Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with a case of product placement. Corporations pay millions to have their products turn up in the hands of famous people but somehow, they were not thrilled when a photo showed a smartphone on a table next to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This set off fevered speculation about which brand it was.
The National Weather Service's latest forecast of the snow totals across New England. Most places can expect 18-24 inches of new snow. It will start falling Friday and the storm is expected to last through Saturday.
"A major winter storm is expected to impact the Northeast and New England Friday into Saturday. As much as one to two feet of snow is forecast from the New York City metro area to Maine, with localized heavier amounts possible. This, in addition to wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will create significant impacts to transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward."
We've heard that necessity breeds invention. Well, so does discomfort. This weekend, 200 million Chinese are traveling home for the Chinese New Year. And for some this means entire days on standing room only trains.
One gadget being sold to travelers is a padded metal pole. It's to lean your head on so you don't fall over when you doze off. Or how about a luggage cart that doubles as a seat, with cup holders? Many people, though, are going old school with a simple upside down bucket.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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Let's meet the woman who may be the nation's next Secretary of the Interior. President Barack Obama has named Sally Jewell to the post. She still needs to be confirmed by the Senate. Jewell does not have a background in government or politics. She's CEO of the outdoor gear company REI. Supporters say her love of the outdoors goes much deeper than that. And they say she has a savvy social conscience.
On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. As soon as today, the Pentagon could announce it is extending some benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian service members. The move comes two years after the repeal of the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell." Since nine states and Washington, D.C. allow same-sex marriage, the Pentagon has struggled with whether and how to recognize these spouses. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
The U.S. Postal Service likes to talk about how reliable it is, and they are determined to keep that reputation, even after the change announced yesterday. The Postal Service plans to end Saturday delivery of regular mail. They will continue delivering packages on Saturdays. The decision will save some $2 billion a year, but it's getting mixed reviews, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
Let's get a glimpse of the troops now fighting Islamist insurgents in Somalia. Forces from multiple African nations have been battling a group called al-Shabaab for years. They're being closely watched now because the international community is considering how to intervene in future months and years against an insurgency in Mali. NPR's Gregory Warner is traveling with a force in Somalia. Gregory, welcome back to the program.
GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Steve.
INSKEEP: So where are you, and what have you been doing?
NPR's business news starts with Boeing's battery problem.
Boeing's new fleet of Dreamliner 787 aircraft is grounded. But there is one in the air right now. The FAA cleared the plane's flight this morning from Fort Worth, Texas to Seattle. Engineers at the Boeing factory there will study the plane's lithium ion batteries and look for ways to reduce fire risk. Regulators around the world grounded the Dreamliner last month after batteries overheated on two planes. Only crew are aboard the 787 currently on its way to Seattle.
And we have news of another fire sale. Our last word in business today is the buy of a lifetime.
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That's what some are calling the sale of a 20-acre estate outside Cedar Falls, Iowa, which sold for a winning bid of around $600,000. The precise amount was not disclosed. One expert says to build something like that estate today would cost $1.5 million.
In exchange for multibillion-euro bailouts, Greece was required to sell state-owned assets. But the sweeping privatization process is behind schedule. In addition, European governments are nervous that Chinese, Russian and Arab companies are lining up to take advantage of the Greek fire sale.
A worker makes a cut in the side of a sandstone block at the Cleveland Quarries facility in Vermilion, Ohio, earlier this month. The legal limit on the amount of silica that workers can inhale was set decades ago.
Credit Ty Wright / Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee uses a wet saw to cut a slab of sandstone at a Lang Stone Co. facility in Columbus, Ohio, in January. Using water while cutting helps keep dust out of the air.
Luis Romero looks out over the ocean to a view that includes the Coast Guard station where his son, Julian, was in the auxiliary. Romero started the anti-violence organization Basta Ya after Julian was murdered.
Credit Coburn Dukehart / NPR
Daysi Pena has sold cosmetics and accessories in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 12 years. She is now thinking of moving to New York to escape the escalating violence on the island. There was a shooting one block from her stall a day before this photo was taken.
Credit Coburn Dukehart / NPR
Hector Pesquera, the police superintendent for the island, says tackling crime has been challenging.
Credit Courtesy of Luis Romero
Julian Romero (center) is seen with his parents, Marie Rodriquez and Luis Romero, on his 20th birthday, April 18, 2011. He was stabbed to death later that night while celebrating with his girlfriend in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico's population is declining. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many Puerto Ricans are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series,Morning Editionexplores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.
John Brennan, President Obama's choice to lead the CIA, can look forward to a grilling Thursday on Capitol Hill. As Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, he has been associated with some controversial policies, including the use of armed drones. Brennan's nomination comes before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and members from both parties have their questions ready.
Just a stone's throw from two of Los Angeles' busiest freeways lies the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, a unique spot in an urban jungle.
The northern portion of the reserve is adorned with 30-foot-tall cottonwood trees, spots of coyote bush and other plants. Native plants cover 50 percent of the nature spot, says Kris Ohlenkamp with the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.
"On the other side it was significantly more than that," he says.
John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director, worked closely with Saudi Arabia to set up a secret U.S. drone base there, The New York Times reported. Brennan's confirmation hearing is Thursday.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 4:50 am
The Obama administration says lethal airstrikes, delivered stealthily by drones, have been a major success in its counterterrorism efforts. But the administration has been much less successful in keeping secret the details of the often controversial drone program.
An Amish man and woman walk through a parking lot after leaving the U.S. courthouse in Cleveland in September. Sixteen members of an Amish group in Bergholz, Ohio, led by Samuel Mullet, were found guilty of attacks targeting Amish bishops.
Credit Amy Sancetta / AP
Amish bishop Samuel Mullet stands in front of his home in Bergholz, Ohio. He was found guilty of masterminding a plan to cut off beards and hair of other Amish.
Minnesota has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators, and Democrats control both houses of its Legislature. So it may have come as no surprise when President Obama went there earlier this week to rally support for his proposals to reduce gun violence.
But even in the politically blue state, there's considerable resistance to placing further restrictions on gun ownership.
During his visit to a Minneapolis police facility Monday, Obama urged Minnesotans to find common ground in curbing gun violence.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it plans to end Saturday delivery later this year. The Postal Service lost more than $15 billion in fiscal year 2012 and it is under great pressure to reduce those losses.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 5:12 pm
What do the Kansas City Royals, C. Everett Koop, Jack Nicholson and the United Methodist Church all have in common?
Turns out the Major League Baseball team, the former surgeon general, the actor and the denomination's general board and church society are all enemies of firearms, and as such have made it onto the National Rifle Association's list of "National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies."
James Hunter has spent his life learning how to tell soul's stories in fresh and personal ways. Born in 1962 in Essex, England and mentored early on by Van Morrison, he embarked on a career with many ups and downs before breaking through in America in his forties. Now the Grammy-nominated Hunter has made his first album in the States, where the music he loves was born.
The details of a secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia, used to launch targeted killings and surveillance missions into Yemen, were revealed Wednesday in several American media outlets. Audie Cornish speaks with Karen DeYoung, national security correspondent for The Washington Post, who authored one of the articles on the program
On a lighter, much lighter economic note, fans of Monopoly have spoken. After a month of online voting, one of the iconic game's playing pieces is being replaced. Goodbye Iron, hello Cat, which won after polls closed at 11:59 P.M. Tuesday.
As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the new feline will arrive on Monopoly boards by fall.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: For some, the news has been absolutely traumatizing. Walk the streets of New York City and you'll hear cries of distress over the death of the Iron.