David Greene

David Greene is host of NPR's Morning Edition, with Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne.

For two years prior to taking on his current role in 2012, Greene was an NPR foreign correspondent based in Moscow covering the region from Ukraine and the Baltics, east to Siberia. During that time he brought listeners stories as wide ranging as Chernobyl 25 years later and Beatles-singing Russian Babushkas. He spent a month in Libya reporting riveting stories in the most difficult of circumstances as NATO bombs fell on Tripoli. He was honored with the 2011 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize from WBUR and Boston University for that coverage of the Arab Spring.

Greene's voice became familiar to NPR listeners from his four years covering the White House. To report on former President George W. Bush's second term, Greene spent hours in NPR's spacious booth in the basement of the West Wing (it's about the size of your average broom closet). He also spent time trekking across five continents, reporting on White House visits to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Rwanda, Uruguay – and, of course, Crawford, Texas.

During the days following Hurricane Katrina, Greene was aboard Air Force One when President Bush flew low over the Gulf Coast and caught his first glimpse of the storm's destruction. On the ground in New Orleans, Greene brought listeners a moving interview with the late Ethel Williams, a then-74-year-old flood victim who got an unexpected visit from the president.

Greene was an integral part of NPR's coverage of the historic 2008 election, covering Hillary Clinton's campaign from start to finish, and also focusing on how racial attitudes were playing into voters' decisions. The White House Correspondents Association took special note of Greene's report on a speech by then-candidate Barack Obama, addressing the nation's racial divide. Greene was given the association's 2008 Merriman Smith award for deadline coverage of the presidency.

After President Obama took office, Greene kept one eye trained on the White House and the other eye on the road. He spent three months driving across America – with a recorder, camera and lots of caffeine – to learn how the recession was touching Americans during President Obama's first 100 days in office. The series was called "100 Days: On the Road in Troubled Times."

Before joining NPR in 2005, Greene spent nearly seven years as a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He covered the White House during the Bush administration's first term, and wrote about an array of other topics for the paper: Why Oklahomans love the sport of cockfighting, why two Amish men in Pennsylvania were caught trafficking methamphetamine and how one woman brought Christmas back to a small town in Maryland.

Before graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1998 with a degree in government, Greene worked as the senior editor on the Harvard Crimson. In 2004, he was named co-volunteer of the year for Coaching for College, a Washington, D.C., program offering tutoring to inner-city youth.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Russia may have taken Crimea out of Ukraine, but it hasn't quite taken Ukraine out of Crimea. For one thing, there are still Ukrainian troops there and Russia wants them gone.

GREENE: Today Russian backed forces stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in Ukrain's main Black Sea port. And apparently without a shot being fired, the Russian flag is now flying there.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Just before residents of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, a group of U.S. senators visited Kiev. They were showing support for Ukraine's new government, and also offering U.S. help. Among them was Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin. We reached him by phone in Chicago, and asked if the U.S. and Europe have to accept that Crimea is now part of Russia.

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NPR's business news starts with payouts in Bangladesh.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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NPR's business news begins with a split for Lands' End.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Lands' End, the outdoor clothing retailer, will spin off from Sears Holdings Corporation next month and operate as a standalone, publicly traded company.

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Good morning, I'm David Greene.

Recently Christopher Viatafa did something many of us have done: He Googled his own name. But what he found wasn't so normal. It was his own face, on Northern California's Most Wanted website. He allegedly pulled a gun at a party last summer and fired it into the ground. In what authorities are calling an act of good judgment after a very bad call, Viatafa turned himself in. He's been charged with assault with a deadly weapon. He's now listed as a captured fugitive.

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A few years ago, this song came out of nowhere, "Pumped Up Kicks" from Foster The People, an unsigned band from L.A. It became one of 2011's biggest hits.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUMPED UP SUP KICK")

FOSTER THE PEOPLE: (Singing) All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun. All the other...

GREENE: Song, as you can hear, has a summer party sound. The lyrics though tell a much darker story.

In Challis, the debate is over the reach of Washington and how state land is used. Morning Edition has traveled to Idaho for one of the mostly closely watched political races this year.

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In election years, we hear a lot of reporting from swing states: Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin. We do not usually hear as much from a place like Idaho, because it is so deeply one color: red. But this midterm election year, Idaho is home to one of the most closely watched races in this nation. A Republican is battling another Republican in a primary campaign that may point to where the party, as a whole, is heading.

In 2013, the battle lines were drawn within the Republican Party. This year, war may be breaking out across the country.

The Tea Party has already proven it has the energy, influence and cash to change elections and shape the landscape of Congress. Now, moderate and establishment-oriented Republicans are trying to match their intensity.

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Supporters of a minimum wage say it can be especially important at a time of relatively high unemployment, when workers have little bargaining power. This morning we'll get a fresh snapshot of unemployment in the U.S. when the government releases new jobs numbers. NPR's Yuki Noguchi came by to talk about what to expect. Yuki, good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So where does the job market seem to be going right now?

In Syria, militias linked to al-Qaida have taken the lead in the fight against the Assad government. In Iraq, they've caused a wave of violence including bombings against civilians and attacks on government forces.

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OK. We've gotten through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's. But if you're an NFL fan, the next holiday up is Wild Card Weekend. There is football on Saturday and Sunday. Four wild card teams facing four teams that won their divisions. And there are some pretty interesting storylines to cover. Let's cover them with NPR's Mike Pesca. Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Storyline number one - not all the teams playing are wild cards. It is called that but they get to play divisional leaders, don't they?

One of southern Russia's largest cities is reeling from two deadly bombings in the last 24 hours. The violence took place in Volgograd which is hundreds of miles from Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will be held. This has raised questions about whether these acts of terrorism are related to the staging of the Olympics.

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This is a sound you might not expect to hear in a nation being torn up by violence.

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Later today, the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on sending thousands more peacekeeping troops to South Sudan. This is a country that the United States helped form in 2011.

And now a power struggle between the president and his former vice president has spiraled into violence along tribal lines. Hundreds of people have died and tens of thousands are displaced.

There have been more political developments in Russia. A jailed member of the protest band Pussy Riot was freed from prison on Monday. Another band member is expected to be released soon. Over the weekend, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was freed from prison.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Here's a way to look at the year 2013 for President Barack Obama: He began the year with two-thirds of Americas saying they approved of the job he was doing. He's ending the year with that number around 40 percent.

He began fresh off a hard-fought electoral victory, going into his second term with a pretty ambitious agenda. He's ending the year with many of his priorities stalled.

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Many observers say increasing partisanship in America is the result of gerrymandered districts, which allow partisan voters to determine candidates for Congress. A new analysis tests this theory.

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Yesterday, Ukraine got a big holiday present from its neighbor, Russia, in the form of a multi-billion dollar bailout. And now everyone is trying to figure out what strings Russia attached, and whether this could be a sign that Ukraine, a country of some 45 million people, is aligning itself more closely with the East than the West.

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This weekend, China landed a probe on the surface of the moon. This is the first soft-landing on the moon's surface in nearly 40 years, and it's a major step forward for China's space program.

Joining us to discuss these developments, NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel. Hey, Geoff.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Hi, there.

GREENE: So what did China actually pull off here?

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There's another milestone today in the long effort to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. The international overseeing the effort is unveiling more details of its plan and this is all a bit complicated. The first stage could be the hardest - moving the chemicals overland in the middle of a civil war to a Syrian port.

The National Security Agency is challenging those who want to overhaul its surveillance operations. A special panel has sent a report to the White House on how NSA programs should be changed. The group was established by the president following revelations about NSA eavesdropping.

[LATE-BREAKING CORRECTION: We misunderstood where the 24 hours of Elf was being planned. We thought it was USA, but it's actually Starz. Sorry, Starz!]

Thousands of protesters in Ukraine continue to occupy Kiev's Maidan square and to prevent the government from functioning after President Victor Yanukovich refused to allow the country to strengthen trade ties with the European Union. Ukraine is under intense Russian pressure to continue aligning itself with a customs union comprising countries of the former Soviet Union.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene, good morning.

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