The two most powerful entities in the housing market — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — could be on the verge of a significant change regarding foreclosures. NPR and ProPublica have learned that both firms have concluded that giving homeowners a big break on their mortgages would make good financial sense in many cases.
Thousands of people are expect to descend on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to celebrate not believing in God. It's being called a sort of "Woodstock for Atheists," a chance for atheists to show their power in numbers and change their image.
The "Reason Rally" could attract up to 30,000 people; organizer David Silverman says it marks a coming-of-age for nonbelievers.
"We'll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light," Silverman says.
And now, let's get down to the campaign trail. In the race for the Republican nomination, the scene has shifted to Louisiana which is holding its primary tomorrow. Today, all four of the remaining GOP candidates are campaigning in the state.
Most of the media focus is on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Both men have won other southern primaries, and both have been in and out of Louisiana all week long, hoping a victory there will keep their slim chances of winning the GOP nomination alive. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
As many of you know, prices at the gas pump are still rising. That can often spell trouble, politically, for a sitting president. And President Obama has spent much of this week touting different kinds of energy as the solution to price spikes. Out on the road, Mr. Obama has promoted a mix of fossil fuels, alternative energy and greater fuel efficiency. Along with solar and wind power, Mr. Obama says brain power can help to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.
Let's go now to Florida, where late yesterday Governor Rick Scott announced that a new state attorney has been assigned to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The announcement came as thousands rallied in Sanford demanding justice for Martin. The teen was shot as he walked unarmed in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. The shooter, George Zimmerman, is a volunteer neighborhood watch captain and he claims self-defense. He's also not been arrested. As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, the cry is growing louder for an arrest to be made.
Now, even if the shooter, George Zimmerman, is arrested for the death of Trayvon Martin, a conviction could be hard to get because of the controversial law that Kathy mentioned in her report. Let's take a closer look at that law. It's called Stand Your Ground and it allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves when confronted with a threat of violence. It's been on the books in Florida for several years. And as NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, it was a source of controversy long before the Martin shooting.
North Korea agreed, last month, to freeze uranium enrichment and missile tests in exchange for large amounts of food aid from the United States. American officials thought they had an understanding, but then last week North Korea announced it would be launching a satellite using a long-range missile. As NPR's Mike Shuster reports from Seoul, all this is now threatening to overshadow next week's global nuclear security summit in Seoul, which President Obama is planning to attend.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Good morning.
Mohamed Mehra, the self-confessed gunman who terrorized the French city of Toulouse, was killed yesterday in a shootout with French police. Authorities had hoped to bring him in alive, to find out what drove him to commit the attacks that left seven dead, including three children at a Jewish school. Now, France is left to wonder whether its intelligence services missed signs that could've prevented the tragedy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.
Thousands of Portuguese workers walked off the job yesterday. They were protesting austerity measures tied to the country's $100 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Let's go to Lisbon now. Lauren Frayer reports that among protesters a sense of despair and confusion are more prevalent than anger.
Pope Benedict XVI begins a visit Friday that takes him to Mexico, a country with around 100 million Catholics, and to Cuba, a place where church leaders have played an increasingly active role in seeking change.
There are sensitive issues in both countries that the pope is likely to address in some form. In Mexico, it's the brutal drug war that has claimed roughly 50,000 lives over the past five years.
On Friday's Morning Edition, Elizabeth Blair investigates one of television's pressing questions: Why has Mad Men been off the air so long? It's returning this Sunday night with a two-hour season premiere, but it's still puzzled some viewers that it has been off for such a long time.
Winslow Jackson was divorced when he met Dorothy Biebrich in 2006 at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
She was widowed.
They also both had multiple sclerosis.
"On my birthday, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; three years later, my wife left, and we were divorced," Winslow, 62, said during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Atlanta. "And that was, undoubtedly, the saddest time of my life, because I felt so stranded."
Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:00 pm
Thursday marked the first time President Obama has visited Oklahoma since running for the White House in 2008. He didn't win the state four years ago, and he's not expected to carry the traditionally red state this November, either.
But one Oklahoma town took center stage Thursday as Obama wrapped up a two-day tour of four states promoting his energy policy.
Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:14 pm
Why do economists keep getting it wrong?
For months, the job market's strength has been exceeding economists' predictions. It happened again today: the Labor Department's weekly report on first-time jobless claims came in at just 348,000 — the lowest level in four years.
Most economists had predicted about 355,000 people had applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17. So why do they keep missing the mark?
The only Canadian on death row in the United States is in the Montana State Prison, about an hour and a half southeast of Missoula. After almost three decades, he is asking the governor of Montana for mercy. The request for clemency is the last chance Alberta native Ronald Allen Smith has of avoiding execution.
"I've been here for 29 years," says Smith, who has spent more of his life inside the state's maximum security block than he has spent outside of it. He has tried to think about his crime as little as possible.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health care overhaul law that President Obama championed and Republicans rejected — turns two on Friday.
The law is headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, where the Justices begin hearing three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the law. Ahead of the big day, we asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's a sampling of questions, edited for clarity and length, and the answers.
Hungry for a good dystopia? Well, as you may be gathering from reports of the millions of tickets sold before prints were even shipped to theaters, author Suzanne Collins has a feast for you in the first movie installment of her young-adult trilogy The Hunger Games.
As the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of his signature domestic policy achievement next week, President Obama will be keeping his distance from the events in Washington.
A coincidence of timing puts the president in South Korea for a global nuclear security summit on Monday and Tuesday, as the Supreme Court holds the first two of its three days of historic oral arguments on the new national health care law.
As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments about President Obama's health care law, supporters and opponents are planning a flurry of rallies, press conferences and phone banks to remind people why the law is so great — or so terrible. Republicans have been energized by their desire to see the law repealed, but the issue could be more complicated for the GOP than it seems.
The Senate passed a bill Thursday to explicitly ban insider trading by members of Congress and the executive branch, and that means the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is headed to the president's desk.
But this STOCK Act is quite a bit weaker than earlier versions.
The STOCK Act has been on a glide path ever since an explosive 60 Minutes story last fall highlighted the issue of members of Congress apparently profiting on nonpublic information.
NPR's Kathy Lohr Reports On "All Things Considered"
Saying his role as police chief has "become a distraction," Bill Lee Jr. announced he was stepping down temporarily.
The Sanford, Fla. police chief has been under fire for the way he has handled the investigation surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Martin, who was unarmed, was shot by a a 28-year-old man, George Zimmerman, who claimed self defense.
During a news conference, today, Lee said that he stands by his police department, its personnel and the investigation that was conducted, but he was stepping down to "restore a semblance of calm to the city."