Morning Edition on Four Corners

Weekdays 6:00-9:00 AM
Steve Inskeep & Renee Montagne

Two hour in-depth news program from National Public Radio.

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Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

GM Retirees Face Friday Pension Deadline

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You've got to escape from your Escape.

Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.

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Economy
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Tough Austerity Plan Incites Spanish Protesters

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Spain, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in scores of cities yesterday, protesting austerity measures meant to pull the government out of the red. Sales tax is going up, and civil servants are taking pay cuts. All this as Europe readies a bailout of Spain of up to $125 billion.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: About 100,000 Spaniards flooded Madrid's center once the sun went down on another 100-degree day.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR CANNONS)

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Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Sylvia - Sylvia Woods, the name behind soul food haven Sylvia's.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's a restaurant, and for many, it's much more. The Harlem institution has been around for half a century, but it will never be the same because yesterday, Sylvia Woods died at the age of 86, on the same day New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was due to celebrate her legacy.

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Middle East
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Syrian Fighting Spreads Across Damascus

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:41 pm

A gunman opened fire early Friday at a movie theater in a Denver suburb, killing at least 12 people and leaving dozens more injured, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. Steve Inskeep talks to Chayyiel Jackson about the shooting.

Planet Money
1:44 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:06 am

The health of public pension plans — the retirement plans for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state and local governments — has gotten plenty of attention lately.

Some plans are hurting, and numbers from state and local governments suggest their public pension plans are underfunded by about $1 trillion.

But that gap between what they owe and what they have on hand today is about to look bigger — much bigger, in some cases.

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The Veepstakes
1:41 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Jindal's Story Intrigues, But Can It Get Him A VP Nod?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Mention Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and a lot of people still remember his 2009 Republican response to President Obama's first address to Congress. In a voice often compared to Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock, Jindal addressed viewers across the nation as if they were primary school students.

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U.S.
1:40 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

Pedestrians stand along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The state has gotten a reprieve from more than a year of drought.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.

"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
1:35 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Olympians' Dilemma: 'Starve My Soul' For Ramadan?

Mohammed Ahmed runs at the NCAA championships in June in Des Moines, Iowa. He's representing Canada at the Olympics and had to decide whether to fast for Ramadan this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 6:12 am

Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.

But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:25 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Activists Fear Brazil's Triumph Over HIV Has Fizzled

Drag queens at an outdoor restaurant in Copacabana incorporate safe sex messages into a show of lip-synced songs and risque jokes.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.

When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.

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Asia
1:02 am
Fri July 20, 2012

N. Korean Conundrum: Are Political Changes Real?

In this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service on July 9, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen with a woman in Pyongyang. It's not clear who she is, but a first lady would be a marked departure from the days of Kim's father, who kept his personal life private.
AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 8:28 pm

North Korea's army has been swearing oaths of loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un after he was given the new title of marshal of the nation, cementing his position. This comes just days after the army chief was dismissed for illness. Analysts suspect these announcements are masking far deeper changes, but there's disagreement about what it means.

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