Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan talks with host Michel Martin about the settlement reached yesterday between federal and state officials and major banks. It was an effort to address unfair banking practices that led to the mortgage crisis. President Obama praised the deal, but critics say the settlement is inadequate.
The nation's big banks are writing death plans — living wills that spell out how, in a future crisis, they could be safely dismantled. The idea is that the death plans will help avoid another government bailout of the banks.
"You're technically writing your own funeral, down to the color of the flowers" says Dolores Atallo.
Reports are popping up on various newssites that, as The Associated Press puts it, "President Barack Obama will announce a plan to accommodate religious employers outraged by a rule that would require them to cover birth control for women free of charge, according to a person familiar with the decision."
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 1:10 pm
There's an old joke around newsrooms: News is something that happens to your editor.
If you'll pardon the self-indulgence, I'm going to take this truism one step further: News is what happened to me.
I was laid low the week before New Year's Day by a mysterious headache and a blazing sore throat. A few days later I lost my voice.
My doctors eventually pinpointed the cause by snaking a small camera down my nose. My left vocal fold (or vocal cord if you prefer) had stopped working. It was essentially paralyzed, other than the occasional twitch.
Rick Santorum surprised the Republican presidential field again this week, chalking up victories against front-runner Mitt Romney in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. Very few pundits would have predicted six months ago that the former Pennsylvania senator would still be a contender this late into the primary season. So what's his secret and can he keep it up?
To get some of those answers, NPR's Steve Inskeep spoke with Santorum strategist John Brabender on Friday's Morning Edition.
"The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.
Roger Kueffer has disagreed with his former girlfriend Julee Lawler since they broke up. They have fought since 2008 over custody of a cat. A Wisconsin judge ruled it's his, and that she gave it as a gift. But as any cat lover knows, one court is not enough. A higher court has now rejected her appeal.
Dots, a women's fashion retailer, donates $118,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Jan. 31. The recent controversy over Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood has highlighted the perils of corporate philanthropy.
From inside the Syrian city of Homs, where activists say several hundred people have been killed by government forces in the past week and troops are preparing for what could be a "ground offensive" in coming days, residents say the "situation could not be more dire," NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
Israeli officials have been speculating out loud about a strike against Iran's nuclear program. Now a Facebook page is pushing for the war to wait — at least long enough to keep from disrupting a May concert by Madonna in Tel Aviv.
President Obama is touting Thursday's mortgage foreclosure settlement with big banks. Nearly two million people could benefit from the landmark settlement between states and big mortgage companies. But many homeowners and former homeowners are not too excited about the deal.
Greek politicians on Thursday agreed on massive cuts to bring their budgets in line with what the European Union has demanded. It's the latest act in a months-long drama to bring down the Greek debt load.
The multi-billion dollar bank mortgage settlement could have some unanticipated consequences for borrowers in trouble. There will likely be an initial surge of foreclosures. Banks, freed from uncertainty over the investigation, will probably pick up the pace of home seizures. But the foreclosure rate will probably fall over the longer term as banks ease the burden on borrowers through principal reductions.
There is political trouble in the Indian Ocean nation of Maldives. President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted earlier this week. Steve Inskeep speaks to Nasheed's long-time acquaintance, novelist Hari Kunzru, to learn more about Nasheed.
NPR's business news starts with social networking profits.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: You can get attention on the Internet. You can even draw a massive crowd in seconds. The question always is how to make money. Investors have been scrutinizing Facebook's plans to go public and trying to figure out the company's prospects.
The company will instead focus on home photo printers, high-speed commercial ink jet presses and software. Other companies may license the Kodak brand for cameras, and some disposables will still be out there.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Activists and human rights groups in Syria contend the government has now killed hundreds of civilians this week alone. It's hard to verify that number, but it is clear that mortars, rockets and tanks continue firing into the city of Homs. That gunfire has served as a week-long punctuation mark on the United Nation's failure to approve a resolution against Syria. NPR's Kelly McEvers is following the situation from Beirut. She joins us once again.
If George Lucas had never created that annoying, slapstick-prone CGI character in The Phantom Menace, history would be different. No amount of "meesa so sorry" can make up for this abomination. And to add insult to injury, Lucas is sending a 3D Jar Jar Binks into theaters on February 10th.
At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
Credit John Rose / NPR
Gene Gregory (left), head of the United Egg Producers lobby, and Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, visit Washington to lobby Congress for a law requiring larger cages for egg-laying chickens.
Credit John Rose / NPR
Pacelle and Gregory have different backgrounds and dietary preferences, but there seems to be genuine respect between them.
In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.
Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.
The conflict between the Catholic Bishops and the White House over contraceptive coverage has American Catholics choosing sides.
Catholics narrowly support the White House position in polls. There are potential political consequences: In presidential elections, Catholics are swing voters. They supported Al Gore in 2000, President George W. Bush in '04 and President Obama in '08.
The GOP presidential hopefuls are certainly using this issue. Framing it as a question of religious freedom is a guaranteed way to fire up the conservative base.