It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin was going to face trouble, no matter what. But it's Akin's fate that he also faces a deadline today.
GREENE: If he should withdraw from the U.S. Senate race by 5 o'clock Central Time this afternoon, it will be easy for party officials to name a replacement. And he is under pressure not to miss this opportunity.
People, one holding an image of Cuba's President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel Castro, wait in line at a bus stop in Havana last month.
Credit Franklin Reyes / AP
Cuba's President Raul Castro and Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi in July. The Cuban leader flew in from China for the second leg of his Asian tour to Cuba's two Asian communist allies.
Credit Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP/Getty Images
Cubans pass by a billboard celebrating the 86th birthday of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, on Aug. 13 in Havana. Castro celebrated his birthday quietly and out of the public eye, while political allies and Cuban citizens paid tribute from afar.
Cuba is one of the world's last remaining communist states. Cuba's allies in China and Vietnam also maintain firm one-party rule, but have prospered by introducing market principles to their economic models. With Cuban President Raul Castro easing government controls on property rights and private enterprise, many are wondering if the struggling island is looking to Asia for a way forward.
Better Place is building a network of electric car battery changing stations throughout Israel. The idea is to make changing a spent electric battery as easy as pulling into the gas station for gasoline. Here, Better Place CEO Shai Agassi is shown in front of a cutaway model of an electric car at the company's showroom in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
It looks like a bright new car wash, but it's a battery swapping station for electric cars in Israel. When a vehicle pulls up, it is slowly pulled through a conveyor. The spent battery is taken out and replaced with one that is fully charged. The entire process takes less than five minutes.
Changes in the health insurance industry are at the top of NPR's business news.
The giant insurance company Aetna plans to get a little bigger. It's buying Coventry Health Care for more than $5.5 billion. Now, if you want to know why, consider the changing landscape in which Aetna does business. Medicaid is expanding under President Obama's health care law, Medicare is expanding as Americans grow older, and those government-run plans include many opportunities for private insurance companies.
American is currently seeking to cut costs in bankruptcy protection so the flight attendants' union pushed hard for this vote — warning that rejecting the contract could mean even deeper cuts or furloughs. The company's trying to cut about a billion dollars in labor costs. Mechanics and other union workers had previously accepted new contracts but pilots rejected American's latest offer earlier this month.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Next week, Mitt Romney's campaign seeks to introduce Paul Ryan again. Even before the selection of the Republican vice presidential choice, President Obama's campaign had been working to define Ryan as extreme on issues from Medicare to abortion. What happens next week is that Romney and Ryan take the stage at the Republican National Convention, one of several things that will happen there.
India's government has persuaded companies to shut down more than 150 websites. Authorities blame those sites for circulating claims that led to panic. The claims fueled fears of violence during the Muslim festival of Eid. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.
For the residents of Janesville, Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate was a story of a local man becoming the biggest news in the country. But for the librarians of Janesville, it meant something else entirely, as NPR's Don Gonyea found out last week.
Let's go next to China, where the wife of a fallen Communist Party leader has received a sentence - a suspended death sentence for murdering a British businessman. Her accomplice, a family employee, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Gu Kailai came under suspicion after a scandal involving her husband, who was one of the rising stars of the Communist Party before he lost his job amid suspicions about his behavior. NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following this case from Shanghai.
When people talk about Tony Scott's movies, the same words often come up: stylish, exuberant and kinetic. Three years ago, in a video interview with The Guardian, Scott explained why watching his movies could sometimes be exhausting.
"I have this natural energy that I want to inject into what I do," he said. "The worlds that I touch, I sort of embrace those worlds, and I always look for that energetic side of the worlds that I'm touching."
Let's listen to the words that made Todd Akin a lot more famous over the weekend. The Republican congressman from Missouri is running for United States Senate. He was probably no better known nationally than the average Senate challenger until he gave an interview to St. Louis TV station KTVI. He was asked why he opposes abortion in nearly all cases, including rape.
It's been a few decades, and many published books, but Robert Crais can tell you exactly when mystery writing first caught his attention: He was a bright 15-year-old living in Baton Rouge, La., when he read Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister, which depicted the shady side of sunny Los Angeles through the eyes of private investigator Philip Marlowe.
Since then, Crais has found huge success with his own crime novels, also set in LA. The city is the perfect canvas for a modern mystery, and Crais' eyes still grow wide when he talks about what Chandler painted on it.
Joan Kaeding is a reference assistant at the Oshkosh Public Library. NPR talked to her at New Moon Cafe in downtown Oshkosh. She says she's fielding lots of questions at the library about the new health care law.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Patti Clark-Stojke, a speech and language pathologist with the Appleton-area school district, says it's hard to find joy in what you do "when you're frozen."
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Jason Menzel, who works as a corrections officer at Oshkosh Correctional Institution, is undecided in the presidential election.
As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year.
This week, we're visiting Winnebago County, Wis. — a county that went Republican in the 2004 presidential election and flipped to the Democrats in 2008.
It's one of the ultimate images of summer: a woman in a short, pink slip sits on a bed, her knees pulled up to her chest, gazing out a window. Her hair is tucked back into a bun. Her bare arms rest lightly on her bare legs.
Edward Hopper painted her in 1952 for a work called Morning Sun. The picture has been widely reproduced for decades. But on a recent visit to its home at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, it was nowhere to be found.
There's a growing interest in what our genes say about our health. And in recent years, quite a few companies have sprung up to help us listen with the help of personalized DNA tests.
For a few hundred dollars and a vial of spit, these companies will search your DNA for sequences that predict your physical traits, your response to certain drugs and your risk for any number of diseases.
Attorneys Cheryl Curtis and her husband, Dana Foster, live in Washington, D.C., and donate generously to a nearby nonprofit that helps low-income residents. "Now that I have more, I want to give to organizations that provide just basic food for people," Curtis says.
Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your state or community? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren't so rich.
Aamir Liaquat, 41, is one of Pakistan's most famous and controversial TV hosts. During the holy month of Ramadan, he broadcasts live for 11 hours a day while fasting and drawing record audiences. Back in 2008, remarks he made about a religious minority in Pakistan were followed by a wave of deadly violence. He was fired and recently rehired.
Credit Courtesy of Geo TV
Liaquat has recently returned to Geo TV, Pakistan's top TV channel, amid much fanfare and an even bigger salary. The president of Geo TV, Imran Aslam, says one condition of Liaquat's rehiring is that he sign a new code of ethics.
Credit Courtesy of Geo TV
Mohammad Aslam Bhatti, 34, shares photos of himself taken after he was shot in the head, torso and arm by militants he says were motivated by Aamir Liaquat's TV program.
As Pakistan's media has expanded in recent years, there's been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they've had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.
That's the case for Pakistan's most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who's just been rehired by the country's top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. She's no sheep dog, but Zoe the dog has adopted a little lamb. The lamb was born on a farm in Australia and abandoned by his mother. That's when farmers brought him to their Dalmatian, how immediately began doting on Dotty. Actually, not that surprising, since Dotty - as his name suggests - is a white lamb covered in unusual black spots, looking exactly like a Dalmatian. What you might call a sheep in dog's clothing. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. In Russia today, a judge has delivered a guilty verdict for three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The band members were given a two-year sentence. They were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, after staging a protest in Moscow's main cathedral last February.
The United Nations role in Syria is changing and so too is its personnel. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is expected to tap a veteran U.N. troubleshooter to take over from International Envoy Kofi Annan. At the same time, U.N. military observers are wrapping up their mission. NPR's Michele Kelemen has the latest.
Sometimes it can feel like a lot of what we hear is bad news. Well, we're going to hear next about some stories that inspire. All month, we've been collecting stories on NPR.org about good things Americans are doing, how they're working together to improve their communities.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We call it Participation Nation. You've told us about a California doctor who turned a two-room free clinic into a community health center.
GREENE: A writing program to help young people in Maine become storytellers.
Families often pull together to help finance a college education, with parents and grandparents chipping in or co-signing loans. And now, a SmartMoney report finds the U.S. government withholding money from Social Security recipients who've stopped paying on federal student loans.
At 40, Julie Sanders is a mother of three from Portland, Ore. But when she was 16, Sanders belonged to a white supremacist group — and one night in 1988, she witnessed a murder. Since then, she's kept the event a secret from most of her friends and family.
Before she sat down to talk about the incident with her friend Randy Blazak at StoryCorps, Sanders says, she had rarely talked about her past at all. She started out by recalling what her life was like in her teen years.