Pakistan faces even more political uncertainty. The country's supreme court today found the prime minister guilty of contempt of court. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had resisted demands by the court that he press authorities in Switzerland to pursue money laundering charges there against his boss, the president of Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following this story. She was at the court in Islamabad.
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.
Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
A 45-cent-per-gallon government subsidy for ethanol producers ended earlier this year, but there's still a mandate that forces refineries to blend ethanol with gasoline. Before the mandate, refineries used about half as much ethanol as they do today.
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.
As we just heard from Jackie, most drone strikes are in areas along the border with Afghanistan, places overrun in recent years by the Pakistani Taliban and other radical groups. And our next guest is using a form of soft power to fight terrorism there: mothers. Mossarat Qadeem is deploying mothers to pull their sons back from militancy.
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.
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...
NPR's business news starts with a cage-free promise.
Burger King announced yesterday, that by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from animals not penned-up in cages and crates. Burger King is the first major U.S. fast food chain to put a firm deadline on such a promise. The move is seen as part of an industry-wide shift to consider animal concerns.
One food industry analyst says it proves quote, "that consumers are willing to pay a little bit more for fairness."
Britain is a nation in shock, following yesterday's announcement that its economy has slipped back into recession. The bad news is raising new questions about the government's unpopular austerity measures.
Vicki Barker has more from London.
VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: The news that Britain's economy has fallen into the dreaded double-dip recession caught everyone off guard - including Prime Minister David Cameron, who was immediately hit by a wave of criticism from parliament.
Back in 1934, veterans of World War I put up a memorial in the Mojave Desert, setting a cross on what's known as Sunrise Rock. Private citizens have always maintained the cross even though it was on federal land. But the memorial has sparked debate for years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Park Service will give the property to Henry and Wanda Sandoz in exchange for land they own elsewhere.
As part of Morning Edition's Family Matters financial literacy series, Renee Montagne talks to Jane Gross, author of A Bittersweet Season, about caring for her aging mother, and what she wishes she had known before she started.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
President Obama on Wednesday visits students at the University of Iowa, where he'll again make a pitch for low-cost college loans. It's the last stop on a trip that's taken Obama to two other battleground states: Colorado and North Carolina. He's primarily reaching out this week to younger voters.
The fledgling U.N. monitoring mission in Syria is under sharp criticism from activists who say the team is failing to enforce the terms of the agreement drafted by special envoy Kofi Annan. Violence is down in some areas but flaring up in others.
Apple announced higher-than-expected earnings for the most recent quarter — profits nearly doubled over last year. Apple's stock is back up, after falling in recent weeks over fears of a slowdown in iPhone sales. Those fears proved unfounded. Sales of iPhone and iPads beat company estimates.
And there were protests and arrests at the Wells Fargo annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco yesterday. The demonstration - led by the Occupy Movement - was over the bank's foreclosure and lending policies. Hundreds of protesters bought bank shares so they could attend the meeting and disrupt proceedings. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: While hundreds sought to disrupt the meeting, several dozen people representing community groups had purchased stock.]
Wal-Mart's stock price has fallen sharply this week after The New York Times published an investigative story on how the retailer's rapid growth in Mexico involved systematic bribes. Steve Inskeep talks to Mexico-based business journalist Eduardo Garcia about the Wal-Mart bribery story.
The town of Boring, Oregon, is twinning with the village of Dull, Scotland. The idea came after a Scottish cyclist passed through Boring. She thought Dull would make a great sister community. Scotland's tourism agency says the partnership could attract visitors to Dull.
On Monday, Disney announced the first of six planned Starbucks locations is scheduled to open at Disney California Adventure park in June. More locations are planned at Disneyland park and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:34 am
Victoria Beckham has teamed up with Range Rover to produce a special edition Evoque luxury SUV. The former Spice Girl, married to soccer star David Beckham, has designed fashion lines before, but says this is her first foray into automobiles.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:41 am
Wal-Mart could face significant legal liability following a report accusing the company of systematic bribery in Mexico. A report in The New York Times claims Wal-Mart officials in Mexico paid more than $20 million in bribes to help the company open more stores there. The story also says top Wal-Mart executives in the U.S. looked the other way. The company's stock price fell nearly 5 percent Monday.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:30 am
Weeks ahead of its initial public offering, Facebook released its first quarter profits Monday, and they are down 12 percent from a year ago. At the same time, company expenses have nearly doubled. Facebook attributes some of that to market expansion, which requires more employees and infrastructure.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:54 am
Former Prime Minister Geir Haarde was the first leader to be put on trial for his role in the global financial crisis. Renee Montagne talks to Michael Stothard, a correspondent for the Financial Times, about Haarde being found guilty of negligence for his handling of the financial crisis. He was cleared of three other charges.