Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:39 pm
By a nearly unanimous vote this morning the House passed the STOCK Act, which as NPR's Tamara Keith has reported, "would, among other things, explicitly ban insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs."
The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 1:32 pm
The protests that led to the Egyptian revolution last year were organized in part by an anonymous Facebook page administrator. When the police found out who he was, they arrested and interrogated him. After his release, Wael Ghonim became the public face of the Egyptian revolution.
Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 11:58 am
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Historian Noah Andre Trudeau is known for uncovering secrets of the Civil War. His previous books, Bloody Roads South and Gettysburg, have unveiled information about Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's march to the sea in 1864, and the legacy of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Now, in preparation for a book about a largely unexamined period of President Abraham Lincoln's life, Trudeau is in search of witnesses.
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 12:19 pm
The flashy Denzel Washington thriller Safe House will probably gross in a few hours what Steven Soderbergh's Haywire has made in several weeks, but if you like action you ought to catch both back to back. Soderbergh's film is a reaction to the jangled, high-impact style of Safe House and its ilk.
Young conservatives are bringing new energy to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a panel called, "Why Am I Living in My Parent's Basement?" Host Michel Martin talks with two young people attending, about how they hope to bring under-30 voters to their side of the aisle.
It's been nearly one year since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and the country is still experiencing the growing pains of transition. Last year, host Michel Martin spoke with a young protester minutes after Mubarak's resignation. Now, Martin catches up with her again to see if she's still optimistic about changes in her country.
The House on Thursday passed a bill that would ban congressional insider trading. The STOCK Act passed overwhelmingly, 417-2, despite some partisan disagreements over its scope.
With congressional approval at all-time lows, the bill was widely seen by lawmakers as a small step in restoring public confidence. But differences remain to be worked out with a Senate measure, passed last week, before a bill could be sent to President Obama.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:48 am
It might seem like the equivalent of trying to bail the ocean with a bucket but we now have another major race, the U.S. Senate race in Montana, in which the idea of a self-imposed truce by the candidates on superPAC money in the race has come up.
Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, sent a letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican who seeks to unseat him, requesting a truce on outside money funding negative ads for their campaigns, meaning superPACs.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:43 pm
NPR's Tom Bowman reports
The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.
As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.
The World Health Organization has just one week left to prepare for a highly anticipated meeting on controversial bird flu research. One official says that 22 invitations have gone out and the WHO is still waiting to hear back from some of the invitees.
Recent experiments involving the H5N1 bird flu virus have caused a furor in the science community, and the WHO was urged to convene an international discussion.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 9:38 am
After a surprise sweep of Tuesday's three election contests by Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney headed to Georgia on Wednesday for a fundraiser and rally in Atlanta.
As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports on Morning Edition, heading to Georgia — Newt Gingrich country — was "a bold move" for Romney. "Before a packed crowd at a local tile and flooring company, Romney talked about creating jobs and reducing government spending — and he also took aim at his GOP opponents," Lohr reports.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:46 pm
"After negotiating through the night," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, states attorneys general, federal officials and five major banks have agreed on a plan that will provide about $26 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners who got crushed when the housing bubble burst.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:23 am
"Syrian forces fired mortars and rockets Thursday in the rebellious city of Homs, the latest salvo in a weeklong assault that has killed hundreds as President Bashar Assad's regime tries to crush increasingly militarized pockets of dissent," The Associated Press reports.
Relying on reports from activists and residents in Homs, the AP and other news outlets say it appears that a brutal crackdown continues.
Following up on a plan he unveiled last September to let states apply to be exempt from basic elements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, President Obama will today announce the first 10 states that have qualified for such exemptions.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:27 am
Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has put it at odds with other countries in the Arab world.
Russia drew a lot of flack from Arab countries and the West when it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters. That has some analysts in Russia doubting whether the Kremlin really has a cogent strategy for the Middle East.
The dilemma for Russia policy in the Arab world can be illustrated by two very different events that took place this week.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:25 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The big Swiss bank UBS awarded some of its investment bankers millions of dollars in bonuses for their work last year. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, it's taking some of that money back.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Or clawing it back. That's our last word in business today. Claw back provisions implemented after the financial crisis allow banks to recover bonuses from employees. A trading scandal last year cost UBS more than $2 billion and pushed it into the red.
And that settlement is, of course, a priority for President Obama. But so is the debt crisis in Europe. Today, he hosts Italy's new prime minister, the technocrat who succeeded the controversial-but-flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi last fall. Mario Monti has not yet turned around Italy's economy, but as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, he's changed the government's image abroad.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:33 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Rick Santorum headed in a different direction after his wins on Tuesday.
Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn in Dallas.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: North Texas was a good choice for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to keep his campaign's momentum going. He met with evangelical pastors in the morning, Tea Partiers in the afternoon and a Republican women's group at night.
(SOUNDBITE OF MEETING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It is our pleasure to introduce to you Rick Santorum. Give him a Texas welcome.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:28 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We're going to look now at American military strategy for the war in Afghanistan. There's been some confusion lately about whether American forces would end their combat mission sooner than planned and also about how long the U.S. will remain in Afghanistan. So to try to make sense of it all, we're joined by NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:21 am
Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.
Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.
Stroll along a street in downtown Shanghai for very long, and you're likely to run into someone wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One recent afternoon, Xu Jing was heading back from lunch to her job at an ad company in a pair of raspberry-colored Chuck Taylors.
"They have a young image, upbeat and outdoorsy, sporty," said Xu, 27, explaining the appeal. "Young people with an artistic sense prefer Converse."
Xu was accompanied by Chen Xiaolei, a co-worker who owns three pairs of Chuck Taylor high-tops.