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As the BBC puts it, Greece felt like two different places today: On the one had you had an "amicable and symbolic" state visit by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and on the other hand, you had tens of thousands of protesters gathered across Athens who weren't too happy to see her.

Madhulika Sikka, who has been Morning Edition's executive producer since joining NPR six years ago, will become the organization's executive editor in January.

In announcing the promotion this morning, NPR Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith lauded Sikka's work at Morning Edition, saying she "brought real vision" to the show and that it has "evolved into a more interesting and relevant program" under her leadership.

Saying that the global economic recovery "has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook," the International Monetary Fund today warned that the probability of "recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies" next year have gone up.

The fund said its research indicates the risk of those things occurring in 2013 "has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012."

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States for their work on the "fundamental interactions between light particles and matter."

"The Nobel laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this morning to a British and a Japanese researcher who discovered that mature and specialized cells "can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body," according to the Nobel committee.

This year's honorees are John B. Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England, and Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University in Japan. They will share the prize, worth about $1.2 million.

It is not often that a United Nations official gets the crowds roaring. But a Norwegian comedy duo managed to get concert goers cheering for Jan Egeland in this video posted on YouTube, describing Egeland as "a United Nations superhero man" and "a peacekeeping machine":

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

The shooting death of a Border Patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border may have been the result of friendly fire. The FBI said a preliminary investigation indicates the death of one agent and the injury of another "were the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents."

NPR's Ted Robbins tells our Newscast unit the FBI was investigating the possibility of friendly fire and that today Homeland Security Janet Napolitano flew to Arizona to review the case and meet with the dead agent's family.

He filed this report from Bisbee, Ariz.:

U.S. Speedskating apologized today, after one of its athletes admitted that he tampered with the skates of a competitor.

"I speak for everyone at U.S. Speedskating — our staff, athletes and Board of Directors — when I say that we are shocked and disappointed by Simon [Cho's] actions," Tamara Castellano, marketing director of U.S. Speedskating, said in a prepared statement. "We would like to apologize to Speedskate Canada and Olivier Jean, as well as all of the Canadian athletes who competed in Warsaw, for the actions of our athlete."

The parents of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide soon after he found out his roommate had used a webcam to spy on him kissing another man, have decided not to sue anyone involved in the case.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports:

Turkey fired across its border into Syria again today in retaliation for a mortar shell that landed inside its borders.

The AP reports:

"The Anadolu Agency quoted the governor for Hatay province as saying that Turkish troops 'responded with fire' after the mortar round landed in a rural area of the province that borders Syria. No one was reported hurt.

Gas prices spiked overnight Thursday by as much as 20 cents per gallon in parts of California, causing some stations to close and shocking many customers.

According to The Associated Press, the average price of regular gas across the state was nearly $4.49 a gallon. In other parts of the country, gas prices have fallen. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $3.49 a gallon.

A lawsuit against the University of Tennessee and its athletic director has revealed that earlier this year legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt felt that the school official was trying to force her to step down from her job.

That stands in contrast to statements Summitt made last spring. The coach, who is dealing with early-onset dementia, said then that it was her decision to become "head coach emeritus."

Summitt also says in an affidavit, however, that her feelings might have been due to a misunderstanding.

Ryan Andresen spent 12 years as a Boy Scout. Now that he's 17 and about to graduate from high school, he completed the final requirement to receive the Eagle Scout award, which signifies the highest rank in the organization.

Except, according to his mother, Karen, when he submitted the paperwork, the scoutmaster for Troop 212 in the San Francisco Bay Area told him he could not give him the Eagle Scout honor because Andresen is gay.

"After a legal battle covering several years in each case, five suspected terrorists, including radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri will be extradited to the U.S, U.K. judges have ruled." And, the BBC adds, Britain's Home Office "said it welcomed the High Court's decision. 'We are now working to extradite these men as quickly as possible,' a spokesman said."

The news that the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August immediately led some of President Obama's critics to charge the the books had been cooked to help his reelection campaign.

Coyotes In The City: Could Urban Bears Be Next?

Oct 5, 2012

Meet the new urbanites: They have long, furry muzzles, piercing, yellow eyes and are very, very wily.

They're coyotes.

Until recently, scientists who study wildlife thought coyotes couldn't live in heavily populated areas. Wild carnivorous animals and humans don't typically mix.

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August even though just 114,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Those hard-to-reconcile figures — a decline in the jobless rate even though job growth was relatively weak — appear to be at least partly explained by a sharp increase in the number of Americans who found part-time jobs and counted themselves as employed.

Why were their bees producing honey in shades of blue and green, wondered beekeepers in the Alsace region of France?

The answer, according to France 24 and Le Monde, was that the bees apparently like M&M's.

Three weeks after the attack on the U.S. consulate that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, a team of FBI investigators got to the site in Benghazi, Libya, on Wednesday and departed today after about 12 hours on the ground, The Associated Press reports.

This headline at Global Post is an eye-opener:

"Philippines: Click 'like,' go to prison. Cybercrime law threatens 12 years behind bars for 'liking' or re-Tweeting libel."

Once again, our friends at Weekend Edition want to put your questions to NPR reporters. Last time the subject was foreign policy, but this weekend they're looking for election-related questions from you:

"As we approach Election Day, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates. This week, we want to hear your questions about the presidential candidates' positions on taxes and housing policy.

The National Hockey League today officially canceled games scheduled through Oct. 24 as players and management remain at odds over a new contract.

We like hockey. We suspect some of you do too. But we have to wonder whether missing some of what's become a very long regular season will matter all that much to most fans.

With the first presidential debate now behind us, what's the next big item on the campaign calendar?

It's Friday's 8:30 a.m. ET release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the September unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to payrolls last month.

Google, Publishers Reach Deal On Book Scanning

Oct 4, 2012

Google and a group of book publishers have settled a seven-year-old dispute that would allow the search giant to continue in its quest to digitize all the world's books.

This is only a step in that direction because Google still has an outstanding lawsuit with authors.

The New York Times explains:

This blogger had a fit last year about Canada's Rush still not being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Appliance maker KitchenAid quickly deleted and apologized for a message that went out on its Twitter account during last night's presidential debate because the comment about President Obama and his grandmother was so offensive.

The comment writer — who has not been identified — picked up on the president's mention of his grandmother and tweeted that:

"Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president'."

High profile labor disputes aren't just for professional sports. While the NHL and the hockey players try talking/not talking and the NFL refs are (thankfully) back after their successful contract agreement, some major orchestras are hoping for breakthroughs.

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