The battle between the Obama administration and the House Oversight and Government over the Fast and Furious operation just ratcheted up another notch. There's word that the White House is exerting executive privilege over documents that the committee's Republican majority has subpoenaed.
New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as Greek prime minister, correspondent Joanna Kakissis and Sky News report.
As Joanna reported earlier for our Newscast Desk, Samaras' conservative New Democracy party came in first during Sunday national elections, but didn't get enough support to govern on its own. So it will share power with the Socialist PASOK and a small pro-European party — The Democratic Left.
We don't do too many traffic reports, but this news has the potential to be both fascinating and frustrating — depending on whether you're watching from afar or stuck inside a gridlocked car:
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge that carries U.S. Route 50 traffic back-and-forth between Washington, D.C., and mid-Atlantic beaches will be closed for about 40 minutes today, starting around 1:15 p.m. ET, so that a cargo ship carrying four huge cranes can pass (safely, we hope) beneath the span.
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, spent the night at the embassy of Ecuador in London. Yesterday, he unexpectedly walked into the embassy and requested political asylum. Assange is seeking to avoid being extradited from Britain to Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning about allegations of sex crimes, including rape. We're joined by NPR's Phil Reeves in London. Phil, why do this now?
Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:07 am
The defense rested its case just before noon ET today and closing arguments will begin Thursday in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing young boys, according to reporters from The Associated Press, NPR and other news outlets.
Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.
Our Original Post: If Sandusky Is Going To Testify, Today's The Likely Day
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and not born in Ohio. The idea of Superman was conceived in Glenville, Ohio back in the 1930s, but when a proposed Superman-themed license plate called Ohio birthplace of Superman, DC Comics and Warner Communications objected. Superman, they point out, was born on the planet Krypton. It's MORNING EDITION.
Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:42 am
The Federal Reserve — the nation's central bank — will end its two-day meeting on Wednesday by offering its assessment of the economy, and then declaring its latest plan for making things better.
Investors all over the world will be waiting to hear just how weak — or not — the Fed thinks the U.S. economy is. And they will be watching to see whether the bankers plan to continue trying to stimulate growth by extending two controversial programs, one known as Operation Twist, and the other as quantitative easing.
Mitt Romney has wrapped up his most extensive campaign trip since becoming the all-but-official Republican nominee for president. Over the past five days, he visited six potential battleground states, touring each by bus. Along the way, he honed his attacks on President Obama, while also trying to show voters a more relaxed Mitt Romney than they've seen so far.
The tour, called Every Town Counts, stayed mostly in counties friendly to Republicans, ending with three stops in Michigan yesterday, the state where Romney was born.
For the Miami Heat, it's three down, one to go. Last night in Miami, the Heat pulled within one win of an NBA championship, with 104 to 98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. That gives Miami a 3-to-1 lead in the series and a comforting statistic for Heat fans to think about until tomorrow night's game 5. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now to talk about it.
And our last word in business is: supersized couch potato.
This week, Japanese electronics maker Sharp unveiled what it's calling the biggest LED TV on the planet. The 90-inch set has WiFi built in and you can buy it with a webcam option. You could, say, Skype with 50 people at once and see all their faces.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Of course, you would need a lot of wall space and a fat wallet. It cost $11,000.
That's the business news on MORNING EDITION. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Now, for a global perspective on our national weight problem. The number of humans on the planet is now more than seven billion. And our total weight is 287 million tons. That number comes from a new study that suggests weight, not just headcount, should be considered when looking at the impact of people on the planet.
To find out more, we called Ian Roberts. He's a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and is the lead author of this study.
Leaders of the world's biggest economies wrapped up the G-20 summit in Mexico Tuesday with a promise to work together to promote jobs. The meeting comes amid worrisome signs of slowing growth in the United States and elsewhere.
NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.
U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.
As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.
Now, to policy making with some fizz. The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has proposed limiting the size of sodas and sweetened drinks that can be sold in the city.
Henrietta Davis said she was inspired by the mayor of New York. Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sales of oversized sugary drinks in his city's restaurants. Mayor Davis says soda is a factor behind increasing obesity and heart disease among young people.
Vannak Prum of Cambodia was trafficked onto a Thai fishing boat and forced to work for three years before he escaped by jumping overboard. He was honored at the State Department in Washington on Tuesday as the U.S. issued its annual report on human trafficking around the world.
Credit Becky Palmstrom and Shannon Service for NPR
A Cambodian policeman escorts 30 fishermen returning home after being freed or escaping from slave-like conditions on Thai fishing vessels. The men arrived at the Phnom Penh airport in December. Large numbers of men from Myanmar and Cambodia are trafficked onto Thai fishing boats and forced to work in brutal conditions.
Credit Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP/Getty Images
Thailand has a huge fishing fleet, but the industry is chronically short of fishermen. Human traffickers have recruited unsuspecting workers from Cambodia and Myanmar who end up spending months or even years at sea.
The State Department on Tuesday cited abuses in Thailand's huge fishing industry as part of an annual worldwide report on Trafficking in Persons. The report noted that men from Cambodia and Myanmar, also known as Burma, are trafficked aboard Thai ships and forced to work against their will. They include men like Vannak Prum, a Cambodian who spent three years on such a boat. Prum was among those honored at the State Department on Tuesday.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to reporters after casting her ballot in a strike authorization vote. Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the first strike in 25 years if the city and the union can't come to terms this summer.
There hasn't been a school strike in Chicago for 25 years. But the current contract between Chicago teachers and the Chicago Public Schools expires at the end of next week, and tensions between the teachers union, the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are ratcheting higher.
Chicago Teachers Union members outmaneuvered the mayor, school officials and anti-union education groups by overwhelmingly approving a measure that allows teachers to strike if contract negotiations fall flat.
Runner Shannon Leinert, 24, hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympic track and field team to compete in the 800-meter race.
Credit Chris Auckley / Courtesy of Chris Auckley
Olympic hopeful Shannon Leinert (left) battles Mizzou freshman Liz Reida in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Missouri Relays. Leinhert will compete to earn a spot on the Olympic team in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday.
Among the dozens of athletes hoping to leap, throw or run their way to London as part of the U.S. track and field team is 24-year-old runner Shannon Leinert.
Leinert, who will compete in the 800-meter dash, has dreamed of the Olympics since she was 10 and winning races in St. Louis, her hometown. If that weren't enough, she's also working on a doctoral degree in special education.
The Obama administration's use of drones to kill suspected terrorists in foreign countries may be President Obama's biggest legacy in the fight against terrorism.
One privilege — or burden — of the Oval Office is that each inhabitant gets to decide how dirty to get his hands in wartime. President Truman made the ultimate decision to use the atomic bomb, while President Kennedy chose not to use a nuclear weapon in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
With a single policy directive last week, President Obama took control of an issue of special importance to Hispanics this election year. Obama announced illegal immigrants younger than 30 who are brought to the U.S. as children and who meet other standards will not be subject to deportation.
The adoption of Title IX has spurred growth in women's collegiate sports, including soccer. But a women's pro league has struggled, cutting its season short this year. Here, Notre Dame celebrates winning the NCAA College Cup in 2010.
Saturday is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which, although almost nobody anticipated it then, resulted in women's gaining the right to participate in sports commensurate with their numbers attending college.
Title IX not only had a huge effect on women's participation in sports, but also, culturally, it influenced the way both men and women view the idea of women and athletics. It's mattered greatly in our American society.
A House panel will meet Wednesday to consider a report holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-trafficking operation.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, met with Holder on Tuesday in an effort to resolve difference over his panel's subpoena for the documents.
At any given moment, about 15,000 men and women are living in solitary confinement in the federal prison system, housed in tiny cells not much larger than a king-sized bed.
"It is hard to describe in words what such a small space begins to look like, feel like and smell like when someone is required to live virtually their entire life in it," says Craig Haney, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
But Tuesday, Haney, who has studied life inside prisons for three decades, had an opportunity to paint that picture.