It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP. HOST: And I'm Steve Inskeep. Hours after President Obama delivered his speech at the Democratic Convention, the latest unemployment report provided a reminder of what's at stake. The unemployment rate dropped in August, which sounds good, but the number of jobs created was below expectations for August.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with a story of a stellar MacGyvering. The International Space Station was faced with a malfunctioning electrical unit and couldn't screw down a new one because the exterior bolts were covered in debris. After two astronauts were stuck outside for hours, they hit on an idea - scrub the bolts clean with a toothbrush. It was a thrifty fix for the $100 billion space station and luckily the toothbrush was a spare. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Many air bases across the country are clamoring to get the next generation of fighter jets. But the Burlington, Vt. area is bitterly divided over being one of the Air Force's preferred locations. Some residents say there are enough problems already with the F-16s — like noise.
A new line of tablet readers is at the top of NPR's business news.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: They come from Amazon, which is rolling out its latest Kindle e-readers. They are faster, we're told, as well as cheaper. And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, they're aimed squarely at the youngest members of the family.
This year's Paralympics have been the best-attended games since the movement began back in 1960. Over 4,200 athletes from 164 countries are taking part in games that end this weekend. Disabled athletes began competing after World War II when a doctor in Britain organized the international wheelchair games to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. Tanni Grey Thompson is one of Britain's most successful paralympians.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Throughout this program we've been hearing parts of President Obama's speech. The people watching that speech in Charlotte last night included Ramesh Ponnuru. He writes for National Review and for Bloomberg. And in a column this week he predicted that if President Obama should win reelection the next four years will look a lot like the past two.
Peter Frew is one of a tiny number of people left in the United States who can — entirely on his own, using almost no machinery — make a classic bespoke suit. He can measure you, draw a pattern, cut the fabric and then hand-stitch a suit designed to fit your body perfectly.
Frew spent more than a decade as an apprentice for a remarkable tailor in his native Jamaica. He now sells his suits for about $4,000. Since New York is filled with very rich people who see their suits as an essential uniform, Frew has all the orders he can handle.
The concept of "pay what you want" for goods and services is a nostalgic throwback to the days when people trusted one another just a little bit more, and it's something you expect to see at the occasional farm stand or at a hip, independent coffee shop.
Every weekday, thousands of commuters to the nation's capital drive past the grave of a celebrated American author, and it's a good bet they don't realize it.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, was born in St. Paul, Minn.; he's associated with that city, as well as Paris, the Riviera and New York. But he's buried in Rockville, Md., outside Washington, D.C., next to a highway between strip malls and train tracks.
Graham Haggett was just 10 weeks old when his grandmother Sandra Lee Wright was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But he knows a lot about her, mainly from the stories his mother, Shelli Wright, has told him.
"Somebody described her to me once," Shelli says, "as the kind of person that when she walks in the room, the temperature goes up by 10 degrees."
Sandra Lee Wright worked for Aon Corp., a risk management and insurance company with offices close to the top of the World Trade Center's south tower. She was 57 when she died.
OK, over in Europe there's been a lot debate on what to do about the troubled currency. And today the European Central Bank announced a new plan to bolster the euro at a meeting in Frankfurt. Bank president Mario Draghi is under immense pressure to prevent the collapse of Europe's monetary union. The bank did not lower interest rates, as some investors hoped, but did unveil steps to ease the eurozone's debt crisis. NPR's Jim Zarroli is in Germany, following the events, and he joins us now. Good morning.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. President Vladimir Putin even wants Russia's birds to get behind him. Yesterday, he flew a motorized glider aimed at leading a flock of Siberian cranes raised in captivity to their winter nesting grounds. To appear to be one of them, Putin donned a white jumpsuit and helmet, though he drew the line at a beak. A Russians news agency reported only one bird followed Putin on his first flight, but he picked up a few more supporters later on. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Prison officials in Massachusetts say they are still reviewing a federal court decision in Boston ordering them to provide sex-change surgery for a prison inmate. Critics are urging officials to appeal what they call an outrageous abuse of taxpayer funds. But as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, the decision this week reflects national trends of prisons treating gender identity disorder as a legitimate medical condition deserving treatment like any other.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Renee Montagne is back at NPR West. Renee, welcome back.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Thank you very much. After a nice vacation, and so glad to be here, because big news: President Obama speaks to the Democratic Convention tonight. Just as with Mitt Romney last week, the president will have a huge audience to make his case.
When the European Central Bank holds its monthly meeting today, investors around the world will be watching nervously to see what the bank's head, Mario Draghi, says about interest rates. Draghi was recently quoted as saying he would do whatever it takes to keep Europe's debt crisis from growing out of control, and that could go beyond just cutting borrowing rates.
As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, any European Central Bank plan to use its resources to prop up Europe's weaker economies will face strong opposition from the Germans.
And after delivering a tribute to her husband on the opening night at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday by reaching out to groups of minority delegates there in Charlotte. NPR's David Welna reports.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Let's give a rousing welcome for the first lady, Michelle Obama.
DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: The African-American caucus was fired up yesterday when Mrs. Obama got there just hours after she brought down the house at the convention arena. She was still getting going.
A man is not a mollusk, and many men probably think that's a good thing. And it's not just because a mollusk is a squishy invertebrate with a shell. It's also because for at least one species of mollusk, the males do all the heavy lifting when it comes to childcare.
The species of mollusk we're talking about is Solenosteira macrospira, a marine snail about 2 inches long. These snails live off the coast of Baja California, and during the mating season, the beach is awash with male and female snails in connubial bliss.
Writer Zadie Smith burst onto the literary scene with her first novel White Teeth more than a decade ago. Set in the Northwest London neighborhood where she grew up, White Teeth captured the diverse, vibrant rhythms of a city in transition. Smith returns to the neighborhood in her new novel, NW, but this is a sobering homecoming.