redondo Beach has managed to stay out of the red.
The City of Redondo Beach

Part 4 of a 6-part series

The wall in the hallway outside the Redondo Beach Mayor's Office kind of says it all: There is row after row of smiling faces. Almost all male. All pale. Some blond, some gray. All very indicative of what many Americans still think of when you say "California beach city," until the last photo in the last row.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

S.C. Loses Civil Rights Legend Judge Matthew Perry

In 2004, the federal courthouse where U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry worked was named after him. Here, Perry speaks at the dedication ceremony.
Lou Krasky AP

The state of South Carolina has lost a leading light of its Civil Rights transformation, as U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry died this past weekend. Perry, who spurred social and educational integration, would have celebrated his 90th birthday this week.

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12:46 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

China Aims To Renew Status As Scientific Superpower

A researcher works at the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics in central China's Hubei province on June 9. Beijing's spending on research and development has increased over the past few years in an effort to re-establish the country's scientific prowess.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 3, 2011 3:32 pm

First in a three-part series

China was probably the world's earliest technological superpower, inventing the plow, the compass, gunpowder and block printing. Then, science in the Middle Kingdom languished for centuries.

Until 1893, the Chinese didn't even have a word for "science." That was when a Japanese term originally made its way into the Chinese language, a symbol of just how much of a latecomer China was to modern science.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Exploring Asteroid Belt

NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image of the giant asteroid Vesta with its framing camera on July 24, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 3,200 miles.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has started beaming back pictures of the second largest body in the Asteroid belt that's between Mars and Jupiter. The images are the first of the asteroid Vesta, which is about the size of Colorado, and they are stunning:

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Colleges For Partying, Eating, And Learning (If You Must)

College students aid a colleague as he performs a keg stand in this file photo. Princeton Review released its new list of top party schools in America Monday.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 12:16 pm

For the second year in a row, two universities in towns named Athens are at the top of the Party Schools rankings put out by the Princeton Review. But this year, Ohio University topped the University of Georgia for the No. 1 spot.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:19 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Feds Order Insurers To Cover Birth Control Free Of Charge To Women

Before long, almost all insurers will have to cover birth control pills at no charge to women.

Even though the decision was widely expected, there's no denying the news is still a pretty big deal. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted in full the women's health recommendations issued two weeks ago by the independent Institute of Medicine.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:27 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Food On A Plate Shouldn't Move


Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 12:07 pm

There should be a law that says food on a plate shouldn't move.

Especially when you're about to eat it.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon August 1, 2011

CBO: Budget Compromise Would Cut At Least $2.1 Trillion

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 10:46 am

The independent Congressional Budget Office has finished scoring the budget compromise reached by President Obama and Congressional leaders, yesterday.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the CBO reports that because of budget caps, the legislation would reduce budget deficits by $917 billion between 2012 and 2021 and because of spending cuts, it would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. That's a $2.1 trillion cut over the next ten years. Using another projection, it found the cuts could amount to at least $2.3 billion.

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10:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Debt Agreement Is An Answer But No Solution?

President Obama and congressional leaders reached an agreement Sunday to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. The plan raises the debt ceiling and cuts more than $2 trillion from government spending over a decade. The Senate is expected to vote on it today. To learn more about the deal, host Michel Martin speaks with U.S. News and World Report's Mary Kate Cary and The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart.

Can I Just Tell You?
10:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Debt Talks: Getting Locked In And Driving Out

How is negotiating a federal spending plan like getting out of a crowded parking lot?

I was trying to keep track of the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling this weekend, and all of a sudden, it reminded me of an incident I had in a parking garage near my house last year.

It was late spring or summer, and it was hot. I had the kids with me, and we were finished doing whatever it was we were doing, and we were ready to go home. We jumped into the car and tried to head out. But we could not.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Mon August 1, 2011

It's Hot Out There, But Dallas Is Hotter

July was scorching. The National Weather Service says it was the warmest month on record in Washington, D.C.(84.5) Oklahoma City (89.2) and Wichita Falls (92.9). And the stifling heat will continue in the Southern and Central Plains, this week.

But as you wipe that sweat off your brow, think about Dallas. The city is in the midst of a 30-day streak of triple-digit temperatures. That is the second hottest streak in history.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Manufacturing Hits Lowest Level In 2 Years

The markets reacted positively to the debt ceiling deal this morning, but bad news on the manufacturing level sent them lower.

The Institute for Supply Management announced that manufacturing activity barely grew in July. The AP reports:

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8:39 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Congress Gears Up For Possible Debt Deal Votes

Vice President Biden walks through the Senate Subway on his way to meetings at the U.S. Capitol on Monday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

House and Senate leaders prepared for possible votes Monday on the tentative deal to raise the government's debt ceiling and prevent a U.S. default.

Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the votes could come as early as Monday evening, depending on the outcome of meetings with members. Cantor's office said the House would go first.

The agreement gained momentum in the Senate on Monday after months of partisan rancor.

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The Two-Way
8:37 am
Mon August 1, 2011

FBI Says It Has 'A New Suspect' In D.B. Cooper Skyjacking Case

A 1971 artist's sketch released by the FBI shows the skyjacker known as 'Dan Cooper' and 'D.B. Cooper'. The sketch was made from the recollections of passengers and crew of a Northwest Orient Airlines jet he hijacked between Portland and Seattle.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue August 2, 2011 10:41 am

Forty years after parachuting into folklore, the mysterious skyjacker identified as D.B. Cooper may soon be identified.

"We do actually have a new suspect we're looking at," says FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandolo Dietrich in a story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph. "And it comes from a credible lead who came to our attention recently via a law enforcement colleague."

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Mon August 1, 2011

142 People Are Dead, As Government Crackdown Continues In Syria

A makeshift gallows with a poster shows the pictures of former Syrian president Hafez Assad, and his sons, including current President Bashar Assad.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad continued its bloody offensive against protesters today. On Sunday, government forces shelled the city of Hama and human rights groups said there were as many as 142 people dead.

Al Jazeera reports that the people of Deir ex-Zor, who were protesting the attack on Hama, found themselves under fire this morning:

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Middle East
7:57 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Syrian Opposition Echoes Cry For Liberty Or Death

In a photo provided to AFP by a third party, Syrians demonstrate against the government after Friday prayers in Hama on July 29. The Syrian government has banned most foreign media from entering the country, making it difficult to independently confirm events.
- AFP/Getty Images

The holy month of Ramadan begins Monday in many parts of the Muslim world — 30 days of fasting from dawn to dusk, when large crowds gather for an additional nighttime prayer.

Ramadan could also be a decisive time for the protest movement in Syria. The government has stepped up mass arrests as activists vow to shift from weekly rallies to nightly ones outside mosques that have become centers of protest.

"I am not going to stop," said Mohammed Ali, a 24-year-old architect, and one of many activists who say they will be on the streets every night during Ramadan.

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Latin America
10:12 am
Thu July 28, 2011

After 50 Years, Cuban Houses To Go Up For Sale

In the years after Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution, Havana's neighborhoods went through an extraordinary upheaval. As wealthy and middle-class families fled, poorer Cubans moved into their homes.

Now, communist authorities are preparing to legalize property sales for the first time in 50 years, and the city's old racial and class divisions are already creeping back.

House Hunting

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8:20 am
Thu July 28, 2011

How Bin Laden's Death Has Affected Al-Qaida

Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and Foreign Affairs, among others. The Longest War is his third book.
Scott Wallace

Is al-Qaida planning an attack to coincide with the tenth anniversary of September 11?

"Of course they'd like to," says national security analyst Peter Bergen. "And some of the materials recovered in the [Osama] bin Laden compound indicate a desire to do something. But a desire to do something is quite different than actual implementation. I think that this is a group that that has not only suffered the loss of its leader, but was already in very bad shape before that happened."

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7:53 am
Mon July 25, 2011

Reliving D-Day, With Paintballs And Referees

Allied Gen. John Holme, aka "Mad Kow" (left), and Nicky Angel Valor are seen at the "Invasion of Normandy" paintball battle — the largest event of its kind in the world. "This is our Superbowl," Valor says.
Rob Sachs for NPR

Thousands of people traveled to a field near Jim Thorpe, Pa., earlier this month to re-create one of the most famous battles in history: D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. But with live ammunition — paintballs — and no predetermined winner, it wasn't a typical re-enactment.

In the paintball world, the invasion of Normandy isn't just an event, it's the event.

"This is our Super Bowl," says Nicky Angel Valor.

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Around the Nation
3:45 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

Honey, Stop The Car: Monuments That Move You

You know the feeling: You're driving and you spot a little-known memorial that makes you want to pull over and find out more. It could be a monument to some local hero or to a long-forgotten historical moment. NPR is taking a summer-long road trip and exploring the deep — and sometimes mysterious — histories of these spots. Click on the icons below to explore the series.

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The Impact Of War Project
9:14 am
Fri July 15, 2011

Military Dogs Enjoy Brighter Future After Service

Marine Cpl. Daniel Cornier and his colleague, Chaak, in Afghanistan. "Pretty much trust him with my life," Cornier says.
Courtesy of Daniel Cornier

The military's four-legged warriors now have a more hopeful future in store.

Military working dogs were once euthanized when their service days were over.

But, their fate is changing as military and civilian families pressure the Defense Department to make it easier for handlers to adopt their canine colleagues.

Looking out over Camp Pendleton's K-9 training field in California, Marine Cpl. Daniel Cornier shares stories about Chaak, the dog he deployed with to Afghanistan.

His words are halting and emotional.

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