Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. A Japanese spa resort made quite a splash yesterday in a pool spiked with Beaujolais Nouveau, the first vintage of the season from the famous French wine region. The fresh and fruity drink was released yesterday. The spa near Mt. Fuji celebrated with wine in glasses, as well: sips and dips for spa customers. The spa also promised beautiful, smooth skin. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.
NPR's business news starts with more mortgage problems.
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INSKEEP: Independent auditors released a report this morning, showing that the Federal Housing Administration is facing a shortfall from losses on the mortgages it insures. The Obama administration says it's going to take steps to prevent a taxpayer bailout.
As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the FHA has been struggling since the foreclosure crisis hit four years ago.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 8:25 am
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
As Israel and Hamas continue launching attacks, residents of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and communities to its south remain on alert for missile strikes. Sheera Frenkel reports that many fear the current round of violence is nowhere close to being over.
Israel's neighbor Jordan had largely avoided the unrest sparked by the Arab Spring until now. Jordan's king has outlasted protests that have been much smaller than in other nations, but a government move to raise fuel prices sparked fresh protests and even calls for King Abdullah to step down. A protester who died in a clash with police has become a symbol of protesters' fury. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Former CIA Director David Petraeus is testifying before two congressional committees today. He's been called to discuss the CIA's role in the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, back in September; an attack that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. This also happens to be General Petraeus' first public appearance on Capitol Hill since he resigned over an extramarital affair.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 5:49 am
The two biggest fears of the fiscal cliff are defense cuts and tax hikes. The nation's mayors say the devastating effects of automatic cuts reach further than the Defense Department — right into their own cities. Steve Inskeep talks to the Democratic Mayor of Charleston, S.C., Jospeh Riley and Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., about the impact sequestration could have in their cities.
Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.
I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it's still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.
Whenever there's a disaster, people want to give, and Hurricane Sandy is no exception. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, U.S. charities collected more than $174 million in donations as of Nov. 9 to help respond to the storm.
But it's not only money that has been pouring in. Relief programs have also received mountains of clothes, food and other supplies, not all of which are needed.
Every so often, people at an NPR station discover a song they can't get enough of. On those occasions, we ask them to share their obsession with the nation. Ben Famous is the music director at KCEP Power88 in Las Vegas. He spoke to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about a new cut from R&B heavyweight Avant. It's called "You and I," and it features Keke Wyatt. "The first time we played it," says Famous, "the phone lines lit up, and people were like, 'Who was that?' 'What was that?'"
People hold pictures of Savita Halappanavar during a vigil outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Halappanavar died Oct. 28 in Galway, Ireland, just days after she was denied an abortion.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:07 pm
The death of an Indian woman is prompting Ireland to examine the conditions under which abortions can be permitted in the country.
Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, died last month after she began to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus. Doctors denied her an abortion, a procedure that is illegal in the predominantly Catholic country, because the fetus had a heartbeat. The story gained traction this week after Halappanavar's husband took her body back to India for cremation and went public with the events that led to her death.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 1:51 pm
Wal-Mart is throwing its hat in the gourmet food ring just in time for the holidays this year. Wednesday, the megastore company launched a monthly food subscription service that sends customers a sampling of novel food products each month.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:13 pm
In an interview with All Things Considered's Melissa Block, Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said that Israel's calling of 30,000 reservists "signals a preparation for possible land action, which we may need to defend our citizens."
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:10 pm
Some Democrats complain that Republicans in recent decades have had the edge in House races because GOP state legislatures have been better at the gerrymandering game. Except that may not be true.
Some political experts believe there's an easier explanation, and perhaps a tougher one for Democrats to overcome: Voters supporting Republican House candidates, they say, are spread over more congressional districts than those who support Democrats. It's that simple. It's merely a matter of geography.