The dream of high speed rail in California is running into tough realities. Cost estimates have more than doubled — to nearly $100 billion — since the project was approved by voters in 2008. The date of completion has been pushed back to 2030.
The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections for president and parliament Monday. These are the second elections since a long dictatorship ended in 1997. Elections held in 2006 represented a transition to democracy.
Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria are among those voting today in the first stage of parliamentary elections. These are the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Two other stages are scheduled for December and January.
We've been hearing a lot about the economic meltdown affecting a string of European countries, and the sort of tough austerity measures that they're now facing. Britain was among the first to embrace a tough austerity program. And now, the economy is stalled. Unemployment is going up. Young people are hit hardest of all - one in five is now out of work. NPR's Philip Reeves spent a day with one of those jobless Britons, a young man named Dean Smith.
The new movie "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" made more money at the box office over the holiday weekend, beating new releases like "The Muppets" and "Arthur Christmas." Now, going to the movies is fun, but for some fans it's not enough to simply watch the action. They want an interactive experience. In fact, they want to be the stars. NPR's Travis Larchuk explains.
TRAVIS LARCHUK}, BYLINE: All right. So here's a scene from the movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD")
NPR's business news begins with a strong showing for retailers. Consumers spent a record $52.4 billion at stores and on the Internet over the weekend. It's the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers hunting for Black Friday bargains spent an average of about $400 each, which is a big jump over last year.
The economy is still far from healthy, and we've been asking people for one idea that could help fix even just one small part of the economy. And we have this latest idea from author and management consultant Jim Collins. He wants to change the way that CEOs are paid. Instead of granting stock options, he says executives should have to buy company stock with their own money.
JIM COLLINS: I want executives who are willing to be aligned in their own risk profile with how well the company does over time.
Officials overseeing a new performance hall had to decide on a mobile phone policy. While theaters generally remind patrons to turn off their devices, The New York Times reports the new theater in Bellevue, Wash., will encourage smartphone use. The theater wants to attract younger audiences, and that means there's no use forbidding the technology.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History dismisses claims that the apocalypse is coming, but it's still scrupulously providing evidence. Some people predict catastrophe in 2012, supposedly based on forecasts by the ancient people known as Mayans. Anthropologists now say there are two, not just one, ancient references to December 2012. But they say modern forecasters of doom have still, quote, "twisted the Mayan cosmovision." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. The world's worst soccer team finally won a game. In 17 years of international play, American Samoa has scored just a dozen goals, compared to the 229 they've allowed. But they scored two this week, to beat Tonga 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match.
The American Samoans hope their win will raise their ranking. They currently sit at 204th in the world.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Egypt's ruling military council and anti-government protesters are in a standoff. The military council has pledge to hand over power once a newly- elected president and parliament are in place next summer, but protesters have rejected the idea.
Rhode Island had one of the most underfunded pension systems in the country until last week. That's when an overwhelming majority of state lawmakers passed big changes, mostly affecting future retirees. Now those lawmakers are facing angry unions, which are preparing for a legal fight. As Catherine Welch of Rhode Island Public Radio reports, the unions are also hinting at a political battle against those who supported the plan.
This week in New York Magazine, two writers from different political parties each critiqued their own side. On Thursday, we heard from conservative David Frum, who argues Republicans lost touch with reality. In the same issue, liberal writer Jonathan Chait also uses the word "fantasy" in describing liberals. He tells Steve Inskeep liberals have become unreasonable.
In Afghanistan, a media boom followed the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, but there have been problems. Watchdog groups report hundreds of cases of violence and intimidation against journalists, including murder. Afghan reporters have learned which topics are off-limits, and they take great care to avoid offending the country's powerful. NPR's Ahmad Shafi reports from Kabul.
NPR's Business News starts with rising computer prices. A component used to make computers has become more expensive. The reason why, is around the world in Southeast Asia. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
They battle international villains. And "when it comes to giving away their hearts, they'll risk everything." That's according to "SEAL of my Dreams, a short story collection by 18 romance novelists, celebrating Navy SEALS. Story titles include "SEALed with A Kiss," "SEALed by Fate" — you get the idea. Proceeds from the book will fund medical research for wounded veterans.
Facing a financial crisis that threatens Europe, Italy's lower house of parliament got down to important business. They passed a rule to save themselves from themselves. Photographers use long lenses to capture lawmakers making rude gestures, passing notes — or voting for absent colleagues, a practice that has been called "playing the piano," as they press several buttons at once. So, lawmakers have banned photographers from taking "personal images."
In 1956, two icons — Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier — got together in London to make a movie, The Prince and the Showgirl. It was a comedy about the lonely Prince Regent of Carpathia, who meets a flirty American showgirl. The film was a royal flop. Now a new movie, My Week With Marilyn, recounts the miserable time had by all on the set. It's the story of one week during the film shoot, with behind-the-scenes clashes, misaligned acting styles, and the pursuit of personal ambitions. Michelle Williams plays Monroe and Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier.
The cost of borrowing is the best way to gauge the severity of Europe's crisis. Here's Zoe Chace of NPR's Planet Money team.
ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Andrew Balls has a front seat to the European debt crisis. That's because he's someone who lends money to European countries. He's at one of the biggest bond outfits in the world: PIMCO. He says, if you look back over the course of the year, there is one moment that stands out, a tipping point.
The U.S. State Department says it's urging the government of the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain to act on the findings of a major human rights report that has just been issued. That report details the abuses that took place during and after a mass uprising in Bahrain that was styled after movements in Tunisia and Egypt. The report was commissioned by the government itself and assembled by a team of international legal experts. But it remains to be seen whether it will lead to real reform and dialogue between the ruling Sunni monarchy and the Shiite majority.
In Egypt, intense clashes between protestors and security forces overnight raised the death toll from recent violence to at least 40. But both sides appear to be observing a truce this morning, with protestors who are pouring into the square limiting their actions to chants against Egypt's military rulers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been protesting since last Friday, demanding the ruling military council step aside.
In the last decade the price of uranium has shot up. Some of the richest uranium deposits just happen to be on land surrounding a national treasure – the Grand Canyon. A ban on new claims is set to expire next month (December), but as Laurel Morales reports for the Fronteras Chaning America Desk, that doesn’t mean that it will.