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.
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.
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.
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.
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
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.
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."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with the catch of the day. Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources captured, tagged and released a sturgeon weighing over 240 pounds. That makes this fish, a female, the largest on record for the state. One scientist estimates she's 125 years old. The sturgeon is old enough to have been around when Grover Cleveland was president, but a few years too young to remember a first edition of "Moby Dick." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The publishing business is still trying to absorb the news that the Justice Department is suing Apple and publishers for price fixing in the e-book market. Three publishers - Simon and Shuster, Harper Collins and Hachette - decided to settle the suit. But Apple, along with the companies Macmillan and Penguin, plan to fight the allegations. Here's NPR's Lynn Neary.
After months of relentless shelling and gunfire, activists in Syria reported a quieter daybreak Thursday, as a ceasefire arranged by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan appeared to be largely holding.
Opposition figures said rebel fighters inside Syria would abide by the truce as long as the Syrian military does, while the government says its forces will return fire if attacked. Annan is hoping to progress from the cease-fire to getting humanitarian assistance into the country, and eventually to political negotiations.
If you want a mani-pedi - that's a manicure and pedicure to the uninitiated - you don't have to walk very far here in California. There are about 48,000 nail salons throughout the state. A new study by the state government now says some products used in those salons contain toxic substances, even though the products are billed as nontoxic. That sounds scary for salon owners and workers and clients, but representatives of the nail care industry say the study is nonsense. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The man who authorities said could not be charged with a crime will now face charges.
MONTAGNE: George Zimmerman is expected in court today in Sanford, Florida. Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she plans to charge him with second-degree murder for shooting an unarmed high school student.
NPR's business news starts with a big fine for Johnson & Johnson.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: So much for no more tears. A judge in Arkansas ordered the company most famous for its baby shampoo to by more than a billion dollars in fines yesterday over its marketing for a very different product. That would be an antipsychotic drug, Risperdal.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Texts from Hillary went viral last week. That spoof site imagines the Secretary of State's cool, detached texts to the famous, from Jay Z to Joe Biden. One shows Lady Gaga texting from one influential woman to another, XO. Clinton's response: Who is this? Yesterday, the site heard from the real Clinton, who texted that she was ROFL, rolling on the floor laughing, signed Hillz. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A huge earthquake shook the ocean floor off the coast of Indonesia Wednesday. Early measurements by the U.S. Geological Survey give it a strength of 8.7. Surrounding nations have issued tsunami warnings.
The World Bank is expected to announce its new president in the next several days. For the past six decades, the bank has been led by an American. President Obama has already nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim for the job. But for the first time in its more than 60-year history, there is serious international competition for the job.
After years of flagging sales, the embattled consumer electronics chain finds itself leaderless. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn abruptly resigned Tuesday after the company launched an investigation into his "personal conduct." No word from the chain on the specifics of their probe.
A tax-the-rich proposal named after Warren Buffett has little chance of passing this year, but that hasn't stopped the debate over what impact it would have.
Some economists are skeptical that a 30 percent minimum tax on people with million-dollar incomes — known as the "Buffett rule" — would do much to reduce the deficit or boost the economy. But the Obama administration says the proposal is necessary to make the tax code more equitable.
The U.S. is facing a growing surplus in natural gas. Renee Montagne talks to Amy Myers Jaffe, of the Energy Forum at the Baker Institute at Rice University, about the glut. She expects some consolidation in the industry.