Alcoa, the biggest aluminum producer in the U.S., has announced it posted a profit of more than $240 million in the last three months of 2012. That's a big improvement from the same quarter the year before when it lost $190 million.
Weeks before President Obama officially nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, the lobbying battle was well under way. The fight might be bigger than any other Cabinet nomination in history as the former Republican senator's friends and foes prepare for modern combat on TV and the Internet.
Across the United States, college administrators are poring over student essays, recommendation letters and SAT scores as they select a freshman class for the fall.
If this is like most years, administrators at top schools such as Harvard and Stanford will try hard to find talented high school students from poor families in a push to increase the socioeconomic diversity on campus and to counter the growing concern that highly selective colleges cater mainly to students from privileged backgrounds.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A Chinese man worried his son spent too much playing online video games. He was especially worried because the 23-year-old was out of work. So the father went online and hired virtual assassins to kill his son's avatar. He hoped his son would give up and get a job. A gamer's blog reports the son discovered the plot, asking his attackers why they whacked him every time he logged in. He told his father he's just waiting for the right job. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The wolf is called OR7 because he was the seventh gray wolf in Oregon outfitted with a GPS tracking collar. Unlike most gray wolves, he strayed far from home, to California, where he's roamed thousands of miles.
Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."
Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. The good news for Notre Dame fans is that they should be well rested this morning. They had no reason to stay up late last night. Alabama took the fight out of the Irish, 42-14, defeating the previously undefeated team and winning the BCS championship. NPR's Tom Goldman was at the game in Miami.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:28 am
On Monday, Morning Edition explored crime rates in Chicago and how the murder rate went up in 2012. That was against national trends and even against Chicago's long-range decline in crime. We discussed police focus on "hot spots," and the dissolution of gangs. But listeners asked: What about gun bans?
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and other senior administration officials. The talks are expected to help set the framework for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan after the bulk of American and NATO forces leave at the end of 2014. One of the key issues to be discussed is the number of American troops to remain in Afghanistan after that date.
The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.
Authorities at a Brazilian prison noticed a bulky cat wandering on prison grounds. They discovered the small black-and-white cat was hauling in saws, drills, a cell phone and charger — all taped to its body.
Police in Framingham, Massachusetts received word of somebody egging a house. They investigated and found the suspect was a cop, and so was the victim. Investigators say the homeowner is a police sergeant in Newton, Massachusetts. He's the superior officer of the guy who was tossing the eggs. The Metro West Daily News reports that both men were off-duty at the time, and both insist it was just a joke between friends.
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to improve his country's competitiveness. But to better compete, France has to overhaul its labor market, and some hard-earned workers' rights and privileges could be lost.
And joining us now, as she does most Monday, is Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee. Happy New Year.
MONTAGNE: Happy New Year to you. So, Cokie, we seem to be getting the next year, or this new year, right back where we ended in the last Congress, and that's bickering over everything. And as we've just heard, that includes, big time, the president's cabinet appointment of a former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Tell us more about what's going on there, a little bit more history.
More than a thousand protesters turned up in the Ohio River town of Steubenville over the weekend, spurred by a blogging and Twitter campaign that's focused on rape allegations involving high-school football players. Social media has taken the case well beyond the small eastern Ohio town, sparking international tension.
Now, today's last word in business is phygital. No, that's not a word describing how you feel about two hours into watching "The Hobbit." This movie's going on and feeling a little phygital. No, it's not a feeling. It's a concept that computer manufacturer Lenovo announced over the weekend at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Author Simon Garfield loves maps. His home in London is full of them — that's where they're stocked, hanging on walls and piled on shelves. So when Garfield was looking for a new topic to write about, not surprisingly, maps won out.
His new book is called On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Works.
First, people wore suits and ties, dresses or skirts to work. Then came casual Fridays. Then the tech industry destroyed dress codes. Congress is one of the last places people dress up, and we know how that's turned out.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. At this point in the program we sometimes tell you about record-breaking feats. Well, this one takes the cake. Sunday is Three Kings Day and in Mexico some bakers are celebrating in a big way. Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread with a Baby Jesus figurine baked inside.
If you're driving, please take a moment to be sure you're awake. A survey finds one of every 24 adults admits to falling asleep at the wheel. Health officials say they suspect the true number is higher. Some people don't realize when they drop off for a second or...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Steve. Hey, hey, hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: Anyway, drivers most likely to nod off are men, according to this survey, or people between 25 and 34.
And let's consider the technology behind movie-making. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made its Oscar nominations yet, but it has already announced some awards in the technical category.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: And one of the Oscars goes to Cooke Optics Limited. The Academy says the British company gets an award of merit because it helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century. Its innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that don't require bright light.