Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Ronn Matt told the Chicago Tribune that his mother used to frown on his habit of spitting cherry pits. But now he's a champion. Over the weekend in Michigan, Matt managed to unseat two spitting dynasties, families who had won for the last 20 years the International Cherry Pit spitting contest. He won by spitting a pit 69 feet. Impressive but far short of the world record of 93 and a half feet. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
A young shipping heir whose family helped turn the Greek island of Santorini into a tourist hot spot is trying to help Greece dig out of its massive debt by asking average Greeks to chip in.
Peter Nomikos hopes to build a social movement beginning with a charity he launched about two weeks ago called Greece Debt Free, which collects donations to buy Greek bonds. On Santorini, the Cycladic island of whitewashed homes, residents say they'd like help with their benefactor's charity — but they can't even pay their own bills.
And for one more year, college students can access a certain kind of loan for the low rate of 3.4 percent. It's known as a Stafford loan, and the interest rate was set to double, until lawmakers managed to reach an agreement to keep the rate low, which in turn will keep college more affordable for more people.
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that fewer jobs had been added to the work force than economists had expected. Plus, the unemployment rate stayed stuck at 8.2 percent. Unsurprisingly, Republicans pounced on those numbers to make their case for defeating President Obama.
A break in hot weather this weekend helped firefighters control wildfires in several western states. Higher humidity, calmer winds aided fire crews in Wyoming and rain made a difference in Montana. Firefighters also made progress with a fire near Redding, California. And in Colorado, the most destructive wildfire in the state's history is almost fully contained.
The House Rules Committee takes up a bill Monday called the "Repeal of Obamacare Act." And just like it says, the bill would wipe away the president's Affordable Care Act. A vote of the full House is planned for Wednesday.
It's the first legislative response from House Republicans after the Supreme Court upheld the law. But it is far from the first time the GOP has voted for repeal.
The southern African nation of Botswana has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. Nearly 25 percent of all adults in the country are infected with the virus. Only the nearby kingdom of Swaziland has a higher rate.
But Botswana is also remarkable for its response to the epidemic. It has one of the most comprehensive and effective HIV treatment programs in Africa. Transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their fetuses and newborn babies has been brought down to just 4 percent.
In Washington, D.C., the glittering marble of public buildings and monuments can conceal the darkest of deeds. And in the crime novels of Mike Lawson, they do.
"When I started writing, the very first decision I made was, I wanted the book set in D.C.," says Lawson, who recently published his seventh Washington-based thriller, House Blood. "That was before I had a character, or anything else."
Researchers are studying the ability of beneficial micro-organisms - or probiotics - to treat a range of conditions from eczema to inflammatory bowel disease. And the idea that "good" bacteria are healthy for us is gaining traction.
The biggest scandal in the world right now has nothing to do with sex or celebrities. It's about an interest rate called LIBOR, or the London Interbank Offered Rate.
Most Americans probably never heard of LIBOR. When I first moved to New York, I hadn't. Back then, I could barely afford my apartment and got an adjustable rate mortgage. And so I wondered: When my rate adjusts, how will I know how much I'll be paying?
I searched through all the documents and it was right there — LIBOR. I would be paying a few percentage points above whatever LIBOR was.
It is definitely wrong to hit and run, but it's a little impressive that a high school student was hit and kept running. Anaheim, California police say a high school cross country team was running when a turning car whacked one of the runners. The young woman was apparently determined, because she got backed up and ran away. The driver called after her to stop, stayed where he was and called police. The runner was eventually treated and suffered only minor injuries.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. To kick her 10-year habit, Tori is leaving home for a small island - theoretically, a no-smoking island. Home is an Indonesian zoo. Tori is an orangutan. The Guardian reports she learned to smoke imitating visitors who tossed cigarette butts into her cage. Her non-smoking orangutan roommate does what he can, stamping out burning butts before she can get to them. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Three weeks from today, the 2012 London Summer Olympics begin. London will show off its cathedrals and castles, it's parliament and palaces, all that is splendid in one of the world's greatest cities. There is a seedy side of London, however, one that Olympic organizers presumably will not present. That is where we'll be going today with this encore presentation from our Crime in the City series.
Mystery writer Mark Billingham took reporter Vicki Barker to some of the places that inspired his dark twisted thrillers.
And today's last word in business takes us to London, where Europe's new tallest building has been inaugurated. It's called the Shard. Maybe that's because it sort of looks like a giant shard of glass, 1,016 feet tall. It stands out in a city with a relatively low skyline. It towers over the Tower of London, and the Shard brings many metaphors to mind.
Newspapers acknowledged publishing dozens of items in print or online from outsourcing firm Journatic that appeared under fake bylines. The Chicago Tribune, for example, said the matter is under investigation. But the newspaper's corporate parent, the Tribune Co., is a new investor in Journatic.
A screenshot of the Journatic website, announcing the company's deal with the Tribune Co.
Major newspapers in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are among those this week that have acknowledged they published dozens of items in print or online that appeared under fake bylines.
As was first disclosed by the public radio program This American Life, the items in question were not written by reporters on the staffs of the papers at all but by employees of what is effectively a news outsourcing firm called Journatic.
A growing number of cities want to tackle the problem of homelessness by outlawing what are known as "acts of daily living" — sleeping, eating and panhandling in public. In Philadelphia, a new rule is targeting not the homeless but those who feed them.
When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced the ban on serving food in public parks last March, he said moving such services indoors was part of an effort to raise standards for the homeless.
Coral polyps feed in the plankton-rich waters by Santa Catalina, Panama. A new study of coral reefs off the Pacific coast of Panama shows that dead coral reefs may be able to recover from rising ocean temperatures and other environmental disasters.
Credit Romeo Gacad / AFP/Getty Images
Fish swim by a colorful variety of coral near Indonesia's Komodo island.
Coral reefs may be able to recover from disaster, according to a study that provides a bit of reassurance about the future of these endangered ecosystems.
Coral reefs around the world are at risk as the ocean's temperature continues to rise. Those trends could kill not only coral but also the fish and other species that depend on the reefs. Those reefs are important for people as well.
Zachariah Fike has an unusual hobby. The Vermont Army National Guard captain finds old military medals for sale in antique stores and on the Internet. But unlike most memorabilia collectors, Zac doesn't keep the medals for himself.
Instead, he tracks down the medals' rightful owners, and returns them.
His effort to reunite families with lost medals all began with a Christmas gift from his mother — a Purple Heart, found in an antique shop and engraved with the name Corrado A.G. Piccoli.
Groupon and Living Social have sold tens of millions of daily deals and are now a major force in retail. But they rely heavily on getting businesses to offer their goods and services at deep discounts. In exchange, businesses hope for payoff in the form of return customers.
Sometimes, though, the flood of extra business causes more problems than it solves.
Ailie Ham had just opened Creative Hands Massage in Washington, D.C., when she decided to offer deals through Living Social and Groupon last year.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Twitter is going to the dogs. Yesterday, Patch, a Jack Russell terrier, boarded a train near Dublin. When the train staff discovered him, they posted his picture on Twitter. It was re-tweeted more than 500 times. Within a half hour, his owner saw the photo and tweeted: That's my dog. Then she opened a Twitter account for Patch, in case he should go missing again. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is adding staff to its hospitals to meet the mental health needs of vets of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As Erin Toner of WUWM in Milwaukee reports, some clinicians say the help cannot come soon enough.
ERIN TONER, BYLINE: The VA hospital in Milwaukee is a hectic place. On most mornings you have to circle the parking lots over and over to find a spot. Luckily there's valet service if patients would rather leave the parking to someone else.
In Britain today, parliament continues its hearing on the interest rate scandal at Barclays Bank. This week, several of the bank's top executives resigned, including the chief executive, Bob Diamond. Yesterday, parliamentarians quizzed Diamond for three hours.
NPR's Philip Reeves is in London, where he says outrage is growing.
NPR's business news starts with the back story on VIP loans.
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WERTHEIMER: A former mortgage company, Countrywide, used a VIP loan program to buy influence with members of Congress, staffers and other officials, including a number at Fannie Mae, the government backed mortgage giant central to Countrywide's business. That the bottom line of a new report out today from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.