NPR News

This just in: After 15 years of deliberation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to decide whether it will approve a genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

Now there's a catchy lead. But the truth is, the long-running regulatory saga of AquaBounty's application to sell salmon with a growth hormone gene from one fish plus a promoter of an antifreeze gene from another — which help it grow twice as fast as typical farmed salmon — does not seem headed toward a conclusion.

Britain Conflicted Over E.U. Treaty

Dec 12, 2011

There's trouble brewing within Britain's ruling coalition after Prime Minister David Cameron's veto of changes to an E.U. treaty to save the euro and the eurozone. Liberal Democratic Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he was "bitterly disappointed" by the veto. Parliament debated the move — and Britain's place within Europe — Monday.

Perito: PRTs In Iraq Improved Over Time

Dec 12, 2011

Melissa Block speaks with Robert Perito, the director of the Security Sector Governance Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace, about the effectiveness of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or PRTs, in Iraq over the years. Perito says the teams had a lot of problems from the beginning, but they got better with time.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bid to return to his nation's presidency, an office he held from 2000 to 2008, picked up a surprise challenger Monday when Mikhail Prokhorov publicly declared his intention to run for the office, too.

Millions of young girls around the world, some as young as five, are forced into marriage every year. The practice is forbidden by international agreements and outlawed in many countries. But many young brides end up in abusive relationships without access to courts or education.

Clean, fresh water is an essential element to life — not only do people and animals depend on it, but it also sustains many businesses and agriculture. The majority of the fresh water used worldwide goes to irrigation, and the need is expected to rise with the growing global population.

Three months after the tsunami and nuclear disaster struck Japan, AP photographer David Guttenfelder ventured into the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The only non-Japanese photographer allowed in, he captured crumbling reactor buildings and haunting footprints.

Critics have long derided the world's biggest cities as disorderly, overcrowded and polluted. But in recent years, as the planet's population continues to rise past seven billion and more and more people flock to urban areas, some now argue that cities may hold the key to sustainable growth.

"Occupy" protesters on the West Coast moved Monday to disrupt ports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere. The action fizzled in Los Angeles, as the AP reports:

"Heavy rain dampened the protest and the demonstrators, who were flanked by dozens of police, have now moved off, effectively making a peaceful end to a four-hour protest."

The AP says about 200 people showed up for the protest at the Port of Longbeach and that there was one arrest related to the gathering.

"A war is ending, a new day is upon us," President Obama said this afternoon at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at which the two leaders are marking the departure of the last U.S. troops after nearly nine years in Iraq.

For his part, Maliki said the two nations' relations "will not end with the departure of the last American soldier ... it has only started."

On Dec. 18, the Showtime drama Dexter presents its sixth-season finale. The show stars Michael C. Hall — who played the repressed mortician David Fisher on HBO's Six Feet Under — as Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who kills other serial killers, and who also works for the Miami police as a blood-spatter expert.

By deciding to stop advertising during the TLC network's All-American Muslim reality TV show after hearing that some conservatives object to the program, Lowe's Home Improvement is now hearing complaints from others who accuse it of religious bigotry.

California State Sen. Ted Lieu (D), The Associated Press says, may call for a boycott of the home improvement chain.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a ubiquitous ingredient in Italian recipes, religious rituals and beauty products. But many of the bottles labeled "extra-virgin olive oil" on supermarket shelves have been adulterated and shouldn't be classified as extra-virgin, says New Yorker contributor Tom Mueller.

The high prices they command on the black market and "Southern California's banda music craze" have combined to make tubas a hot property, the Los Angeles Times writes today.

Hot, that is, in the sense that there's been a recent "rash of unsolved tuba thefts at high schools in southeast Los Angeles County."

Arizona's controversial immigration law will indeed be getting a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, it was just announced.

Long expected, the court's decision to weigh in could help settle whether the law — known as SB 1070 for its bill number in the Arizona Senate — encroaches on federal law because, in large part, of its provision that would require the police to determine the immigration status of a person they have detained and whether the suspect is in the country illegally.

I Wayne: Tiny Desk Concert

Dec 12, 2011

Amid drizzling rain, I walked out to I Wayne's black van, which had been outfitted with tinted windows and fat rims. Reaching for the door to let him out, I spied the door handle — which read "Dutty" in big gold lettering — before unleashing a cloud of that oh-so-reggae aroma as I pulled back the sliding door.

Between the van and the fifth floor of the NPR Music offices, I Wayne and his entourage said little. But as soon as our cameras started rolling, he sprang to life. He was quickly transformed into performance mode — vibrant and full of energy, right on cue.

The news that scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland will talk Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET about "the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson" has reignited speculation that they might be about to say they've found the so-called God particle.

It's toy season. For boys, one of the hottest items on the market this year builds on an ancient concept: the spinning top. The tops are called Beyblades, and I discovered them on the playground of my son's elementary school, where I saw this pack of boys, huddled around something that looked possibly illicit. I was suspicious, but now I let them do the same thing at home.

Family, friends, students, faculty members and government officials will gather today at 2 p.m. ET in Virginia Tech's Cassell Coliseum to remember campus police officer Deriek Crouse.

Saying that "even if you add up all this so-called evidence, it accounts for just over 0.5 percent of the total number of votes," a spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told Agence France Presse that the results of last week's parliamentary elections will stand despite public protests over evidence of fraud.

The greased tracks forced the train to slow, and then the robbers used a tow truck with a hook to scoop corn out of the freight cars. It's believed they got away with 55 tons of corn which, given the current prices, should be worth thousands of dollars.

As the last U.S. combat troops prepare to leave Iraq, the question of whether neighboring Iran will try to fill any vacuum looms large.

Mom To Newspaper: I'm Not Dead Yet

Dec 12, 2011

A Brookville, Pa., man missed work because he said his mother had died. Her obit was in the local paper. Relatives began calling the paper saying Scott Bennett's mother was very much alive.

Occupy Protesters To Try To Shut Down Ports

Dec 12, 2011

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Occupy Wall Street and West Coast ports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Occupy protesters in cities up and down the West Coast are attempting to paralyze some of the nation's busiest ports today. Organizers say they expect thousands of demonstrators to turn out for what they're calling Wall Street on the Waterfront.

The Last Word In Business

Dec 12, 2011

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's hear one more number. In a CBS/New York Times poll released on Friday, more than half the respondents, 54 percent, said that President Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.

The president appeared on CBS last night, telling "60 Minutes" why he thought he would win the job again, despite that number. And we're going to talk about that and more with NPR's Cokie Roberts, who joins us most Mondays.

Cokie, good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's report, next, on a surprise agreement on climate change. United Nations climate talks in South Africa were not expected to produce much, but negotiators for many nations did make a deal, one that could lead to a major new climate treaty at the end of the decade. NPR's Richard Harris is in Durban, South Africa covering the story. Hi, Richard.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: So what is the agreement?

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's come back to this country now, where we're expecting a court hearing today in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal - it comes tomorrow. Among those expected to testify is the man designated by the grand jury as Victim One. His story of alleged abuse prompted a major investigation and brought this case to light.

This Christmas, the Beyblade is sure to be a popular stocking stuffer. What's a Beyblade — it is a sophisticated top. Hasbro has taken the simple concept and added all kinds of cool features.

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