Some 3,000 Afghan elders will assemble on Thursday in Kabul to consider a new security agreement with the U.S. The document will spell out the rules for American forces in Afghanistan troops after their combat mission ends in December 2014. U.S. officials say between 6,000 and 9,000 US troops would remain to train Afghan security forces and conduct counter-terror missions against al-Qaeda and other anti-government forces. That counter-terror mission remains a sticking point, though most other issues — like potential criminal liability of Americans in Afghanistan — have been resolved.
A long-awaited deal between JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department was finalized Tuesday. The bank — one of Wall Street's largest — agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to resolve a number of legal issues stemming from mortgage securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.
A portion of the $13 billion JPMorgan Chase mortgage settlement will go to anti-blight measures across the country. One of the groups that might receive some of those funds is the Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Melissa Block talks with the non-profit's director, Jim Rokakis, about how the group tries to fight blight by establishing land banks, demolishing vacant properties and finding new ways to use the land.
Colorado and California both just proposed new regulations for oil and gas production in their states. Both states have been pushed by environmental concerns to establish rules tougher than federal requirements. If Colorado's proposal goes ahead, it would be the first state in the nation to directly regulate methane. California also says its proposed rule would be the toughest in the nation. It regulates the engineering technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Americans are utterly fed up with Washington. That's the takeaway from the latest round of public opinion polls. Approval ratings for just about every leader and political institution from the president to Congress are now at record lows. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports on why and what the consequences might be.
At least one group of people has not lost faith with President Obama: wealthy Democratic donors.
Before the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Obama was a political rock star, and he shared the stage at fundraisers with more than a few actual rock stars. Thousands of people cheered on Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and even Katy Perry.
Today, Obama's fundraising events are exclusively quiet affairs, and everyone in attendance writes very large checks to have dinner with the president.
This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.
NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in some hot water over remarks he made last week suggesting that opposition to Common Core of Standards was coming from "white suburban moms." He has since pulled back from those remarks.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:12 pm
Officials in some of India's major cities, who have been fighting a losing battle to control troops of marauding monkeys who snatch food, chew Internet cables and romp through government buildings, have decided to take drastic action: They are putting them on the pill.
Or at least oral contraceptives are part of a strategy that also will involve outright sterilization of thousands of rhesus monkeys.