This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama is taking his campaign against gun violence to the country, beginning today with a trip to Minneapolis and a visit to that city's police department. Many police organizations favor tougher gun laws. The president leaves behind a new Congress that's getting down to business. And consuming most of lawmakers' time: the budget and the deficit.
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 6:33 pm
Escalating political violence from both the left and right is raising fears of political instability in debt-burdened Greece. The conservative-led government is cracking down on leftist groups, vowing to restore law and order.
But the opposition says authorities are trying to divert people's attention from growing poverty and despair.
Take the latest explosion in Athens — a firebomb at a crowded suburban mall last month that slightly injured two security guards.
Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.
At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.
The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. China's incoming president wants to be seen as a man of the people. And he seems to know what the people don't want from their politicians. So for this year's opening of parliament, the president has banned extravagant banquets, gifts, flowers in rooms.
And in a parliament filled with hand-picked delegates used to launching to endless praise of the party, also banned are long-winded speeches; plus, empty talk is discouraged.
The San Francisco 49ers are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Baltimore Ravens have a special source of fuel. Raven Jacoby Jones is from New Orleans, where the game will be played, and his mom made the team 150 plates of food. Jones describes the feast as, quote, "gumbo, jambalaya, potato salad, bread pudding, macaroni - the whole nine yards."
Finally, somebody used that cliche in a sport where it makes sense.
And now to Google, which is looking for some hackers to ride to the top in an unusual competition. Our last word in business is: pi contest, as in 3.14.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Three point one four, that's the amount in millions of dollars that Google is offering in what its Podium Hacking Contest. The challenge here is to hack the Google Chrome operating system and expose security flaws.
Travis McCoy is the product manager for Chrome and we asked him why pi.
The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.
One of the most entertaining documentaries to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Sound City." The rock musician Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, is the director - a first for him. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Sound City" is a mash note to a machine - not just any machine, however, but one that helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.
Netflix customers will soon have a new option: Along with the company's usual offerings, viewers will be able to watch a new show called House of Cards, a political drama adapted from a British show, and starring Kevin Spacey. David Fincher (known for The Social Network and Seven) will direct the first two episodes. But what's new about House of Cards is that all 13 episodes will be available at once — and they were financed by Netflix itself.
Friday marks the day that 100 years ago, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors for business for the very first time. The largest railroad terminal in the world, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building is in the heart of New York City on 42nd St. And while it no longer serves long-distance trains, it's still a vibrant part of the city's eco-system.
This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.
At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.
The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. During the financial crisis, the bank collapsed.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. When the huge golden cookie that stood for 100 years outside the headquarters of a big German cookie maker went missing, the company put up a reward. Then the kidnapper sent a ransom note. I have the biscuit, it said with text cut from magazines. It demanded the company donate cookies to children in a local hospital, and the reward to an animal shelter. Signed: Cookie Monster. Cute. But so far the bakery has not bitten. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Sunday's Super Bowl - a contest between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers - is also a battle of craft breweries. Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery made a bet with Anchor Brewing of San Francisco. The loser must pour the winner's beer in its taproom for a week. And the loser's brewery tour guides will have to wear the winner's Super Bowl championship gear. Could be tough, but if they need a beer after all that, they're all set.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
This is the time when we begin to find if the emotional power of the Newtown school shooting will translate into political change. People affected by mass shootings are now talking with state and federal lawmakers.
Susan Aaron's daughter escaped the shooting in Newtown after seeing her teacher and friends killed.
Let's sort through what we know and do not know about Israel's reported airstrike on Syria. Syrian officials, the government of Bashar al-Assad, have affirmed that Israeli warplanes struck, although we have conflicting reports about what the target was. We're going to work through the information with NPR's Jerusalem correspondent, Larry Abramson. Hi, Larry.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi there, Steve.
INSKEEP: What do you know, and how do you know it?
Note: We originally published a version of this post a few weeks ago. We are republishing it now to coincide with our story airing today on Morning Edition.
All kinds of proposals to reduce gun violence have been floated recently. One idea that has gotten the attention of economists is liability insurance. Most states require car owners to have liability insurance to cover damages their vehicles cause to others; some economists think we should require the same of gun owners.
We reached out to a few economists to get their thoughts.
Boeing is scrambling to figure out why batteries malfunctioned on its 787, prompting officials to ground the airplane this month. And at a time when Boeing most needs its skilled engineers, they're weighing a possible strike. Union leaders are considering the company's final contract offer.
The standoff between Boeing and about 23,000 engineers and technicians — mostly in the Seattle region — has been brewing for months. Dozens of them recently packed a union hall south of Seattle for training in how to run a picket line.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 11:12 am
Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.
"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.
Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with gnomes in the news. This time, about 2,300 tiny paintings of gnomes have appeared on utility poles all over Oakland, California. Since the little guys showed up last year, full-sized residents got into the spirit - blogging and tweeting new sightings. Pacific Gas and Electric was going to evict the bearded figures, but when the anonymous artist appealed, PG&E backed off. Yesterday it declared the poles gnome-man's-land. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.