In California, a high-profile lawsuit is seeking to halt construction of a new $500 million rail yard next to the Port of Los Angeles. Activists, including a national environmental group that's spearheading the opposition, say the massive project would mean even more pollution for nearby neighborhoods that already have some of the worst air in the country.
On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.
Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it's most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years.
For many years, high medical bills have been a leading cause of financial distress and bankruptcy in America. That pressure may be easing ever so slightly, according to a survey released earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But 1 in 5 Americans still face hardships due to medical costs — and African-Americans continue to be the hardest hit.
Today, President Obama will be turning his attention to China. He's meeting China's new President, Xi Jinping, here in Southern California. There's plenty on the agenda: trade, currency, North Korea. This year, though, a new topic may dominate: China's habit of breaking into U.S. computer networks to steal trade and military secrets.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Sen. John McCain is pushing the Obama administration to do more for rebels fighting the Syrian government. This follows his trip last week to opposition-held territory in Syria. McCain warns that a failure to act could send the Middle East deep into sectarian conflict.
His comments come as both the rebels, and the likelihood of planned peace talks, appear to be losing ground.NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It was a classic make-way-for ducklings scenario. Syracuse city worker Gary Clifford saw a mother duck leading a dozen little ones down a busy city street. So he followed them in his truck, stopping traffic along the way. Until they walked across a storm drain and four ducklings fell in. Syracuse.com reports a city crew was called. It scooped them up, calmed the panicked mama duck, and took the entire feathered family to a creek. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
He has performed around the world for millions of screaming fans. Now, Justin Bieber is taking his talents off the planet. Bieber put a quarter-million dollar deposit on a seat on Virgin Galactic's spaceship. The singer wants to shoot a music video in space.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield already did that last month, singing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on board the International Space Station.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Since 2007, America's National Security Agency has been mining data from the servers of major American Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google. That's according to new reports from the Guardian and the Washington Post. This comes hard on the heels of another Guardian report revealing the intelligence agency is collecting Verizon phone records of millions of Americans
NPR's business news starts with pension problems for Illinois.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: The credit rating for the state of Illinois has taken another step closer to junk bond status. Illinois already had the lowest credit rating in the nation before it was downgraded again this week by Moody's and Fitch. The state legislature adjourned last week without addressing a $100 billion pension shortfall.
So as NPR's David Schaper reports, the governor is calling lawmakers back.
Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day meeting later today with President Obama near Palm Springs, California. There's a good deal of significance behind the choice of California as a venue for this summit. The state one of China's largest trading partners. And is also home to a recent boom in Chinese real estate investment.