NPR News

'Unauthorized' Book On WikiLeaks' Assange Released

Sep 22, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange found himself on the wrong side of an unauthorized leak of sorts on Thursday when his autobiography was released in Britain without his permission.

British publisher Canongate decided to go ahead and release Julian Assange: The Unauthorized Autobiography because it said Assange received a six-figure advance but then changed his mind and kept the money.

That's one small step for historians ...

We'll stop there and just go to the news:

"An archivist sifting through boxes of former President Bill Clinton's papers and memorabilia from his time as Arkansas governor [has] found a missing moon rock given to the state 35 years ago," the Arkansas News Bureau reports.

The Palestinian president is set to make a bid for statehood on Friday at the U.N., but President Obama said he'll veto the effort. A new Pew study shows some Americans strongly sympathize with Israel while others strongly support a Palestinian state. Michel Martin explores American public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center.

Georgia executed Troy Davis Wednesday night for the shooting death of a police officer, despite widespread opposition to the execution and Davis' innocence plea. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's new book says the Obama White House was a hostile workplace for women. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn confesses to "moral failing." The Beauty Shop women weigh in.

We know a little bit more about the fate of that falling weather satellite, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which is close to its fiery end. NASA now predicts the UARS will plunge into Earth's lower atmosphere "sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time".

If you shopped at a Trader Joe's store this summer, you might have passed activists wielding signs in the shape of plump red tomatoes with slogans like "Trader Joe's Exploits Farmworkers." The Florida-based labor rights group behind these picket lines is demanding that the grocer pay an extra cent per pound to the tomato pickers at the other end of the supply chain.

Why? Because those workers are some of the worst treated and lowest paid farmworkers in the U.S., the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers says.

People with asthma who've been relying on cheap, over-the-counter inhalers to get a soothing blast will have to look elsewhere for relief beginning in 2012.

The Federal Reserve can't seem to win.

Stocks around the world fell sharply Thursday, a day after Chairman Ben Bernanke and his Fed colleagues announced their latest plan to cut already-low interest rates in an effort to boost the economy. Analysts said the Fed's "Operation Twist" was actually a signal that the central bank is still extremely worried about the prospects for recovery.

Earlier this month on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made the case for President Obama's latest jobs plan, saying it "would have a substantial, powerful effect on strengthening the economy." Click here to read and hear his conversation with host Steve Inskeep.

The Pentagon's hunt for an alternative to petroleum has turned a lowly weed and animal fat into something indistinguishable from jet fuel and now the military is trying to kick-start a new bio-fuel industry.

"To flip the line from 'Field of Dreams', if the Navy comes, they will build it," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a recent speech.

There was outrage yesterday over the $16 muffins and $32 snack packs purchased by the Justice Department in recent years.

Today's this is outrageous news:

Diplomats owe the city of New York $17.2 million and owe Washington, D.C., more than $340,000 for unpaid parking tickets, Washington's WTOP-radio reports.

There were 423,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That's down 9,000 from the previous week. But, as The Associated Press says, claims "remain elevated" and at a level that underscores the weakness of the labor market.

The Associated Press says Palestinians remain "undeterred in U.N. statehood bid" despite a U.S. plan to use its Security Council veto to block a move by Palestinian leaders for U.N. membership as a state.

Now that the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis has been carried out in Georgia, the morning-after stories are focusing on the controversy over his punishment and the effect the case has had on all those involved.

Florida will be the center of Republicans' political universe for the next three days, starting with a televised GOP presidential debate Thursday night and wrapping up Saturday with a presidential straw poll.

Get used to it.

The spotlight will remain on Florida long after the last vote is tallied this weekend.

The protests of the Arab Spring have made it a risky time to be a ruler in the Middle East. But King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is among the world leaders at the United Nations this week, also sees opportunities.

"In certain countries, you're going to see revolution after revolution, until it calms down," the king tells Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep. "What we're trying to do in Jordan is [to] do evolution."

Johnson Publishing Company, the black American icon based in Chicago, is hiring. It's a sharp turnaround for a company that saw circulation numbers and revenue for its flagship Ebony and Jet magazines plummet over a number of years. Those numbers are on the rise now, and company officials say questions about Johnson Publishing's ability to survive the turmoil in the media industry are no longer relevant.

With the White House and Congress at loggerheads over how best to help the U.S. economy, some have pinned their hopes on the Federal Reserve to help fill the void.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the central bank still has a range of tools it can use to prop up the economy. But Greg McBride of the financial website Bankrate.com is not holding his breath.

The big losers of the Arab Spring in Egypt aren't just Hosni Mubarak and his allies.

Before the February revolution, one of every seven Egyptians made a living in the tourism industry. But nearly seven months after the popular uprising, foreign tourists are still largely staying away.

Their absence has delivered a multibillion-dollar financial blow that is reverberating from luxury tour operators down to vendors in Cairo's bazaars.

The Republican presidential candidates debate again Thursday night — this time in Orlando, Fla.

Mitt Romney, who comes to Florida as the former front-runner, is eager to find a way to knock the newest candidate in the race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, off his perch as the new GOP leader.

We already delivered the news earlier, but NPR's Robert Smith just delivered it in a more lyrical manner for our Newscast unit.

There's not much more we can add. You just have to listen:

Google Head Disputes That Company Thwarts Rivals

Sep 21, 2011

Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a Senate panel Wednesday that the company faces tough competition and isn't using its dominance in Internet search to stifle competitors.

Schmidt is testifying at a hearing examining whether Google is abusing its power to thwart competition by placing links to its own content and services at the top of search results to the disadvantage of its rivals' links.

A new survey of admissions officers released today by Inside Higher Ed, a news site for higher education professionals, shows that sometimes your worst thoughts about how colleges make admission decisions are right.

The survey found that in a cash-strapped environment, universities are paying more attention to whether a student can pay their own way and will pay more to attend the school.

Addressing the United Nations on Wednesday, President Obama reiterated his support for the creation of a Palestinian state. Still, the United States is expected to block the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership.

In the hours following Obama's speech, the kind of backstage negotiations that have dominated activity at the U.N. this week continued.

I don't want to freak you out. OK, maybe a tiny bit. Being a little scared might get you to wash your hands more often. And that would be a good thing for everyone.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday took the latest step in its effort to revive the economy, saying it will shift its portfolio of Treasury securities in a bid to drive down interest rates.

At 7 p.m. ET today, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in the state of Georgia. Davis' case has garnered international attention and he's been at this point three times before. As The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, on one occasion, the state stayed his execution two-hours before it was set to take place.

In West Bank, Tensions Run High Before U.N. Vote

Sep 21, 2011

With a diplomatic showdown looming at the United Nations, Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank both see their futures at stake, and emotions are running high.

In the Jewish settlement of Itamar this week, residents staged a march around what they call "the neighborhood." About 200 people were walking past hillside homes, separated by less than a mile from the large Palestinian city of Nablus.

Moshe Goldsmith, the mayor of Itamar, said the march was meant to show the world that the settlers are opposed to any U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state.

The two American men who stepped out of an Iranian prison Wednesday after spending more than two years in custody may have a tiny Persian Gulf nation to thank for greasing the wheels of their release.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, had been accused of espionage along with fellow American Sarah Shourd and sentenced to eight years in prison. They were freed in exchange for $1 million dollars and flown to Oman.

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