Bank of America and Fannie Mae have agreed to settle legal issues stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. The bank will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion in cash and will also spend $6.7 billion to repurchase certain mortgages sold to Fannie Mae.
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Today, President Obama announced his nominees for two key national security posts. For CIA director, he picked John Brennan, now his top counterterrorism adviser. And for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska, a Republican and a Vietnam War veteran.
The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case â€” and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.
China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its controversial labor camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. According to Chinese media, some 160,000 prisoners were held in "re-education centers" at the end of 2008.
Critics of the system greeted the announcement â€” which was slim on details â€” with cautious optimism.
Pressure to change the system has been mounting after a number of high-profile cases, including that of Ren Jianyu, who had been a young village official.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 1:45 pm
Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."
Back in 2009, as Morning Edition reported, some scientists were worried that the small metal cylinder used as the world's standard for what a kilogram should be might be losing weight.
But there were also those who thought the problem might have nothing to do with that carefully sealed away cylinder in Paris â€” that the real problem might be that the 40 replicas sent around the world are gaining weight.
With elections in Italy just weeks away, polls show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. Yet attention is focused on the battle between the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the current prime minister, Mario Monti, an austere technocrat.
Monti's platform calls for continued austerity, budget cutting and labor reforms.
While Berlusconi and Monti are the two big names in next month's race, the expected winner is the leader of the leftist Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani.
Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.
But he noticed that Holmes was "just standing there" and had no sense of urgency â€” despite the pandemonium at the theater, as people continued to stream out.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Well, Congress averted the milk cliff. A five-year farm bill was set to expire, and it could have doubled the price of milk if that had happened. But instead of passing a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old farm bill. That renews subsidies for grain, cotton and soybeans; it cuts budgets for some organic and environmental initiatives.
Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of those films that lets you into the lives of believable, complicated characters. A handsome, self-centered young artist played by the actor/rock singer Murray Head is having simultaneous affairs with both an older woman (played with infinitely nuanced self-irony by Glenda Jackson) and an older man, a Jewish doctor (the touching Peter Finch), two intelligent adults who have mutual friends and even know each other slightly.
Julian Fellowes may be the Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, but the English screenwriter, director and novelist says his background "was much more ordinary than the newspapers have made it." What he means is that he did not grow up with servants waiting on him hand and foot, as people have seen done for the Crawley family on Downton Abbey, the hit television series Fellowes created. The third season premiered Sunday.
NPR coverage of the Hagel/Brennan nomination announcements
President Obama this afternoon nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
In those two, the president said, he has chosen men with experience in the field and who "understand the consequences of decisions we make in this town" on the men and women who serve America around the world,
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:59 pm
We don't hear much about bank liquidity, partly because it sounds so dull. It's much more fun to talk about prop trading (fear the London Whale!) or structured finance (synthetic CDOs are crazy!).
But if you're trying to figure out how safe banks are â€” and how willing they'll be to make loans to ordinary people â€” liquidity is at least as important as other, more-dramatic-sounding corners of finance.
So the new liquidity rules global banking regulators released yesterday are a big deal for the real economy.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am
The Kulluk, the Shell oil-drilling rig that washed aground last weekend, is afloat and being towed to shelter on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. The craft began its 30-mile trip late Sunday night. Examinations of the vessel have not found any signs of a leak.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:26 pm
Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 10:49 am
After nearly a month of health problems that culminated with a stay in a New York City hospital for treatment of a blood clot in a vein between her brain and her skull, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was back in her office Monday morning.
The State Department released a photo of the 65-year-old, soon-to-be-retired Clinton chairing a weekly meeting of assistant secretaries.
The Indian-Canadian comedian is known for mimicking accents and poking fun at race, culture and class. He's performed for audiences worldwide. All that after being bullied as the brown kid in a mostly white neighborhood. Peters talks to guest host Celeste Headlee about his personal life and his new world tour called 'Notorious.'
For decades, journalists at the Tijuana newspaper Zeta have doggedly covered government corruption and narco-trafficking. That's made them the target of violence and threats. Bernardo Ruiz tells their stories in his new documentary, Reportero. He talks with guest host Celeste Headlee.
The Venezuelan president hasn't been heard from or seen publicly since undergoing cancer surgery last month. How is the uncertainty affecting Venezuelans and their relations with the US? Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with NPR's Juan Forero.
Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:47 am
I'm not very good at keeping New Year's resolutions. One year I resolved to "get into yoga." I even wrote that down on a note card and kept it on the refrigerator. Two months later, after doing nothing, I crossed it out and wrote, "be AWARE of yoga."
This year I didn't bother making a list about health and fitness resolutions. But I do have a mental list of some personal improvements I'd like to make when it comes to music.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:29 pm
The first voices I heard about Michael Haneke's Amour were essentially in complete agreement: beautiful, brilliant, almost unbearably depressing. Having seen it, I'm not sure I agree with that last part.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:43 am
Bank of America announced this morning that it will pay the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) $3.6 billion in cash and will buy back $6.75 billion worth of mortgages to resolve claims related to mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae by the bank and Countrywide Financial Corp. (which BofA acquired in 2008.
Authorities at a Brazilian prison noticed a bulky cat wandering on prison grounds. They discovered the small black-and-white cat was hauling in saws, drills, a cell phone and charger â€” all taped to its body.