It's a mere one hundred days remain before the opening of the Olympic Games in London. From time to time, MORNING EDITION has been getting dispatches from NPR's London-based correspondent Philip Reeves, about the preparations. In his latest, Reeves says the British are gearing themselves up for this great contest, both physically and mentally.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
And I'm Lynn Neary. Renee Montagne is on assignment.
In Syria, a ceasefire that's part of an U.N.-Arab League peace plan is unraveling, just six days after it got underway. Once again, dozens of people are dying each day, as the Syrian military pounds the cities and towns that have most fiercely resisted the government, and opposition rebels are fighting back.
An outsized figure on the world's stage is fighting to keep his job. Nicolas Sarkozy has made headlines pressing for intervention in Libya, travelling abroad with his supermodel second wife Carla Bruni, pressing to free up France's economy and struggling with Europe's debt crisis. Now, with an election approaching, the French president is trailing in opinion polls against his main rival, the socialist Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy's future depends on voters like those who spoke with NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.
At Citigroup's annual meeting Tuesday, 55 percent of shareholders voted against big paychecks for the firms top executives. Citigroup's latest pay package saw the CEO take home some $25 million, despite dwindling share values. The vote is not binding, but analysts call it historic.
In the world of advertising, the success of a billboard often depends on its location. And in the sporting world, what's a better local than the tall, imposing bodies of professional basketball players - which brings us to our last word in business: basketball billboard.
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At an NBA meeting last week, team owners floated the idea of slapping corporate logos on team uniforms.
Andrew Breitbart, the late editor and founder of BigGovernment.com, is shown in this file photo speaking at a rally at the conservative Americans for Prosperity "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Washington on Nov. 5.
Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown has been thinking about the contributions of journalists to global culture.
The New Zealand town of Christchurch is rebuilding after an earthquake left its 19th century cathedral in ruins. Its replacement has been dubbed "the cardboard cathedral." It's a temporary fix while the permanent building is under construction.
The crisis between Sudan and South Sudan has intensified with the north branding its recently independent southern neighbor the enemy. This follows two weeks of bitter fighting in the disputed oil-producing border area between the two Sudans. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is monitoring developments from her base in Dakar, Senegal and joins us now.
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Good morning, Ofeibea.
NEARY: Now, Ofeibea, just bring us up to date on what is happening in Sudan and South Sudan right now.
The actor Alec Baldwin is in Washington, speaking in favor of the National Endowment for the Arts. The government-funded arts organization long ago supported the Sundance Film Festival and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In more recent years, the NEA has supported writers, arts education for kids, and everything from jazz musicians to urban design. It has also faced political controversy; most notably in the 1990s, when its funding was slashed.
Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to a segment of the Republican base that has given him trouble in this year's primary season: the Tea Party. Last night in Philadelphia, he spoke to activists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. And as NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports, what might have been a tough crowd turned out to be just the opposite.
The day that many dread is here: It's Tax Day. Of the 143 million federal tax returns filed last year, more than 80 percent qualified for a refund. Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the economics of tax refunds.
They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. But half that statement appears to be under challenge by one late rap star and some special effects, which brings us to today's last word in business - virtual comeback.
President Obama's so-called Buffett rule has slammed into a wall of GOP opposition. On the eve of tax day, Senate Republicans voted yesterday to block a measure that would have made mega-investor Warren Buffett and billionaires and millionaires like him pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. Although Buffett endorses such a rule, Senate Republicans call it an election year gimmick. Their Democratic counterparts insist it's all about fairness. NPR's David Welna has our story.
The National Rifle Association's annual convention featured a display of shooting targets featuring zombies. Firing ranges across the country are offering zombie-themed shooting events. Sales of zombie targets are booming.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Lynn Neary is in for Renee this week. Lynn, welcome to the program.
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Good to be here.
President Obama is back in Washington this morning, after a weekend summit in Colombia. The gathering with leaders from throughout the Americas produced some agreement on trade and some disagreement on drug policy in Cuba.
What the Taliban are calling the start of their spring offensive kept security forces across Afghanistan fighting throughout Sunday and into this morning. Officials say 36 insurgents were killed in Kabul and three other eastern provinces. Three civilians died in the attacks, and eight members of the police and army were killed. American officials are praising Afghan forces, but questions remain about how the insurgents were able to infiltrate the most secure parts of the capital. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
The tornado season started early in much of the nation and continued over the weekend. Spotters reported more than 120 tornadoes on Saturday. One killed five people in Woodward, Oklahoma. Others ripped into homes and businesses in Iowa and Kansas. And that includes the heart of the economy in Wichita, the aviation industry. Here's Frank Morris from member station KCUR.
It's in a ritzy section of town, so the company is hoping to appeal to high end customers with a retro farmhouse style decor. This includes Ottomans covered in vinyl cowhide fabric and the front of a 1960s van mounted on the wall.
The action by China's central bank widens the range at which the currency can be traded on the international market. The move is seen as seen a step toward addressing foreign complaints that China was suppressing the value of its money to boost Chinese exports, and hurt foreign imports.
Let's turn now, to the economics of a good meal. Tyler Cowen is an economist, author of the blog Marginal Revolution, and a serious eater. He seeks to use his understanding of economics to zero in on the best food and best restaurants, and he shares what he's learned in a book called "An Economist Gets Lunch." Cowen is a fan of local food. But for the taste, not because he thinks it will save the world.
Now, the man who has confessed to carrying out Norway's worst peacetime atrocity goes on trial today. Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, raised his fist in a Nazi-style salute after bailiffs removed his handcuffs in the courtroom. Breivik has told authorities he acted to protect Norway from Muslims. The rampage in Oslo and at a youth camp left 77 people dead and dozens injured. NPR's Eric Westervelt is in Oslo and reports that the central issue for judges will be Breivik's mental health.
More states are wrestling with that question, now that the Obama administration is encouraging schools to evaluate teachers with a combination of student test scores and classroom observations.
The question of whether teacher evaluations are reliable indicators for teacher effectiveness has long been controversial. But New York City reignited the debate when it rated thousands of teachers with test scores alone — and then released those ratings to the public.
Boudin is a Cajun specialty — sausage filled with rice, pork and herbs. And since Scott, La., is starting a Boudin festival, the state legislature crowned it the "Boudin Capital of the World." Nevermind there are two other Boudin capitals of the world. But Jennings, La., trumps them all. Years ago, it was crowned the "Boudin Capital of the Universe."