All Things Considered for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

After initially resisting a plan to tie a continuing resolution funding the government past Sept. 30 to a "defunding" of Obamacare, House leaders announced Wednesday they would do just that, possibly as early as the end of the week. That would put the whole drama into the laps of the Senate, where Democrats will likely strip out the Obamacare language and send it right back to the House.
President Obama addressed business leaders in Washington Wednesday. Facing back-to-back budget conflicts with Republicans in Congress over the federal budget and debt ceiling in the next few weeks, Obama is looking to the business community to back his view that political showdowns put the economy at risk.

Will Walgreens Workers Pay More After Health Care Change?

Walgreens today became the latest major US company to announce that it's shifting it's employees healthcare benefits over to a new so-called private exchange system. Some 160,000 Walgreens workers will now be shopping for their healthcare on an online marketplace with scores of different insurance companies offering competing coverage plans. The hope is that such systems will hold down rising costs. But consumer advocates worry the trend could mean that workers will end up shouldering more of the cost of their own healthcare.
Brazil's favelas, or slums, are notoriously violent places, and in recent years, the Brazilian government has attempted to establish order through police-run "pacification" programs. A cable car ride above several favelas gives a clearer view of what's happened in the communities in recent years.
As the investigation into the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday continues, the mother of Aaron Alexis released a statement expressing her deep sympathy for the families of the victims. President Obama says he'll attend a memorial service for the victims this weekend, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Defense Department will undertake a rapid review of security procedures.

After Attacks, Seattle Rethinks How To Treat Mentally Ill

Before the Navy Yard shooting, a spate of killings and assaults by mentally ill transients unnerved Seattle residents, prompting questions and discussion. This week's tragedy in Washington, D.C., has added extra energy to that debate.

Sacred Strings Guide Gospel Through Thunder And Steel

For the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss., the lap steel guitar channels the voice of God through hymns and improvised solos that mix gospel, blues and country.
Whatever happened to that kid in Stephen's King novel The Shining? King answers that question with his new book, Doctor Sleep, delving back into Danny Torrance's life. Alan Cheuse reviews King's new novel, and finds it just as terrifying as it's precursor.

Daniel Craig Heads Back To Broadway With 'Betrayal'

The actor joins NPR's Robert Siegel to talk about an upcoming revival of the 1978 Harold Pinter play. In the show, directed by Mike Nichols, Craig is acting with his real-life wife, Rachel Weisz — but he says the two don't talk about it outside the office.

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Brazil has been one of the world's economic success stories over the past decade, with tens of millions rising out of poverty. Their numbers have risen sharply, but many feel their foothold in the middle class is still tenuous.
The Federal Reserve surprised the financial markets today with a decision to leave its main stimulus program in place. Most analysts expected the central bank to begin "tapering" its bond and securities purchases, but the Fed said it wanted to see more positive signs the economy is ready to stand on its own.

Flood Damage Shuts Down An Entire Colo. Town

Flooding in Colorado has so devastated some parts of the state that whole towns will need to shutter themselves temporarily. Estes Park, a popular summer resort city along the Big Thompson River, is home to about 6,000 people. But the flooding has left businesses without storefronts and residents looking for housing, so the entire town is closing itself down.

Why Will So Few Fans Go See The Cleveland Indians Play?

Robert Siegel talks to Terry Pluto, sports columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, about why fan attendance is so low at Progressive Field when the Cleveland Indians are doing so well.

Push To End Mandatory Minimums Makes Strange Bedfellows

The Senate Judiciary Committee is taking a new look at the effectiveness of mandatory minimum sentences, and the movement to change the system has got some surprising allies, including some federal judges and many Republicans.
If you demand democracy in China, you can quickly find yourself at odds with the government. So these days, reformers are trying to use the constitution to make the party accountable to the people. But that didn't keep a Shanghai professor from getting suspended.
As Turkey continues to pursue a hawkish approach to the Syrian conflict, analysts say one of Prime Minister Erdogan's biggest peace initiatives at home is foundering. Although militants from the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, have partially withdrawn to northern Iraq, the withdrawal has stalled as the government failed to enact long-awaited reforms. With Syrian Kurds emboldened and newly empowered in northeastern Syria, ending Turkey's decades-long battle with its Kurdish minority is more crucial than ever. But with local elections looming in Turkey, observers say the peacemaking effort may have to wait.

The Man Who Made Toyota A Modern Success Dies At 100

Robert Siegel speaks with automotive reporter Michele Maynard about the death and legacy of Eiji Toyoda, the former president and later chairman of Toyota.

Brazil's Traffic Is A Circus, So Send In The Clowns

The northeastern city of Olinda is trying to tame its chaotic roads with "traffic clowns," who hit the streets in full costume, encouraging drivers to slow down, don a helmet or buckle their seat belts.
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