National

Business
7:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

High Stakes For Banks As Volcker Rule Is Finalized

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News, I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Federal regulators have unveiled the final version of what has come to be called the Volcker Rule. It's a big part of the financial reform that went into affect three years ago. It's taken all those years to come up with the language that will set new limits on the kinds of trading that banks can do and cannot do. NPR's Jim Zarolli joins us now to talk about this. Hi Jim.

JIM ZAROLLI, BYLINE: Hi.

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National Security
7:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Surveillance Revelations Give Creative Writers Pause

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For much of this year we've been hearing headlines effectively saying the government is spying on you. Spy agencies like the National Security Agency gather and store phone records, vacuum up emails by the billions, listen in on foreign leaders' telephone conversations and more. Now a nonprofit writers group, the PEN American Center, is exploring whether the fear of surveillance is affecting creative expression.

It's a question our colleague, David Greene, wanted to explore.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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U.S.
6:09 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Leaked Documents Show Government Spying On Fantasy Games

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Spying on Your Second Life.

We already know our personal lives aren't safe from NSA surveillance. Turns out, neither are our virtual lives.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A new leak from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveals that intelligence agencies spied on popular online fantasy games like "Second Life" and "World of Warcraft."

An NSA analyst writes, quote, "These games offer realistic weapons training." Like, say, how to cleave an orc with an ax.

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U.S.
5:12 am
Tue December 10, 2013

For Veterans, 'Bad Paper' Is A Catch-22 For Treatment

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 11:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In many ways, military veterans hold a privileged place in American society, but not all vets have access to what goes along with that privilege. In the past decade of war, more than 100,000 men and women left the military with less than honorable discharges, many due to bad conduct related to post traumatic stress disorder. Once they're kicked out of the military, they lose access to benefits like treatment for PTSD.

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The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Congress Renews Ban On X-Ray-Evading Plastic Guns

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Bill Nelson of Florida talk to reporters about their effort to renew the ban on plastic firearms, at the Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:56 pm

Congress voted to renew a ban on plastic firearms that can skirt airport detectors, but Republican lawmakers blocked efforts to tighten the restrictions.

The Senate approved the measure by a voice vote hours before it would have expired at midnight. The House voted last week to renew the ban.

As The Associated Press reports:

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It's All Politics
6:45 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Ethics Panel Hands Down Holiday Gift Rules — In Rhyme

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is lit against the early morning sky on Dec. 4.
J. David Ake AP

Time was when business-suited Santas would spend December roaming the corridors of Congress, bestowing all sorts of goodies upon their elected friends, prospective friends and staffers: baskets of food, bottles of booze, even high-priced tickets to sports events.

That last item is the kind of thing that sent uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. It also brought the House of Representatives a new set of ethics rules — stern and often complex limits on accepting gifts.

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Around the Nation
6:17 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Illegal Wreath 'Tippers' Look For Some Under-The-Table Green

The tips of balsam fir trees are used to make Christmas wreaths.
USDA

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

That wreath on your front door could contain stolen goods.

The tips of fir trees used to make wreaths are collected by "tippers" and attract high prices — as well as poachers, who cut limbs and even whole trees on private land.

The Christmas greens industry is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. But like other cottage industries, no one's really counting. Anyone with a desire to make some money can take part — on or under the table. And that's become a problem for some woodlot owners trying to protect their trees.

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Law
6:15 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

L.A. Sheriff's Deputies Indicted On Corruption, Civil Rights Abuses

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Los Angeles today, federal prosecutors announced charges of corruption and civil rights abuses inside the nation's largest jail system. The indictments came against 18 current and former deputies of the LA Sheriff's Department. NPR's Kirk Siegler has details from outside the federal building in downtown Los Angeles.

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It's All Politics
6:09 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Senate GOP Could Taste Sweet Revenge In Supreme Court Case

Miguel Estrada, whose 2002 nomination to a federal judgeship was filibustered by Senate Democrats, will represent Senate Republicans in their recess appointments case against President Obama.
Kiichiro Sato AP

If revenge is a dish best served cold, in Washington it can also be served with a heaping side of irony.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to Sen. Mitch McConnell's request to let Senate Republicans participate in the high-profile case Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board.

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The Two-Way
5:59 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Government Sells Last Shares In GM, Loses $10 Billion

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks to the media after a June 2013 GM shareholders meeting in Detroit. General Motors posted $152 billion in global revenues in 2012.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Critics of the federal auto bailout will no longer be able to refer derisively to GM as "Government Motors" — on Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the U.S. government has sold its remaining shares in the carmaker.

"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," Lew said, announcing the sale.

The net? Taxpayers lost $10.7 billion on the deal.

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