The Dow Jones Industrial Average is swapping out three of its blue chip companies, in what's being called the biggest shake up of the index in almost a decade. Standard & Poor's announced it's dropping Hewlett Packard, Alcoa and Bank of America at the end of next week. Sliding into their places: Visa, Nike and Goldman Sachs.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Over the last several years, a group of family members have created a movement to turn the anniversary into a national day of service. This year more than 30 million people will be involved, and they claim it's the largest day of service in the country.
Diplomats continue to consider a Russian plan to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international control. If nations can agree on the details, the plan could avert a U.S. strike against Syrian targets. But accounting for and destroying Syria's chemical arsenal is a complicated undertaking.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.
President Obama's push for a military strike on Syria is on hold, at least for now. The administration is exploring a possible diplomatic alternative that calls for Syria to surrender its stockpile of chemical weapons. That could provide a face-saving out for the president, who appeared unlikely to win Congressional approval this week for a strike.
The country will pause Wednesday morning to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. At the site of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, the names of all the victims will be read, along with the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Next, we'll introduce you to Nathan Myhrvold, who made his name as a prolific inventor at Microsoft. These days, he's focusing on a different kind of technological advance - the threat from biological weapons. Myhrvold is in Washington this week to meet with national security leaders, and try to convince them to spend time and energy on potential attacks. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
The National Security Agency violated special court restrictions on the use of a database of telephone calls, but the NSA says it fixed those problems. That's the bottom line from more documents declassified by the director of National Intelligence. The document dump is part of an effort to share more details about NSA surveillance activities that were uncovered by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
OK. Maybe you're one of the millions of Americans who attended college but never had a chance to finish. And you have dozens or scores or hundreds of credits just sitting there that don't quite add up to a degree. The University of Wisconsin system has introduced an alternative way to finish your degree by earning credits based on what you already know. It's the so-called Flex Option.
Lauren Henderson goes everywhere with her service dog Phoebe — to the grocery store, Disneyland, the beach. For Henderson, who used to be paralyzed, her 100 pound, lumbering Saint Bernard is a necessity.
An actor who lives in Malibu, Calif., Henderson uses her dog for stability and balance. And if she falls, Phoebe helps pull her back on her feet.
"She's basically like a living walker," Henderson says.
The other day, I was interviewing an economist who studies the effect college majors have on peoples' income. He was telling me that women often make decisions that lead them to earn less than they otherwise might.
Women are overrepresented among majors that don't pay very well (psychology, art, comparative literature), and underrepresented in lots of lucrative majors (most fields in engineering).
Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad swims toward shore in Key West, Fla., on Sept. 2, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. She arrived at the beach about 53 hours after beginning her swim in Havana.
For sportswriters the fattest target has always been the America's Cup. It's too easy. It's like all those political writers who make fun of vice presidents and think they're being original. Sportswriters have been going har-de-har-har about the America's Cup even long before one of their wags said it was like watching paint dry. Or like watching grass grow. One or the other. Maybe both.
Cookie Marenco records musicians on a small remote recording console live at the California Audio Show in August. She'll demonstrate the quality of DSD to the audience by playing back her recording. How close will it sound to the live performance? Very close, according to people present.
Credit Cindy Carpien
Cookie Marenco, proprietor of Blue Coast Records, records musicians in her home studio in Belmont, Calif., just south of San Francisco. She'll offer the recordings as downloads in the high resolution format of DSD or Direct Stream Digital.
Last week, Sony Corporation announced a new line of high-end audio components that promise to deliver a better online audio experience. The announcement comes amid growing evidence that music fans are tired of the crappy sound they hear on their portable music players. Case in point is the success of Cookie Marenco's business of selling super high-definition music downloads.
A debate is taking place in Iowa over the ability of people who are legally or completely blind to carry guns in public. The issue stems from a 2011 change in the state's gun permit rules, allowing visually impaired people to carry firearms in public.
Pamela Armstrong (left) as Alice Ford and Heather Johnson as Meg Page in New York City Opera's production of Falstaff. The so called people's opera may have to cancel its upcoming season if fundraising falls short.
Credit Bill Cooper / BAM
The U.S. premiere of Anna Nicole is set to open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music — BAM — on Sept. 17. Above, a 2011 performance of Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House in London.
There are a lot of operas that end with heroines on their deathbeds, singing one glorious aria before they die. That's what happens at the end of Anna Nicole, the controversial new work that New York City Opera is presenting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September. But the company's artistic director and general manager, George Steel, says it could also be City Opera's last gasp.
Seriously, if you were being attacked by zombies, you might yell out the word f- - -! But no one does on The Walking Dead. When it comes to language in this golden age of basic cable dramas, the rules are idiosyncratic and unclear.
"It's so arbitrary, hon," says Kurt Sutter. "It's just basically people in suits making up the rules."
The U.S. and its allies await details of Russia's proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN supervision. Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are continuing to press for congressional approval of a potential military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Apple unveiled two new phones today. One of them, the iPhone 5C, is a lower-priced phone aimed at customers in the developing world. The other, a high-end model, comes with a fingerprint scanner called Touch ID. Now, the unveiling comes as the company faces pressure on several fronts - from rival phone makers, and from Wall Street investors clamoring for breakthrough products.
The International Olympic committee (IOC) has elected a new president, Thomas Bach of Germany. He assumes leadership of an organization that faces criticism over politics, costs and what some view as its insular approach to which sports are offered during the games. The new president succeeds Jacques Rogge, who lead the IOC for 12 years.
How feasible is the task of taking control of Syria's chemical arsenal? Could the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention, do it with confidence?
We're going to ask Amy Smithson, who is senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Welcome to the program.
Is the Russian proposal to have Syria's chemical weapons placed under international control sincere? And if so, what's in it for Russia and can the Russians be trusted to help rid Syria of chemical weapons? Joining us, is Strobe Talbott, a Russia hand and former deputy secretary of state. He joins us from the Brookings Institution, of which he is the president. Welcome to the program once again.
Adult film production in California is now suspended after a number of performers tested positive for HIV. Four cases have been reported in the past few months, including one on Monday.
If ever there was an "I told you so moment" for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's now. The organization has been campaigning for condoms to be mandatory during porn shoots. Last year, it sponsored a measure in Los Angeles County to that effect, which voters approved.
Finally this hour, NASCAR nastiness. This past Saturday, one team appeared to pull out all the stops to rig a big race. One driver spun out his car, and another took an unnecessary pit stop. Both moves helped advance their teammate to the playoffs. NASCAR fined their team - Michael Waltrip Racing - $300,000, and suspended their general manager indefinitely.
Now, this is the biggest fine in NASCAR history, according to Nate Ryan. He's a senior motorsports reporter for USA Today Sports. He joins us from Charlotte, N.C. Hey there, Nate.