Good morning. I'm David Greene. If you board a plane excited about a trip but dreading the possibility of a baby crying loudly for the whole flight, this news is for you. The budget arm of Singapore Airlines - called Scoot - is now offering a $14 upgrade to sit in a child-free zone, no one under 12 allowed.
In downtown Madrid, music floats through the air, amateur musicians playing for money. Sadly, many are not that good, but the city is on the case. To shield residents from mediocre musicianship, it's created an Acoustic Protection Zone. Buskers who wish to perform will be talent-tested. A panel will issue permits to those who have what it takes. The rest will be booted off the stage or, in this case, the sidewalk.
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In New York, the city council is poised to vote today on some of the toughest police oversight laws in decades. The vote comes just weeks after a judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with its practice of stopping mostly young men of color on the streets.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge's ruling and refusing to back down on a policing program he has championed. NPR's Joel Rose reports.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. We're following developments in Egypt after today's release from prison of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. We'll go to Cairo in a moment. We begin this hour with stories of two military trials in this country. Both involve horrendous massacres.
Of all the creatures in the sea, one of the most majestic and mysterious is the whale shark. It's the biggest shark there is, 30 feet or more in length and weighing in at around 10 tons.
Among the mysteries is where this mighty fish migrates and where it gives birth. Now scientists have completed the biggest study ever of whale sharks, and they think they have some answers to those questions.
No place seems safe these days from someone's terrifying, post-apocalyptic imaginings. Los Angeles is wrecked in the movie Elysium, the South is zombie-ridden in TV's The Walking Dead, and now— thanks to writer Ben Winters — even the quiet streets of Concord are at risk of annihilation.
In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.
Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.
And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.
"I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person."
That's how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman's choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.