A Vatican official already under investigation for money laundering was arrested after police say they caught him and two other men plotting a scheme that would bring in 20 million euros (about $26 million) in cash into Italy from Switzerland on a jet.
Prosecutors say Monsignor Nunzio Scarano said the money belonged to some friends, according to The Associated Press. The wire service talked to Nunzio's attorney Silverio Sica and reports:
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Here are two great American symbols that don't always go well together: bald eagles and Fourth of July fireworks. A couple of eaglets are in a nest in a Seattle suburb, right near the spot where the city launches its Independence Day display. The local Audubon Society worried the pyrotechnics would startle the baby birds, still too young to fly. So organizers moved the launch site, plus say this year's display will use quieter fireworks. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
"Simpsons" fans might remember an episode where Homer designs a car. It's a puke-green monstrosity with tail fins, extra-large drink holders and a bubble dome to keep kids separated. Well, they couldn't resist. Some automotive designers built a real car based on Homer's epic design.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Well, now that summer is officially here, we thought this might be a good time to check in with some of our colleagues to find out how the federal budget cuts known as sequestration are playing out. These cuts went into effect in the spring, and it is becoming clear that some federal agencies and programs are feeling the brunt, while others have largely escaped.
One leader for whom immigration has always been an issue is Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles. He steps down this weekend, after two terms in office. He's the city's first Latino mayor in over a century, a local boy born in East L.A., far from the L.A. that dreams are made of. He joined us here at NPR West to talk about his time leading the second-largest city in the country. Good morning.
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: Good morning to you, Renee.
The Senate passed a sweeping immigration overhaul bill Thursday with bipartisan support. The legislation, passed by a vote of 68 to 32, would put millions in the country illegally on a path to citizenship and vastly expand border security.
Federal regulators have filed civil charges against former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine in connection with the failure of his commodities firm, MF Global. The government says Corzine failed to stop the firm from dipping into customer funds during a financial crisis in October 2011.
Anyone who's seen a North Carolina license plate knows the state proudly claims itself as the site of the first airplane flight. But this week, Connecticut said not so fast. The state passed a law declaring it was home to the first flight.
NPR's business news starts with new charges against China.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: The United States charged a Chinese wind turbine maker, yesterday, with stealing trade secrets from a U.S. company. The Department of Justice says China's Sinovel stole more than $800 million worth of intellectual property from U.S. company AMSC.
AMSC is seeking more than $1 billion in damages. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Washington is still trying to determine how much damage has been done as a result of Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA surveillance. Snowden allegedly encrypted the files he took with him, but some officials fear Chinese or Russian intelligence services gained access to Snowden's computers.
And last week was a wild one for China's economy. First, interest rates on the loans that banks give each other spiked. As the banks struggled to get money, stock markets dropped - not only in China - but throughout Asia - and briefly in New York.
Things have calmed down since then. But the crisis showed how China's new leaders are just beginning to confront some fundamental problems in the world's second largest economy.
We're going to NPR's Frank Langfitt in Shanghai to tell us what they're doing.
To understand why Bosnian Rainbows' music stands out, you have to go back to 2007 in Guadalajara, Mexico. A singer named Teresa Suarez has taken the stage name Teri Gender Bender — adopted as a feminist statement while at the head of a band called Le Butcherettes.
What if we could get our gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from yeast instead of from oil wells? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's already happening on a small scale. And there's a vigorous research effort to ramp this up on a massive scale.
One of the more innovative approaches uses a new technology called "synthetic biology." Jay Keasling is one of the leaders in this hot field.
The U.S. is ready for tornadoes, but not tsunamis.
That's the conclusion of a panel of scientists who spoke this week on "mega-disasters" at the American Geophysical Union's science policy meeting in Washington, D.C.
The nation has done a good job preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, which occur frequently but usually produce limited damage and relatively few casualties, the panelists said. But government officials are just beginning to develop plans for events like a major tsunami or a large asteroid hurtling toward a populated area.
Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.
"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.
Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.
The interest rate on government-backed student loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.
Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration could not agree on a plan to keep it from happening. Lawmakers say a deal is still possible after the July 4 recess. But if they don't agree on a plan soon, 7 million students expected to take out new Stafford loans could be stuck with a much bigger bill when they start paying the money back.
It has been one of the more heated debates in Washington this year.
Developers in Phoenix are scrambling to keep up with another frenzied demand for housing. During the Great Recession, homebuilders in the suburbs abandoned neighborhoods that were only half-built. These so-called zombie subdivisions left a ring of unfinished construction around the city.
British singer Omar was a child musician back in the '70s and '80s, but he's done a lot of growing up since then. Now married with two daughters, Omar has a new album, The Man, which marks a turning point in his life.
"It's about changing," he says. "Since I've had [my girls], there's a purpose to my life now. It's about growth, development and evolution."
The Man is the singer's first project in seven years. Stripped down to a natural level, the album is assembled in a way that hearkens back to the musician's early days.
Samuel Taylor was raised in a religious family. When he came out to his mother, Connie Casey, she sent him to a series of conversion therapy ministries affiliated with Exodus International, the Christian organization that folded this month and apologized to the gay community for trying to "correct" same-sex attraction.
An irony of therecent Texas political theater: Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster aimed at stopping anti-abortion legislation raised not only her profile but that of Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Shortly after Davis' talkathon ran out the clock on a bill that would potentially have made abortions much harder for women in Texas to obtain after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Perry put himself back in the national headlines.
Federal regulators are suing former MF Global Holdings CEO Jon Corzine, accusing him of not properly supervising the company that filed for bankruptcy back in 2011. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission says Corzine failed to keep money that belonged to the brokerage's customers from being used to cover MF Global's obligations.
Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 11:10 am
Changing its story. Walking it back. Clarifying.
Whatever you call it, the IRS inspector general now has a different account of what investigators knew about the ideologies of the groups that underwent extra scrutiny as they sought tax-exempt status.
Inspector General J. Russell George explained in a letter released Thursday morning that investigators knew all along "progressives" were listed in documents used by IRS agents to screen applications.
High-rise apartment buildings might not seem like fertile ground for making compost.
But officials in New York want to capture and recycle more of the city's food waste — even in some of the nation's most vertical neighborhoods. They're expanding a pilot program that's also trying to encourage composting by turning greenmarkets and libraries into drop-off sites for residents' food waste.
The Senate approved a sweeping immigration bill Thursday, endorsing a bill that would put millions of immigrants who illegally entered the United States on a path to citizenship. The final vote tally on the bill was 68 in favor, with 32 opposed.
The bill also includes measures that would punish employers who take advantage of immigrant workers, as well as providing billions in spending to employ fences and high-tech tools to help secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
All 52 Democratic senators voted for the bill, along with 14 Republicans and two independents.
Laurence Anyways begins with several close-ups of strangers pinning the passing camera with looks of surprise, disdain or suspicion. The person under examination is the eponymous Laurence (Melvil Poupaud), a noted novelist who at the story's outset is about to embark upon a new life as a woman. Later, after the film has flashed back to show us her whole transition, comes an interviewer's question: "Do looks matter to you?"
Kid Rock is tired of scalpers taking tickets away from his biggest fans.
One way to stop that: Raise ticket prices. If Kid Rock charged more for his tickets, scalpers wouldn't be able to sell them at such a big markup.
But Kid Rock doesn't want to raise prices.
"I don't want to break you by coming to see me, " he says. "I want to make as much money as I can, but I don't need to drive around in a tinted down Rolls-Royce or Maybach and hide from people because I felt like I ripped them off."
Twenty percent of strokes hit people under age 65, and the cause of many of those strokes remains a mystery. Having had a concussion or other traumatic brain injury might make the risk of a stroke more likely, a study says.
Back in 2011, researchers in Taiwan had unearthed an association between traumatic brain injury and stroke by combing through hospital records.
It's one of those "Oh, really?" findings that gets scientists itching to check it out themselves.