NPR News

Bird watchers, and other nature lovers, take note:

"Scientists in Norway say they have conclusive genetic evidence that sparrows recently evolved a third species," the BBC reports. "The Italian sparrow, they argue, is a cross between the ubiquitous house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow."

UBS Ups Estimate On Rogue Trader Loss

Sep 19, 2011

The Swiss bank UBS announced last night that a rogue trader lost more money than it originally announced. UBS said the total loss is $2.3 billion. In a statement, the bank also gave some detail about the alleged actions of Kwaku Adoboli, who was arrested and charged in London on Friday.

President Obama's re-election may all come down to whether voters mainly view the 2012 race seen as a referendum on his presidency or a choice between competing Democratic and Republican prescriptions for how to best address the nation's economic and fiscal challenges.

If it's a referendum, it could well be curtains for his hopes of a second term because the economy is clearly making too many voters unhappy and scared.

President Obama's Blueprint For Slashing Deficit

Sep 19, 2011

On Monday, the president released a plan on how to pay for his $447 billion jobs bill and reduce the nation's deficit. The plan aims to slash $3 trillion from the debt over the next decade, which involves Medicare and Social Security cuts and tax increases for the wealthy. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving about the plan.

White House Senior Advisor Talks Debt

Sep 19, 2011

Valerie Jarrett discusses the viability of President Obama's new debt plan, including cuts to entitlement spending and proposed tax increases to Americans who make more than $1 million. She speaks with host Michel Martin.

Saying that "Washington has to live within its means" and that lawmakers must "cut what we can't afford to pay for what really matters," President Obama just introduced what he says is a plan to cut an additional $3 trillion from budget deficits over the next decade.

And he vowed to veto any legislation that puts all the burden of deficit reduction on those who rely on Medicare and other social programs. "It will not happen on my watch," declared Obama, in making the case that the wealthy and corporations must also be asked to pay more in taxes.

Details Of Obama's Debt Plan

Sep 19, 2011

President Obama recently announced his plan to bring down the federal deficit. For the details, David Greene talks with NPR's Mara Liasson.

(Note at 12:10 p.m. ET: A 10th person has died, according to officials in Washoe County, Nev. We've updated the post to reflect that news.)

As investigators search for clues into the cause of Friday's deadly accident at a Reno air race, in which 10 people were killed and dozens more injured when a plane crashed into a V.I.P. tent, there are reports that some who were there think 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward did his best to prevent an even worse tragedy.

Saying that "I messed up," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced late Sunday evening that after many complaints from its customers about a 60 percent increase in its fees, the company is splitting its services.

Soon, if you just want DVDs-by-mail, you'll be dealing with Qwikster (Hastings says the name "refers to quick delivery).

If you want to stream movies and other content, the company you'll be using will still be called Netflix.

Good morning.

President Obama this morning lays out what his aides say is a plan to reduce projected budget deficits by about $4 trillion over the decade. Earlier, we posted about "Five Things To Know About Obama's Deficit Plan."

Netflix has figured out that people are very upset about its decision to split streaming video and DVD delivery — a decision that got it in huge hot water earlier this year. Customers who had previously gotten both streaming and DVDs for a single price would now have to pay separately. If you only use one or the other, you could pay less, but if you still wanted both, you'd pay more.

While saying there was no violence involved in the May incident at a New York City hotel that led to his arrest on a sexual assault charge, former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has admitted making a "grave moral mistake" during what he says was a consensual encounter with a maid.

"I regret it infinitely," he said.

Watching Sunday night's Emmy Awards was a little bit like going to the very bad wedding of people you really love: the happiness you feel for the people involved almost makes up for how otherwise unremarkable the experience is.

President Obama this morning outlines a deficit-reduction plan that his economists say would reduce anticipated federal budget deficits by about $4 trillion over the next decade.

Israel's most vocal supporters in the U.S. have long complained that the United Nations is a bastion of anti-Israeli sentiment, and this year's General Assembly debate could be worse than ever.

Palestinians are seeking U.N. membership as a state even though there's no peace deal with Israel. Israel is also under diplomatic pressure from regional powers Turkey and Egypt.

Gabriela Shalev was Israel's ambassador to the United Nations until last year, and as world leaders start gathering for this high-level General Assembly debate, she's sounding quite nervous.

It's a critical period for Greece: It has to convince international lenders that it can slash its budget deficit before getting a vital $11 billion installment of last year's $150 billion bailout deal.

Prime Minister George Papandreou canceled a trip to the U.S. to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting Sunday on finding more cuts to plug this year's budget shortfall. Greece has blamed the shortfall on a deeper-than-expected recession — the unintended effect of a year and a half of draconian austerity measures.

The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."

Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.

Political experts are keeping a close eye on Texas because it will pick up four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives next year, thanks to a soaring Latino population. But civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department are signaling they may have some concerns about the redistricting process in Texas and whether it could put Latino voters at a disadvantage.

European governments seem to be having a hard time deciding whether to come together or drift apart at a time of economic uncertainty.

Years from now, historians will no doubt say this was a crisis waiting to happen. The people who came up with the idea of a eurozone stopped halfway. The participating countries would use a common currency, but they wouldn't have common tax and spending policies — a monetary union but not a fiscal union.

The Ups And Downs Of A Tech Startup Rollercoaster

Sep 19, 2011

Bluebox Now is an aspiring, young startup that aims to revolutionize how companies market to their customers. Like entrepreneurs everywhere, the trio who founded the firm dream of making it big.

Now, they're trying to perfect their product, garner customers, bring in revenue and — they hope — profits.

Earlier this year, the founders of Bluebox Now, all in their 30s and 40s, were faced with a choice. The company they were working for was bought out, and they had to decide what to do next.

Man's Call To America: Turn Off That Air Conditioner

Sep 19, 2011

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.

Parents used to think that once their kids were out of elementary school, they were done with vaccines. But the rules are changing.

In California, middle schoolers and high schoolers now have to prove that they're immunized against pertussis, or whooping cough, in order to attend school. It's one of dozens of states that have recently passed laws requiring vaccines for teens and tweens.

American Presidents On Palestine

Sep 18, 2011

In 1948, President Truman endorsed the creation of an Israeli state. Nearly three decades later, before finalizing the Camp David accords, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to call for the creation of a Palestinian "homeland." Presidents have put their own spins on that effort ever since. Here's a sampling:

March 16, 1977 — Carter, at a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, said that after Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, "There has to be a homeland provided for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."

AMC's Mad Men is one of the big favorites at Sunday night's Emmy Awards — and this past season's most memorable character may have been Don Draper's new secretary, Miss Ida Blankenship.

Played by Randee Heller, Miss Blankenship was a departure from the attractive, attentive young girls that usually wait on Draper. She stole every scene she was in, even in death. Her passing was both shocking and comical and became one of the most talked-about moments of the TV season.

Former President Jimmy Carter urges the United States to not veto the Security Council vote for Palestinian statehood anticipated to take place next week.

"If I were president, I'd be very glad to see the Palestinians have a nation recognized by the United Nations," Carter tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "There's no downside to it."

Carter admits that for President Obama, failure to veto "would have some adverse effects perhaps on his political future."

And Then There Were 8? Big 12 In Jeopardy

Sep 18, 2011

The Big 12, an athletic conference composed of 10 colleges from the Central U.S., may soon need to rebrand itself as the Big 8. The possible departure of two of its members — Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma — may destabilize not only the Big 12, but also the college football landscape.

The News Tip: Don't Get Distracted In Debates

Sep 18, 2011

The Republican presidential hopefuls will meet in Orlando on Thursday for their next debate. It's an additional opportunity for the candidates to try to set themselves apart in a crowded field. It's also a chance to take stock of the debate moderators.

NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has this tip for the moderators: Don't get distracted.

He tells Weekend Edition host Audie Cornish that the "theatricality" of some debates can make people forget their purpose.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly this Friday, and take his statehood bid directly to the Security Council.

Maen Rashid Areikat is the Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative to the United States. He's part of the delegation that will introduce the bid at the U.N. this week. He explained the Palestinians' approach.

Israel Braces For Palestinian Statehood Bid

Sep 18, 2011

Israel and the United States strongly object to the Palestinian effort to seek UN membership. Host Audie Cornish talks about the possible repercussions of the Palestinians' statehood bid with Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

An old Beatles performance contract set to be auctioned gives some new insight into the values of the Fab Four early in their career. The document is for a 1965 concert and states that the group "not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience." Host Audie Cornish has more.

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