Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 7:47 am
Michael J. Williams said he is stepping down as chief executive of the quasi-governmental mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The company made the announcement late last night, saying Williams will wait to step down until the board of directors names a successor.
"I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader," Williams said in a statement.
Twinkies maker Hostess Brands Inc., is again seeking protection from its creditors, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the company tries to cope with high debt and rising costs of labor and raw materials.
Hostess, which also makes Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and Wonder Bread, is a privately held company based in Irving, Tex. It owes millions to suppliers and labor unions. The company has reportedly found some financing to keep it running during bankruptcy proceedings.
Pakistani officials say the United States launched a drone strike early Wednesday morning for the first time since November. The AP says the drone strike killed four in North Waziristan, which is close to the Afghan border and has been a hot spot for U.S. strikes.
An Iranian nuclear scientists was killed by a car bomb in Tehran this morning, Iran's official news agency said. According to Press TV, Iran's English-language outlet, a magnetic bomb was placed beneath Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's car by a man in a motorcycle.
Press TV says Roshan and his driver were killed and a bystander was injured. Roshan was a "chemical engineering graduate and served as marketing deputy of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility."
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 7:12 am
The satisfying victory Mitt Romney harvested in New Hampshire's primary this week was marred by the late eruption of a blemish. It could be a passing cloud in the otherwise blue Romney sky, or it could be the sign of storms ahead.
Does anyone remember Willie Horton? Does anyone remember the tragic trajectory of another Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis, in 1988?
New Hampshire And Beyond: A Special Elections Podcast
Mitt Romney's convincing win in New Hampshire — and what that might mean for upcoming contests in the Republican presidential race — is the subject of a special podcast prepared fresh this morning from NPR News.
The podcast includes highlights from what the candidates had to say about the outcome in New Hampshire, plus NPR reporting on how Romney put together his victory. It also examines how the focus of the campaign will change as the GOP hopefuls descend on South Carolina ahead of that state's Jan. 21 primary.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:23 pm
Now it's South Carolina's turn.
If the Palmetto State, the "First in the South" primary, plays its traditional role in the Republican presidential nomination process, it will be where the White House hopes of virtually every candidate except the eventual nominee will go to die in about 10 days.
It's not for nothing that it's called the "South Carolina Firewall." And at this moment, it's looking like it's Romney's firewall.
There's a new award for brutal book reviews in Britain: the Hatchet Job of the Year Award. A Julian Barnes book is dismissed as "just so... average." A biography of Martin Amis is called "spectacularly bad writing about spectacularly good writing."
Ben Motz of Indiana University looked at NFL games over a 25-year span, and found the home team won 57 percent of the time. Professor Motz did find the home team's winning percentage dropped with the advent of instant replay.
With last night's results part of history, the candidates and press turned very quickly to South Carolina, which the AP says "is shaping up to be a dogfight."
And the stakes are high: After winning New Hampshire, Mitt Romney became the first non-incumbent Republican to win the primary season's first two contests, so as Bloomberg puts it, South Carolina, which votes Jan. 21, may be the last chance opponents have to derail Romney.
In politics, success breeds success. That's why Mitt Romney is looking strong as attention turns to the next Republican primary in South Carolina.
Any expectations that Romney's fortunes might fade were overturned Tuesday in New Hampshire. The former Massachusetts governor won a solid plurality with some 39 percent of the vote — more than 15 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Several decades ago, more than half the states had eugenics laws — measures that allowed governments and others to forcibly sterilize people. It was a difficult chapter for many states and now North Carolina is looking to make amends. A task force says each of the state's 2,000 living victims should receive $50,000.
As expected, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary. Texas Rep. Ron Paul clinched second place — ahead of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Paul told a crowd of supporters that he was nibbling at the heels of the front-runner.
The Federal Reserve usually worries about interest rates and inflation. But lately, Fed officials have been focusing on housing. They've been out in public, pushing measures they think will help the housing market. David Wessel, economics editor at The Wall Street Journal, talks to David Greene about proposed changes to mortgage financing.
While Mitt Romney celebrates, his rivals face a harsh reality. For all the Republican anxiety about Romney - conservatives saying he's not really conservative, columnists worrying that he doesn't seem authentic; fear that the whole GOP field just isn't very strong - Romney has won both Iowa and New Hampshire.
Now, for some perspective, New Hampshire accounts for a tiny portion of the delegates Republicans are competing for – just 5 percent. Bigger states later on in the election season will award many more delegates. But voters in the Granite State feel their votes serve as an important vetting process, a springboard for candidates. And NPR's Andrea Seabrook spent election day talking to those voters.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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The United States appears to have resumed drone attacks in Pakistan, specifically in Pakistan's tribal areas, where they've been used to target militants operating along the border with Afghanistan. This strike comes after at least a six-week break in drone strikes. NPR's Julie McCarthy has just finished three years as NPR's Islamabad bureau chief. She's on the line to talk about this.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 12:59 am
For the many reasons that the Republican presidential debates have been so popular, the main one is simply that they're live. Happening right before our eyes. When Rick Perry says "Oops," he's saying it just as we're hearing it. Live. Wow: "Oops."
This is why, whether you like sports or not — perhaps you'd desperately prefer NPR to have somebody else right now, talking about something really important, not sports — nonetheless, each month, you're charged about eight bucks on your cable bill for the privilege of not watching sports.
Seven time zones and thousands of miles separate Russia's capital, Moscow, from the port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. NPR journalists traveled the full length of the Trans-Siberian railroad and report on how Russia's history has shaped its people, and where, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians want their country to go.
First of three parts
Two decades after the collapse of communist rule, just where is Russia headed? Scholars, diplomats and poets are spending careers contemplating the question.
Between 1960 and 1976, the Dodge Dart was one of the best-selling cars in America, with its affordable price and rugged styling. More than 3.5 million Darts were sold.
Though the car was never known for being especially stylish or pretty, Chrysler is now reviving the name as the company continues its own revitalization. On Monday, it unveiled the new Dart at the 2012 North American Auto Show in Detroit.
Consumers who sign credit card agreements that feature an arbitration clause cannot dispute fees or charges in court, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The 8-to-1 decision drew immediate fire from consumer advocates.
To get a credit card, a consumer generally must sign a detailed agreement. In the fine print, almost always, is an arbitration clause that says that if consumers want to dispute fees, they must do so through arbitration, not in court.
Tens of millions of people tune in every week to the Chinese dating show Take Me Out. It's pure entertainment: girls in skimpy dresses hoping for a date; sweaty, geeky guys stammering questions; and two effete hosts sporting matching bouffant hairstyles.
But as of last week, the show was bumped from prime time — part of China's latest clampdown against "excessive entertainment," which is itself a manifestation of a larger ideological campaign.
The 20 detainees who stumbled down the gangway had been put on a nonstop flight from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to Cuba. The men came from all over the Middle East and Africa: Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan. They all wore the same blackened goggles, earmuffs and orange socks as U.S. soldiers guided them from the plane by their elbows.
Melissa Block talks about the New Hampshire primary to NPR's Mara Liasson. She also talks to our political commentators E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and Matthew Continetti, opinion editor of The Weekly Standard, about the results of the New Hampshire primary.