Renee Montagne

Renee Montagne is co-host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the U.S. She has hosted the newsmagazine since 2004, broadcasting from NPR West in Culver City, California, with co-host Steve Inskeep in NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Montagne is a familiar voice on NPR, having reported and hosted since the mid-1980s. She hosted All Things Considered with Robert Siegel for two years in the late 1980s, and previously worked for NPR's Science, National and Foreign desks.

Montagne traveled to Greenwich, England, in May 2007 to kick off the yearlong series, "Climate Connections," in which NPR partnered with National Geographic to chronicle how people are changing the Earth's climate and how the climate is impacting people. From the prime meridian, she laid out the journey that would take listeners to Africa, New Orleans and the Antarctic.

Since 9/11, Montagne has gone to Afghanistan nine times, travelling throughout the country to speak to Afghans about their lives. She's interviewed farmers and mullahs, poll workers and President Karzai, infamous warlords turned politicians and women fighting for their rights. She has produced several series, beginning in 2002 with 'Recreating Afghanistan" and most recently, in 2013, asking a new generation of Afghans — born into the long war set off by the Soviet invasion — how they see their country's future.

In the spring of 2005, Montagne took Morning Edition to Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul ll. She co-anchored from Vatican City during a historic week when millions of pilgrims and virtually every world leader descended on the Vatican.

In 1990, Montagne traveled to South Africa to cover Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and continued to report from South Africa for three years. In 1994, she and a team of NPR reporters won a prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of South Africa's historic presidential and parliamentary elections.

Through most of the 1980s, Montagne was based in New York, working as an independent producer and reporter for both NPR and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter/editor for Pacific News Service in San Francisco. She began her career as news director of the city's community radio station, KPOO, while still at university.

In addition to the duPont Columbia Award, Montagne has been honored by the Overseas Press Club for her coverage of Afghanistan, and by the National Association of Black Journalists for a series on Black musicians going to war in the 20th century.

Montagne graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, as a Phi Beta Kappa. Her career includes serving as a fellow at the University of Southern California with the National Arts Journalism Program, and teaching broadcast writing at New York University's Graduate Department of Journalism.

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New York City ushered in the New Year last night with its famous crystal ball, and also the swearing in of a new mayor. Just after midnight, Bill de Blasio was sworn into office in a private ceremony in the yard of his row house in Brooklyn. He's the first Democratic mayor in 20 years. His vision of the city could hardly be more different than that of his predecessor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who presided over what many will remember as a kind of gilded age.

The House passes the House-Senate budget compromise after Speaker John Boehner criticizes conservative groups — and implicitly their allies in Congress — for their opposition. Next stop: the Senate.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. We're looking this morning at two stories of international intrigue. First to North Korea. Until recently, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un was the country's second-in-command. Earlier this week, though, he was detained on national television, hustled out of a meeting by guards.

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In South Africa this morning, a song-filled memorial for Nelson Mandela. Here, the National Anthem.

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It's more than likely that overhauling immigration will not happen this year. Congress has only nine working days left in 2013. And it appears, the issue will not be resolved next year either.

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Goldman Sachs has given hundreds of millions of dollars to charity in recent years. In part, its effort to do good has been shaped by the battering its reputation took during the financial meltdown in 2008 when Goldman traders were accused of misleading investors.

The efforts of companies to look good in the public eye may seem positive but there is also a disturbing side of doing good work, as NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam tells our own Steve Inskeep.

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Hi, Shankar.

Negotiators from Iran and six world powers are back in Geneva for another round of talks on Tehran's nuclear program. There are signals that a preliminary deal over the future of Iran's nuclear program may finally be within in reach.

The Justice Department is said to be announcing on Tuesday a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. The deal centers on mortgage securities issued in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Reruns used to mean watching the same network episodes over again, say during the summer. Years later, viewers could catch a favorite show on cable. These days, reruns are tucked in just before prime-time lineups. And now binge viewers can catch them online with services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Reruns used to mean watching the same network episodes over again, say during the summer. Years later, viewers could catch a favorite show on cable. These days, reruns are tucked in just before prime-time lineups. And now binge viewers can catch them online with services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Employers added 204,000 jobs to payrolls in October. The jobless rate edged up a bit, but that was likely a temporary phenomenon caused by the partial shutdown of the federal government. For more, Renee Montagne talks with NPR's John Ydstie.

Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

China is the biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt — totaling more than $1.3 trillion. Chinese media are using the American budget struggle as an implicit justification for China's system.

In Italy, protests and clashes erupted Tuesday as a Catholic splinter group prepared to celebrate the funeral of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke — on the eve of the 70thanniversary of the Nazi roundup of Roman Jews.

Police in riot gear tried to keep groups of ultra-right-wing sympathizers away from citizens enraged over a religious ritual for the man associated with one of the most gruesome Nazi massacres of World War II.

Ultimately, the funeral was suspended.

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Ever since then-President Mohamed Morsi was forced out of office by Egypt's military, the Obama administration has struggled with how to handle the massive amount of U.S. aid that goes to Egypt and goes mainly to its military. This week the Obama administration made a decision. It is suspending a significant amount of the annual $1.5 billion in aid.

Britain's Peter Higgs and Belgium's Francois Englert won the prize for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson. That's the particle key to explaining why elementary matter has mass. The two will share the $1.25 million prize.

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And with some perspective on why the two sides are so dug in, and what options Speaker Boehner and President Obama may be weighing, we turn as we do most Mondays to Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi. How are you, Renee?

MONTAGNE: And Cokie, given what Tamara just reported, that a small but very key group of Republicans are unlikely to go along with a possible solution to the next crisis that's looming - that's a possible default on the national debt - what does Speaker Boehner do?

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Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis has stunned the Catholic world. In a long and blunt interview, the pope said that the Catholic Church should not be - as he put it - obsessed with abortion, contraception and gay marriage. The interview appeared yesterday in Jesuit journals across the world. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome. And Sylvia, do the pope's comments change church policies on issues of sexual morality?

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There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.

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.

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A judge in New Delhi has just delivered his guilty verdict for four men who raped and murdered a young woman on a city bus back in December. It was one of the most high profile cases in Indian history. The horrific crime stirred a national debate over the country's lax prosecution of crimes against women and became an international issue as well. We talk to NPR's Julie McCarthy who was at the courthouse. Good morning.

JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

Nokia was once the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, the most valuable company in Europe and an icon in its home base of Finland. But the rise of Apple and Android smartphones knocked the company on its heels.

Now comes news that Microsoft is buying Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.2 billion. NPR's Steve Henn answers some questions about the deal.

So what is Microsoft getting here?

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to get backing from Parliament Thursday – approving a possible military intervention. Instead, he's been forced to back down. The Labour Party announced it would vote against military action in Syria.

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Syria shares a border with Israel and the two countries have never signed a peace agreement after fighting a war 40 years ago. Still, their border has been stable and the Israeli view of U.S. military action against Syria is complicated and centered largely on another regional player, Iran. To learn more, we turn to NPR's Emily Harris in Jerusalem. Good morning.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So does there seem to be any consensus in Israel about what it would like to see the U.S. do?

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The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant is back in the news more than two years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a series of meltdowns. New leaks found this week prompted regulators to consider raising the alert level there in Japan. NPR's science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel joined us to explain. Geoff, good morning.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Why raise the alert level?

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There are alarming reports from Syria this morning of a chemical weapons attack near the capital. Syrian opposition activists say government forces have killed hundreds of people in air raids and shelling on rebel neighborhoods close to Damascus and a sizeable number of people, they claim, have died from poison gas. Those claims have not been confirmed and the Syrian government has strongly denied the accusations.

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A UPS cargo plane crashed near the airport in Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday morning. The pilot and co-pilot were both killed.

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