Well, for kids and parents listening to our show today, let's leave you with a little good food for thought. Our last word in business is: Hello Kitty. That's what some lucky travelers in Asia might be saying if they board an airplane decorated, inside and out, with the famous Japanese character.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene.
Our own Renee Montagne is in Afghanistan at a moment when its relationship with the United States is turning a corner. And for the next couple of weeks, Renee is going to be bringing us a range of voices and also opinions about what lies ahead. Renee joins us now from Kabul.
Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.
Greeks go to the polls Sunday in a climate of intense voter anger at the politicians they blame for turning their country into an international economic pariah. Protest votes could fill Parliament with an array of new parties, and most surprising is the growing popularity of the xenophobic Golden Dawn, which espouses a neo-Nazi ideology.
NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.
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GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.
Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.
Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."
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As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.
As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.
And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)
The African-American experience is reflected, right now, on the walls of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Exuberant dancing in Chicago. Laundry on a line in the nation's capital. A girl smiling out from her father's warm jacket — all captured in photographs, paintings and sculptures from the 1920s through the 1990s.
On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Nearly three years ago, Congress passed a federal hate crime law. It makes it illegal to target victims because of their race, religion or sexual orientation. The law drew protests from some Republican lawmakers and religious groups, who said it threatened their free speech rights. And the law has been used sparingly.
Americans are now eating more chicken than beef or pork. And meeting that demand is an industry that some have dubbed big chicken. Texas is a major player in the industry, and so now Texas must manage a problem that in other circumstances we might describe as fallout or blowback. Dave Fehling of member station KUHF in Houston explains what that problem is.
Pfizer, one of the worlds largest drug companies, will pay Brigham Young University nearly half a billion dollars to settle a patent related lawsuit involving the company's blockbuster painkiller Celebrex.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the settlement comes as the case was about to go to trial.
A home for the Academy Awards ceremony has been secured. The Kodak Theatre will now be called the Dolby Theatre. The audio technology company has signed a naming-rights deal with the real estate group that owns the property where the Oscar ceremony is held. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, gave up its naming rights.
The killing of Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad one year ago Wednesday rocked the country's political and military establishment, and provoked widespread rage at what Pakistanis saw as a blatant violation of national sovereignty.
A year on, there are widely differing opinions among Pakistanis about the significance of the al-Qaida leader in a country where militant groups draw inspiration from him.
His legacy is in plain view at rallies across the country that evoke virulent anti-Americanism.
Republicans have repeatedly criticized President Obama for what they contend is a weak foreign policy. Their criticism now extends to how the president talks about his signature foreign policy success.
Here's NPR national political correspondent, Mara Liasson.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama's visit to Afghanistan and his address to the nation were reminders of the responsibilities of the commander-in-chief and the attention he can muster at a moment's notice.
Vast as they are, the interrelated problems of Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaida are only some of the problems the president faces - and that will be faced by whoever wins this fall's election. Egypt is preparing for a presidential election of its own, the first since a revolution toppled President Hosni Mubarak. And today, a protest related to that election led to deadly violence.
Richard McGregor, Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times, talks to Steve Inskeep about how Chen Guangcheng may impact Thursday's talks between the U.S. and China. The blind activist left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Wednesday, and U.S. officials escorted him to a hospital.
The Lebanese classical musician and composer Marcel Khalife is often compared to Bob Dylan — not for his music, but for his politics. The Middle Eastern musical and political icon sings about freedom and nationalism.
Khalife is famous for translating poetry into music. For years, he collaborated with the nationalist Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
"It began when I graduated from the music conservatory in Beirut. The civil war started in Lebanon — I wanted to change the world with music," says Khalife.
It's perhaps the most reproduced piece of art ever created. It has adorned key chains and coffee mugs, and the cover of Time magazine. Andy Warhol used it, and now one of the four versions of The Scream, Edvard Munch's iconic work — the only one outside Norway — is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York. Sale estimates are as high as $80 million.
Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed. "Aggravation is a muse," he says. And after speaking on a number of college campuses, he grew aggravated enough to write a book. It's called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.