Visa, MasterCard, some of the nation's other largest banks have agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement of a class action suit involving credit card transaction fees. Now, those are what merchants pay when you use plastic instead of cash. Retailers allege that the two largest payment networks conspired with the banks to keep so-called swipe fees high. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
There's more gloomy news from the eurozone this week. Italy saw its sovereign debt rating lowered by one agency, at just a couple of notches above junk status. In Spain, civil servants, coalminers, and others took to the streets once again to protest more spending cuts and tax hikes. And Germany's highest court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of two measures considered central to efforts to try to contain the euro crisis.
It's been over a week since scientists announced that they've found the Higgs boson particle. It's an important discovery. They say that although the Higgs boson particle is small - or, come to think of it, perhaps because of it - it holds the universe together. But for all the publicity the particle's received, how many of us could explain what it actually does? Well, here's the announcement from scientists in Switzerland.
Earlier this week, NPR and the Center for Public Integrity reported astonishing news: the coal miners' disease called black lung is a growing problem again. The investigative report also showed that weak regulation and industry deception has thwarted the effort to protect miners from the coal mine dust that causes black lung.
NPR's Howard Berkes joins us. Howard, thanks for being with us. first,
HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: It's good to be with you, Scott.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Mark Teixeira of the Yankees gets five RBIs to beat the Angels. And if beating Angels isn't bad enough, Saints from New Orleans throwing money at Drew Brees. And why do U.S. lawmakers want to put the torch to U.S. Olympic uniforms? Howard Bryant joins us now, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine, joins us from New England Public Radio in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Saturday is Bastille Day, and the Tour de France is underway. Nearly 200 cyclists have just finished a grueling three-day stretch in the mountains and are headed down to the southern coast. Host Scott Simon talks about the race and its so-called doping era with reporter Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Magazine.
Last January, the captain of the Italian mega-cruise ship Costa Concordia committed an apparent act of maritime bravado a few yards from the shore of a Tuscan island. Thirty people were killed, and two are still missing.
Six months after one of the biggest passenger shipwrecks in recent history, relatives of the dead attended a memorial service Friday near the site of the disaster.
The solemn notes of Mozart's Requiem echoed through the small church of Saints Lorenzo and Mamiliano on the island of Giglio.
Fifty years ago this week, communications went global. July 12, 1962 the Telstar 1 satellite from AT&T became the first commercial spacecraft to beam television images from the United States to Europe.
There may be no better town in America for observing the heavens than Tucson, Arizona. It has low humidity, high elevation and a darkened desert. That part of the state has attracted quite a few astronomers, both professional and amateur. We sent NPR's Peter Breslow to Tucson to seek out this community of stargazers.
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:
The office of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. initially said he had gone into seclusion for exhaustion. Later, that was revised to a mood disorder.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
The 1972 Democratic ticket of George McGovern (right) for president and Thomas F. Eagleton for vice president lasted only 18 days. Eagleton was dropped after telling reporters he'd had electroshock treatments for depression.
We may never know all the reasons why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has dropped out of sight, but history teaches us that if a public figure is linked to "exhaustion," the word can be code for something more problematic than simply being tired.
When the mercury's soaring, a cold, refreshing beer can be the best part of summer. As part of our occasional Taste of Summer series, we asked beer expert Graham Haverfield to recommend a few of his seasonal favorites.
Haverfield is the beer director for the Wine Library in Springfield Township, N.J. He's also a certified cicerone, or beer server. "Summer beers are typically lighter in body, they're typically a little lower in alcohol," he tells NPR's Scott Simon.
Winston Churchill wrote every word of his many speeches — he said he'd spend an hour working on a single minute of a speech. Above, he is shown speaking during the 1945 election campaign.
Credit Express / Getty Images
Though he went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Churchill didn't always excel in school. His 1884 school report card states young Winston is "very bad ... a constant trouble to everybody," and unable to be "trusted to behave himself anywhere." <a href="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/07/13/school-report_char-28-044-007_custom.jpg">Click to enlarge.</a>
Credit Courtesy of Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge
Churchill makes his broadcast to the world on V-E Day, May 8, 1945.
Credit Keystone / Getty Images
Churchill spaced and marked his speeches to help him with his delivery. Above is the final draft of the speech he broadcast on Feb. 9, 1941. <a href="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/07/13/give-us-the-tools_char-09-150a-075_custom.jpg">Click to enlarge.</a>
Credit Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and the Estate of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is best remembered as the British prime minister whose speeches rallied a nation under a relentless Nazi onslaught in World War II. But few people know that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature — in part for his mastery of speechmaking.
Now, a new exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City, Churchill: The Power of Words, holds a megaphone to Churchill's extraordinary oratory.
Ibrahim al-Qosi, shown here on July 11 in Khartoum, Sudan, was released from Guantanamo Bay prison this week after spending a decade there. He was Osama bin Laden's former driver, and he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al-Qaida and supporting terrorism. There are now 168 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.
The latest detainee to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison boarded an Air Force jet earlier this week. His destination: Sudan. The man, 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, had admitted to being Osama bin Laden's bookkeeper, driver and sometime cook, and he was one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo in 2002.
Now, he is the latest to leave. His departure brings the total detainee population at the U.S. naval base in Cuba down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.
As the French people celebrate their revolution on Saturday, Bastille Day, the founding principles — liberte, egalite and fraternite — seem to be alive and well.
New President Francois Hollande embraced equality on the campaign trail this spring. To reduce the French deficit, he proposed raising taxes on large corporations and the super-rich. The move helped his campaign take off, says Gerald Andrieu, a political journalist with Marianne magazine.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sat for a hastily arranged flurry of TV interviews Friday, strongly denying he had any role in running Bain Capital at a time when, according to reports, the company invested in firms that outsourced jobs overseas.
He also called for an apology from President Obama for statements by his campaign that Romney said were beneath the dignity of the presidency.
Buzz has been building. There were standing ovations when Milo Greene toured with The Civil Wars. Esquire magazine put Milo Greene on its list of artists to watch in 2012, and Milo Greene will perform songs from its debut album on David Letterman's show later this month. But this budding star is probably not who you think he is.
It now seems like a natural rite of summer — open-air classical music festivals where audiences can hear great music while picnicking under the stars. But 75 years ago, when the Boston Symphony first performed on a former estate called Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, it was a novel idea.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Republican Mitt Romney gave a rare round of interviews today to reporters from five TV networks, in which he stood by his assertions that he had no active role in running Bain Capital after 1999. And he called on President Obama to apologize for comments from his campaign.
MITT ROMNEY: It's disgusting. It's demeaning. It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for, and stop.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
Visa, MasterCard and some of the biggest banks in the U.S. have agreed to a historic settlement of more than $6 billion in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 7 million merchants. NPR's Steve Henn has been reviewing this settlement agreement. He joins me now. And, Steve, what's this case about?
This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic athletes, from left, swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform.
It was one of the few issues, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed on: They were outraged that the uniforms to be worn by U.S. Olympic athletes at the London Summer Games were made in China.
As we told you, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went so far as to say that the Olympic committee should "put [the uniforms] in a big pile and burn them."
Once upon a time — just a few weeks ago, in fact — the story of Bain Capital was a useful and easy one for Mitt Romney. His years running the private equity firm had taught him how jobs are created, a skill he would bring with him to the White House.
And what of the negative consequences from Bain's involvement in various companies? The layoffs? The plant closings? The outsourcing of jobs to China?
Paul Morgan met his wife, Evelyn Oyuki Morgan, during his two-year Mormon mission to Mexico. Today, they belong to a Spanish-speaking Mormon congregation and speak Spanish at home with their two daughters, Isabella and Amaya.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Daryl Williams is an attorney and a senior figure in the Mormon church in the Phoenix area. His discomfort with Arizona's immigration law led him to take up the issue at town hall events across the state.
Mitt Romney is the most famous Mormon running for office this fall. But he's far from the only one.
In Arizona, two other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Rep. Jeff Flake and businessman Wil Cardon — are vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.
All three candidates have said they'll be tough on immigration. And while Mormons in Arizona have been closely identified with conservative politics, the immigration debate has exposed a rare divide on the issue.
When a private firm failed to meet its promise of providing enough guards for the Olympics, the British military was called in to "mind the gap" in security.
But even though the government is bringing in those troops — as well as RAF Typhoon combat jets, surface-to-air missiles on rooftops, and an aircraft carrier on the River Thames — organizers say it will still look like the Summer Games, and not war games.
Attendees of Apple's 2012 World Wide Developers Conference look at the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Credit Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Hundreds of people line up outside an Apple store in Chicago to buy the iPhone 4 in 2010. Apple had removed its products from EPEAT's registry of environmentally friendly electronic devices but later reversed course.
It's not often that one of the world's biggest companies says, "We goofed."
But in a surprising turn of events Friday, Apple admitted it made a mistake in pulling out of an environmental rating system for computers and other electronics. The company said it would rejoin the so-called EPEAT certification system, placing all 39 of its originally certified products back on the list. The company is also requesting certification for more products, including its new MacBook Pro model.
Visa and Mastercard have announced that they will pay retailers more than $6 billion to settle several class-action and individual lawsuits retailers have filed since 2005.
According to a Wall Street Journal story from earlier this month, the settlement stems from complaints that Visa and MasterCard, the largest card-payments networks in the world, prohibited retailers from imposing surcharges to customers using those credit cards.
As the financial crisis began to unfold in 2007, the New York Federal Reserve learned that some banks might have intentionally underestimated the rates they expected to pay for loans from other banks.
Documents the New York Fed released Friday, in response to a request from Congress, show that the banking regulator began to be concerned about the accuracy of LIBOR — or the London Interbank Offered Rate — late in 2007.