NPR's business news starts with more mortgage problems.
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INSKEEP: Independent auditors released a report this morning, showing that the Federal Housing Administration is facing a shortfall from losses on the mortgages it insures. The Obama administration says it's going to take steps to prevent a taxpayer bailout.
As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the FHA has been struggling since the foreclosure crisis hit four years ago.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 4:49 am
The two biggest fears of the fiscal cliff are defense cuts and tax hikes. The nation's mayors say the devastating effects of automatic cuts reach further than the Defense Department — right into their own cities. Steve Inskeep talks to the Democratic Mayor of Charleston, S.C., Jospeh Riley and Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., about the impact sequestration could have in their cities.
Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.
For those who want to buy Nintendo's new video game console, you may have to wait a while. The Wii U goes on sale Sunday, but many stores have already sold out pre-orders. On Amazon, you can find the new console, but for much more than Nintendo's $350 price.
To find out what's the big deal for gamers and for Nintendo is, we've called Daisuke Wakabayashi. He covers Japanese video game companies for The Wall Street Journal, and joins us from Tokyo.
Honda, which has long aspired to launch off the road and into the skies, is one step closer to that goal. It has started production on its HondaJet. It's a twin jet engine aircraft, being assembled in North Carolina, aimed at the business market. Industry insiders call it the "Honda Civic of the skies."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Let's talk next about what's being described as the largest criminal fine in U.S. history. BP will pay nearly $1.3 billion for crimes associated with its 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico. On top of that, the company will pay more than $3 billion to settle claims from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:25 am
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As Israel and Hamas continue launching attacks, residents of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and communities to its south remain on alert for missile strikes. Sheera Frenkel reports that many fear the current round of violence is nowhere close to being over.
Israel's neighbor Jordan had largely avoided the unrest sparked by the Arab Spring until now. Jordan's king has outlasted protests that have been much smaller than in other nations, but a government move to raise fuel prices sparked fresh protests and even calls for King Abdullah to step down. A protester who died in a clash with police has become a symbol of protesters' fury. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.
Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.
I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it's still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.
Whenever there's a disaster, people want to give, and Hurricane Sandy is no exception. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, U.S. charities collected more than $174 million in donations as of Nov. 9 to help respond to the storm.
But it's not only money that has been pouring in. Relief programs have also received mountains of clothes, food and other supplies, not all of which are needed.
Leo Tolstoy's epic novel Anna Karenina has captivated readers since the 1800s — and movie directors have been among the intrigued, adapting the story over and over.
The latest is from director Joe Wright, who with Pride and Prejudice and Atonement to his credit certainly knows his way around a literary adaptation. Those films starred Keira Knightley, who has worked with Wright once again as the story's tragic heroine.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table is a show for people who love to eat. Every week, on many public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons and background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she does a live two-hour call-in show, helping listeners with the Big Meal. Sometimes Lynne gets desperate callers — but she seems able to calm them down.
"We save just about anything," Kasper says. "I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot"
When Chef Jose Garces, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur and author of The Latin Road Home, thinks back to the Thanksgiving table of his youth, he remembers the turkey, and his father's chicken giblet gravy.
But his parents, who emigrated to Chicago from Ecuador in the 1960s, whipped up Ecuadorean staples as well.
Every so often, people at an NPR station discover a song they can't get enough of. On those occasions, we ask them to share their obsession with the nation. Ben Famous is the music director at KCEP Power88 in Las Vegas. He spoke to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about a new cut from R&B heavyweight Avant. It's called "You and I," and it features Keke Wyatt. "The first time we played it," says Famous, "the phone lines lit up, and people were like, 'Who was that?' 'What was that?'"
People hold pictures of Savita Halappanavar during a vigil outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Halappanavar died Oct. 28 in Galway, Ireland, just days after she was denied an abortion.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:07 pm
The death of an Indian woman is prompting Ireland to examine the conditions under which abortions can be permitted in the country.
Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, died last month after she began to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus. Doctors denied her an abortion, a procedure that is illegal in the predominantly Catholic country, because the fetus had a heartbeat. The story gained traction this week after Halappanavar's husband took her body back to India for cremation and went public with the events that led to her death.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:13 pm
In an interview with All Things Considered's Melissa Block, Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said that Israel's calling of 30,000 reservists "signals a preparation for possible land action, which we may need to defend our citizens."
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:10 pm
Some Democrats complain that Republicans in recent decades have had the edge in House races because GOP state legislatures have been better at the gerrymandering game. Except that may not be true.
Some political experts believe there's an easier explanation, and perhaps a tougher one for Democrats to overcome: Voters supporting Republican House candidates, they say, are spread over more congressional districts than those who support Democrats. It's that simple. It's merely a matter of geography.
Sandy punched a hole in the barrier island that holds the affluent borough of Mantoloking, N.J., temporarily splitting the community in two. The storm also destroyed several multimillion-dollar homes and erased the island's protective system of dunes.
Storm waves and currents removed sand from a beach in Long Branch, N.J., exposing rock and concrete walls.
A portion of Fire Island, N.Y., was breached during Sandy, creating a new inlet. Despite the breach, a fishing shack on nearby Pelican Island (yellow arrow) remained standing.
Storm waves and surge cut across the barrier island at Mantoloking, N.J., eroding a wide beach, destroying houses and roads, and depositing sand onto the island and into the back bay.
New Jersey's most affluent community, Mantoloking, sits on a narrow barrier island 30 miles north of Long Beach. As Sandy approached, most of the residents fled inland. But Edwin C. O'Malley and his father, Edwin J. O'Malley Jr., hunkered down in their 130-year-old house.
They tied a boat to their porch and then watched the storm surge break over the dunes and flood the streets.
"Overnight that night, lying in bed, I could actually hear waves hitting the side of the house — which obviously made it more difficult to get to sleep," the younger O'Malley says.
Voters were frustrated by a 2012 presidential race they called more negative than usual and more devoid of substantive discussion of issues, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
And voters are pessimistic about the prospect of a more productive Congress, Pew found.
Two-thirds of registered voters surveyed after Election Day said they believe relations between Democrats and Republicans will stay the same or worsen over the coming year.
Karenin (Jude Law) tries to rein in his wife, Anna (Keira Knightley), as she pursues a flirtation and then an affair with a handsome young military officer in a new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's iconic love story.
Credit Laurie Sparham / Focus Features
Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a cavalry officer who ignores 19th century Russian social norms to pursue a married woman.
After he'd finished reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, did director Joe Wright scribble on the last page, "Needs more pep?"
Wright is, after all, the man who put the cute little ampersand in Pride & Prejudice and gave us a giggly Lizzie Bennet rendered by Keira Knightley. Knightley is back again in the title role as the Russian chick who loves and loses and throws herself under a train.
The titular altar boys would probably enjoy Funeral Kings. The first feature from sibling filmmakers Kevin and Matthew McManus has most everything the average adolescent boy wants: swearing, smoking, swearing, gun violence, swearing and cute girls. And swearing.
It's no secret that, in many parts of the world, children don't experience what affluent Westerners would term "childhood." Still, even the most hardened documentary buffs may be dumbfounded by Buffalo Girls, a look at two 8-year-old Thai girls who support their respective families.
They do so by hitting each other in the head.
Stam and Pet compete in Muay Thai, a form of boxing in which kicking as well as punching is allowed. As depicted in fictional action movies, Muay Thai is both graceful and brutal. Practiced by 8-year-olds, it's neither.
If David O. Russell pulls anything off in Silver Linings Playbook -- an almost-comedy about a bipolar high-school teacher who goes off the deep end and isn't sure how to climb back — it's this: He refuses to make mental illness adorable.
When Parker Posey was crowned "queen of the indies" in the mid-to-late '90s, the title referred to her Sundance-dominating ubiquity. But it could just as well have applied to the Parker Posey type — powerful and wonderfully imperious, with a habit of cutting her underlings down to size.
That's the Posey who turns up in Michael Walker's tense comedy Price Check, where she plays a relentless corporate climber who shakes up a sleepy regional office. She inspires. She terrorizes. Whatever it takes to get the job done.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God documents the claims made by four deaf men who accused a Catholic priest of sexual abuse — and in chronicling the response of the church, details the role the current pope played in such scandals earlier in his career.
By the time Father Lawrence Murphy died in 1998, it's alleged, he had sexually abused more than 200 children. Many of them must have seemed ideal victims: Students at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee between 1950 and 1974, they possessed limited ability to communicate with others. Commonly in that period, the boarding school's pupils had hearing parents who didn't know American Sign Language.