Now, we turn to a business scandal that could have repercussions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Wal-Mart, America's biggest retailer, is also Mexico's largest retailer and there, the company has been accused of paying more than $24 million in bribes to Mexican officials to obtain construction permits to build new stores.
Days after George Zimmerman was freed on bail to await a second-degree murder trial for shooting Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, says she's "willing to wait for justice to be served" in her son's case.
Speaking with Tell Me More host Michel Martin, Fulton also says that she feels like "I have a little hole in my heart. And that little hole is caused by the tragedy of Trayvon's death."
"Difficult" is probably the most tactful word one could use in characterizing Lillian Hellman. If ever there were an author safer to meet through her art rather than in real life, she was the one. Born in New Orleans into a Jewish family, Hellman came of age in the Roaring '20s, liberated by flappers and Freud. Hellman drank like a fish, swore like a sailor and slept around like, well, like most of the men in her literary circle, chief among them Dashiell Hammett, with whom she had an open relationship spanning three decades. She was, recalled one observer, a "tough broad ...
Americans generate more trash than anyone else on the planet: more than 7 pounds per person each day.
About 69 percent of that trash goes immediately into landfills. And most landfill trash is made up of containers and packaging — almost all of which should be recycled, says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes,
"It's instant trash," he says. "We pay for this stuff, and it goes right into the waste bin, and we're not capturing it the way our recycling programs are intending us to capture it. We're just sticking it in the ground and building mountains out of it."
And in another sign that the labor market's recovery remains sluggish, the agency said "the 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500." That measure is said by economists to be a better gauge of the underlying trend in claims.
Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:15 pm
Convicted today of contempt for refusing to push for the reopening of a corruption case involving Pakistan's president, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was given a prison sentence that lasted just a few minutes.
"The ruling ... appeared to be a compromise," The Associated Press writes, "but could still mean problems for him because he has been convicted in a court. That means he could face dismissal from office in the weeks, or more likely, months to come."
While activists inside Syria say government forces are responsible for an explosion today in the city of Hama, and that about 70 people were killed, President Bashar Assad's regime has a much different story. It says about 16 people were killed by an explosion at a bomb factory used by "armed terrorist groups," the BBC reports.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is guilty of "aiding and abetting" forces in Sierra Leone that committed war crimes and other atrocities during a war that lasted more than a decade and left more than 50,000 people dead, the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled today.
Taylor, the first head of state since just after World War II to be judged by an international tribunal, "knew that his support" would assist and encourage fighters who were committing war crimes, the tribunal ruled. In return, he received so-called blood diamonds from Sierra Leone.
Pakistan faces even more political uncertainty. The country's supreme court today found the prime minister guilty of contempt of court. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had resisted demands by the court that he press authorities in Switzerland to pursue money laundering charges there against his boss, the president of Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following this story. She was at the court in Islamabad.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
For the president, next week is being billed as the official launch of his re-election campaign. Mr. Obama will be holding rallies in the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. But it would be hard to tell a difference from this week, when Mr. Obama made a tour of college campuses in three other battleground states.
Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Credit Glen Stubbe / MCT/Landov
A 45-cent-per-gallon government subsidy for ethanol producers ended earlier this year, but there's still a mandate that forces refineries to blend ethanol with gasoline. Before the mandate, refineries used about half as much ethanol as they do today.
Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.
Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.
Let's stay in Europe for our last word in business - about an ad that allegedly pushes Nationalist buttons.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The story starts with the Netherlands Energy Company. As a promotion, the energy company is offering free beer taps.
INSKEEP: We do not know how a free beer tap promotes using energy, but never mind. The company bought ads. The ads contain a warning for Netherlands women: Prevent your husbands from traveling to Ukraine to see this summer's European soccer championship. They thought...
As we just heard from Jackie, most drone strikes are in areas along the border with Afghanistan, places overrun in recent years by the Pakistani Taliban and other radical groups. And our next guest is using a form of soft power to fight terrorism there: mothers. Mossarat Qadeem is deploying mothers to pull their sons back from militancy.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's follow up on the controversy over the American use of drones in Pakistan. Over the past few years, no issue has done quite as much to inflame public sentiment and stir anti-American feelings in Pakistan as drone strikes.
NPR's business news starts with a cage-free promise.
Burger King announced yesterday, that by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from animals not penned-up in cages and crates. Burger King is the first major U.S. fast food chain to put a firm deadline on such a promise. The move is seen as part of an industry-wide shift to consider animal concerns.
One food industry analyst says it proves quote, "that consumers are willing to pay a little bit more for fairness."
Britain is a nation in shock, following yesterday's announcement that its economy has slipped back into recession. The bad news is raising new questions about the government's unpopular austerity measures.
Vicki Barker has more from London.
VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: The news that Britain's economy has fallen into the dreaded double-dip recession caught everyone off guard - including Prime Minister David Cameron, who was immediately hit by a wave of criticism from parliament.
In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, thousands of African immigrants, many of them small-scale clothing traders from Nigeria, have come seeking business opportunities. One of the Nigerian traders, who goes by his "designer name" of Niceguy, is shown here in the city's Little Africa neighborhood.
Credit Nina Porzucki for NPR
The Little Africa neighborhood in Guangzhou is dominated by African immigrants who run the shops and stalls, but many customers are Chinese.
Credit Nina Porzucki for NPR
A trader who goes by the name Fortunato — he says it's his "designer name" — stands outside one of the clothing shops in the Little Africa section of Guangzhou. He's been living in the Chinese city for five years.
China and Africa have become major trading partners in recent years. Chinese companies have made a big push into Africa seeking raw materials like oil. And enterprising Africans now travel to China to buy cheap goods at the source and ship them home. Today, the city of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is home to some 10,000 Africans, the largest such community in China. The city's Little Africa neighborhood is a world unto itself, with restaurants specializing in African food to money changers who deal in the Nigerian currency.
A sign stands in front of a bank-owned home in Las Vegas. Housing counselors say the $25 billion mortgage settlement between major banks and the states has yet to make an impact in communities around the U.S.
Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.
Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.
Keith Ballard, right, of the Vancouver Canucks is tripped by Colin Fraser of the Los Angeles Kings for a penalty during game in Los Angeles on April 18. Researchers studying hockey penalties found that teams wearing black jerseys were far more likely to draw penalties than teams wearing other colored or white jerseys.
Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.
Security professionals in both the U.S. government and in private industry have long feared the prospect of a cyberwar with China or Russia, two states capable of launching destructive attacks on the computer networks that control critical assets such as the power grid or the financial system.
Now they face a new cyberthreat: Iran.
"[The Iranians] have all the resources and the capabilities necessary to be a major player in terms of cyberwarfare," says Jeffrey Carr, an expert on cyberconflict who has consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense.