Latest News from NPR

Markets Plunge On Fears Of Global Economic Downturn

Sep 22, 2011

At one point in trading today, the Dow Jones was down close to 500 points or about 4 percent. The U.S. markets followed the earlier global slide as investors grappled with a gloomy forecast from the Federal Reserve and fears of a global economic downturn.

A theory that a virus is the culprit for the mysterious chronic fatigue syndrome has just suffered another serious blow. But some patient advocates are standing by it, saying more research is needed.

The AP is reporting results from a group of Italian researchers using equipment from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that claims they've measured particles traveling at a speed greater than the speed of light.

Nature reports:

Stocks Close Sharply Down Amid Recession Fears

Sep 22, 2011

Stocks closed sharply lower Thursday after investors sold stocks with abandon, convinced that the U.S. and the world are headed for a new recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 527 points, the second consecutive rout since the Federal Reserve announced a change in strategy for fighting the economic slowdown.

At the close of trading, the Dow was down 391.01 points, or 3.5 percent, at 10,733.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 37.18, or 3.2 percent, to 1,129.58. The Nasdaq composite fell 82.52, or 3.3 percent, to 2,455.67.

In an interview with All Things Considered's Michele Norris, the United States' ambassador to the United Nations said the U.S. supports an independent Palestinian state, but trying to achieve that by asking the U.N. to recognize Palestine as a state is "unwise and counterproductive."

Ambassador Susan Rice echoed President Obama, saying "there's no shortcut; there's no magic wand," toward Palestinian statehood. She said the only way to reach a solution is for Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

He's a national hero in China, as NPR's Melissa Block learned in 2009.

Zhu Jian Qiang, or "Strong-Willed Pig", survived for 36 days in the rubble of a home in southwest China after the devastating earthquake there in 2008. It's thought he only had water and charcoal to live on.

Since then, the castrated male has gone on to be a featured part of an earthquake museum in Dayi, China. And now, he'll live on — sort of — after he dies.

"Extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers," the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress today, in some of the sharpest words so far about what U.S. officials say is Pakistan's support of terrorist groups.

Those of us who eat beef can thank cattle for turning grass into something tastier. But grass is not always easy to come by, especially in Africa. And without grass, where's the beef?

U.S. military officials have for years talked of links between Pakistan's spy agency and militant groups attacking American targets across the border in Afghanistan.

During a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, the top U.S. military officer said there's proof.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, was blunt. Supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, the militant Haqqani network was responsible for attacks that included the one on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last week, he said.

The corner of 15th and K streets in Washington, D.C., is busy. Buses, trucks, cars and taxis zip by. There are pedestrians and, increasingly, bikes.

Some 57 million adults ride bicycles in the U.S., whether for commuting or exercise or fun. Cities are adding bike lanes with the help of a federal program that gets its money from the highway bill. Some Senate Republicans tried — and ultimately failed — to block funding for that program, which also pays for sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements.

In an effort to curb puppy and kitty mills, the Toronto city council approved a new resolution that restricts the kinds of pets shops can sell. Now, pet shops will only be allowed to sell dogs and cats that come from a shelter, a Humane Society or a registered rescue group.

The National Post reports on the reaction of one of the people behind the law:

Toronto Restricts Sales Of Cats And Dogs

Sep 22, 2011

Toronto's City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban pet shops from selling dogs and cats unless the animals come from shelters or rescue groups.

The move comes after authorities seized more than 500 dogs from a Quebec puppy mill in what could represent the largest case of animal cruelty in Quebec's history.

The animals are now in the care of the Humane Society. Many of them are suffering from skin and respiratory problems. A representative of the society said the operation involved some of the worst conditions she'd ever seen.

American diplomats just walked out of the United Nations General Assembly after hearing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ask what to him is a rhetorical question: who used "the mysterious Sept. 11 incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq?"

Federal regulators are moving closer to implementing new safety standards for table saws. Every year, several thousand Americans cut off their fingers using the tools.

Engineers at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency tasked with ensuring safety standards on a range of consumer products, say almost all of those injuries could be prevented with a better safety brake system.

Currently, such a brake is only available on one brand of table saw, called SawStop, but the vast majority of saws sold today don't have the safety brake.

As of Tuesday night, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention reported that 55 people in 14 states have become infected with one of the strains of Listeria monocytogenes tied to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms' production fields in Granada, Colo.

Two U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Justice Department, yesterday, accusing it of misleading the American public about how a section of the Patriot Act is being implemented.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) take issue with two things agency officials from both the Obama and Bush administrations have said in the past:

'Unauthorized' Book On WikiLeaks' Assange Released

Sep 22, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange found himself on the wrong side of an unauthorized leak of sorts on Thursday when his autobiography was released in Britain without his permission.

British publisher Canongate decided to go ahead and release Julian Assange: The Unauthorized Autobiography because it said Assange received a six-figure advance but then changed his mind and kept the money.

That's one small step for historians ...

We'll stop there and just go to the news:

"An archivist sifting through boxes of former President Bill Clinton's papers and memorabilia from his time as Arkansas governor [has] found a missing moon rock given to the state 35 years ago," the Arkansas News Bureau reports.

Americans Divided On Palestinian Statehood

Sep 22, 2011

The Palestinian president is set to make a bid for statehood on Friday at the U.N., but President Obama said he'll veto the effort. A new Pew study shows some Americans strongly sympathize with Israel while others strongly support a Palestinian state. Michel Martin explores American public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center.

Georgia executed Troy Davis Wednesday night for the shooting death of a police officer, despite widespread opposition to the execution and Davis' innocence plea. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's new book says the Obama White House was a hostile workplace for women. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn confesses to "moral failing." The Beauty Shop women weigh in.

We know a little bit more about the fate of that falling weather satellite, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which is close to its fiery end. NASA now predicts the UARS will plunge into Earth's lower atmosphere "sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time".

If you shopped at a Trader Joe's store this summer, you might have passed activists wielding signs in the shape of plump red tomatoes with slogans like "Trader Joe's Exploits Farmworkers." The Florida-based labor rights group behind these picket lines is demanding that the grocer pay an extra cent per pound to the tomato pickers at the other end of the supply chain.

Why? Because those workers are some of the worst treated and lowest paid farmworkers in the U.S., the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers says.

People with asthma who've been relying on cheap, over-the-counter inhalers to get a soothing blast will have to look elsewhere for relief beginning in 2012.

The Federal Reserve can't seem to win.

Stocks around the world fell sharply Thursday, a day after Chairman Ben Bernanke and his Fed colleagues announced their latest plan to cut already-low interest rates in an effort to boost the economy. Analysts said the Fed's "Operation Twist" was actually a signal that the central bank is still extremely worried about the prospects for recovery.

Earlier this month on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made the case for President Obama's latest jobs plan, saying it "would have a substantial, powerful effect on strengthening the economy." Click here to read and hear his conversation with host Steve Inskeep.

The Pentagon's hunt for an alternative to petroleum has turned a lowly weed and animal fat into something indistinguishable from jet fuel and now the military is trying to kick-start a new bio-fuel industry.

"To flip the line from 'Field of Dreams', if the Navy comes, they will build it," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a recent speech.

There was outrage yesterday over the $16 muffins and $32 snack packs purchased by the Justice Department in recent years.

Today's this is outrageous news:

Diplomats owe the city of New York $17.2 million and owe Washington, D.C., more than $340,000 for unpaid parking tickets, Washington's WTOP-radio reports.

There were 423,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That's down 9,000 from the previous week. But, as The Associated Press says, claims "remain elevated" and at a level that underscores the weakness of the labor market.

The Associated Press says Palestinians remain "undeterred in U.N. statehood bid" despite a U.S. plan to use its Security Council veto to block a move by Palestinian leaders for U.N. membership as a state.

Pages