Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. President Vladimir Putin even wants Russia's birds to get behind him. Yesterday, he flew a motorized glider aimed at leading a flock of Siberian cranes raised in captivity to their winter nesting grounds. To appear to be one of them, Putin donned a white jumpsuit and helmet, though he drew the line at a beak. A Russians news agency reported only one bird followed Putin on his first flight, but he picked up a few more supporters later on. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
When the European Central Bank holds its monthly meeting today, investors around the world will be watching nervously to see what the bank's head, Mario Draghi, says about interest rates. Draghi was recently quoted as saying he would do whatever it takes to keep Europe's debt crisis from growing out of control, and that could go beyond just cutting borrowing rates.
As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, any European Central Bank plan to use its resources to prop up Europe's weaker economies will face strong opposition from the Germans.
Prison officials in Massachusetts say they are still reviewing a federal court decision in Boston ordering them to provide sex-change surgery for a prison inmate. Critics are urging officials to appeal what they call an outrageous abuse of taxpayer funds. But as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, the decision this week reflects national trends of prisons treating gender identity disorder as a legitimate medical condition deserving treatment like any other.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Mitt Romney has not done any campaigning the last few days. He's in Vermont with senior aides, preparing for debates next month. And even as President Obama prepares for tonight's big speech, campaign aides say he has been preparing for debates, too. NPR's Ari Shapiro asked past debate coaches what happens behind the scenes.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Renee Montagne is back at NPR West. Renee, welcome back.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Thank you very much. After a nice vacation, and so glad to be here, because big news: President Obama speaks to the Democratic Convention tonight. Just as with Mitt Romney last week, the president will have a huge audience to make his case.
And after delivering a tribute to her husband on the opening night at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday by reaching out to groups of minority delegates there in Charlotte. NPR's David Welna reports.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Let's give a rousing welcome for the first lady, Michelle Obama.
DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: The African-American caucus was fired up yesterday when Mrs. Obama got there just hours after she brought down the house at the convention arena. She was still getting going.