I'm sorry to interrupt that conversation, but we have developments to bring you, here, involving the Colorado shooting last night in Aurora, Colorado. President Obama's commenting on the tragedy. Let's listen for a moment.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers, they were husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.
And for those of us, and those of you, who are just waking up to this story, this is how it began. The midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," had barely begun in a theater in Aurora, Colorado when the scene erupted in chaos. It wasn't on the screen - the violence was happening in the theater.
Steve Inskeep talks to local NBC reporter Jeremy Jojola about Friday's shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo. To be on the safe side, neighbors were evacuated from the area near the suspect's apartment.
A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver at a midnight opening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises." At least 12 people were killed.
Eight hours ago, a gunman burst into a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, tossed in a can of tear gas, and then opened fire. Those in the audience had lined up hours in advance to get seats for the world premier of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Many were dressed festively, in costume, but the movie and the evening ended in horror.
Let's try to get a little more insight now from Howard Pankratz. He's a veteran reporter with the Denver Post newspaper. He's been talking with law enforcement officials and he has a special insight on this because he covered another mass shooting, the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Mr. Pankratz, welcome to the program.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with news of a gradual escape. More than 2,000 turtles were in captivity at a northwest Georgia farm. The owner sells them as pets, or to the Chinese market. Turtles are not known for their speed, but somehow 1,600 of them got away. The farmer suspects vandals tore down the fences around his farm. Turtles known as snappers, eastern paints and yellow belly sliders made their way to nearby waterways and freedom - slowly. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
And we're gonna return now to the breaking news this morning. Fourteen people are dead after a shooting at a movie theater in a suburb of Denver. There were several dozen more hurt. The shooting occurred during a showing of the latest Batman move, "The Dark Night Rises." We're gonna now to Ben Markus, who's with Colorado Public Radio, and he is on the scene in Aurora. Good morning.
BEN MARKUS, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: So bring us up to date on what we know happened, please.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. We are continuing to follow news of a shooting today in Aurora, Colorado. There, according to Police Chief Dan Oates, 14 people have been killed, approximately 50 wounded, when a gunman opened fire inside a multiplex where the new Batman film was playing.
In other news this morning, the Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for the bombing attack in Damascus earlier this week. To learn more about the group, we reached Amr al Azm. He's a Syrian activist and professor of history at Shawnee State University.
Colorado has been at the center of another devastating story in recent days -the worst wildfires in its history. Those fires are just one consequence of record heat in a drought that has spread across the Rockies and the Midwest. Local news is filled with pictures of farmers gripping shriveled ears of corn and boats marooned in empty reservoirs. It's a drought that will go down in history, much like that of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and another in the 1950s that hit the central plains and the Southwest.
NPR's business news starts with a recall from Ford.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: A recall from Ford Motor Company comes with a strong and unusual message. If you own a certain 2013 model of the Ford Escape, the company says stop driving it. Ford issued this warning yesterday and said dealers will come pick up the SUVs from owners and drop off a loaner car.
Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.
Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.
TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.
In Spain, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in scores of cities yesterday, protesting austerity measures meant to pull the government out of the red. Sales tax is going up, and civil servants are taking pay cuts. All this as Europe readies a bailout of Spain of up to $125 billion.
Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: About 100,000 Spaniards flooded Madrid's center once the sun went down on another 100-degree day.
Mention Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and a lot of people still remember his 2009 Republican response to President Obama's first address to Congress. In a voice often compared to Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock, Jindal addressed viewers across the nation as if they were primary school students.
While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.
"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.
Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.
But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.
Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm
Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.
When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.
North Korea's army has been swearing oaths of loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un after he was given the new title of marshal of the nation, cementing his position. This comes just days after the army chief was dismissed for illness. Analysts suspect these announcements are masking far deeper changes, but there's disagreement about what it means.
Back in 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That's when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7.
The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Boston Bill, tell me about the day that we met," says Jake, now 12.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Two young Seattle men came back from a trip to Canada bearing gifts - six chocolate eggs known as Kinder Surprise eggs, because each has a plastic toy inside. They got their own surprise when they reached the U.S. border and agents informed them each egg carried a $2,500 fine. The men told KOMO News they were eventually allowed across without a fine and without the eggs, which are banned in the U.S. as a choking hazard. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Cumberland Farms put giant photo cutouts of David Hasselhoff in front of their stores across New England and Florida. The 60-year-old star of Baywatch and Knight Rider is shown smiling, wearing a tank top and promoting iced coffee. Of 570 photos, roughly 550 have been stolen.
Let's learn more, now, about an attack in Bulgaria. Seven people were killed, we're told, among them, five Israelis, in a suspected suicide bombing. It happened at a seaside resort town called Burgos. More than 30 more people were injured by this explosion. Israel is calling it a terrorist attack and says it suspects Iran or Muslim extremists. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro joins us on the line, now, from Tel Aviv.
The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.