Morning Edition for Thursday, September 19, 2013

Federal Reserve Stays The Course On Stimulus

U.S. stocks rallied to new highs Wednesday on news the Federal Reserve is keeping its main stimulus program in place with no changes. Most analysts were expecting the Fed to start a gradual reduction in the level of stimulus.

Senators, Economists Lobby For Yellen To Be Fed Chairman

President Obama has taken his time in choosing a new Federal Reserve Chairman. It's a four-year post so whoever he picks will lead the central bank well into the next president's term. Top contender Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration. Analysts speculate the No. 2 at the Fed, Janet Yellen, will now be the top choice.

Dean Norris, Breaking Out Of That Good-Guy Mold

The actor plays — played? — DEA Agent Hank Schrader on the soon-to-end drama Breaking Bad, as well as local politician Big Jim Rennie on Under the Dome. He chatted with NPR's Steve Inskeep about Hank's disposition, playing these two very different roles, and singing onstage when he was 5.

More Rain On The Way For Stranded Acapulco Tourists

Renee Montagne talks to Michael Weissenstein, of The Associated Press, about the deadly flooding and landslides caused by two tropical storms that hit Mexico this week. Some of the worst damage is around the resort town of Acapulco, where tens of thousands of tourists are stranded.

Sen. McConnell In No-Win Situation On Obamacare

When Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin jumped in to challenge fellow Republican Mitch McConnell in next year's primary, the Senate minority leader responded by lying low on controversial issues. And so far, McConnell has steered clear of an attempt to tie must-pass funding bills to a defunding of President Obama's health care law.

ACLU Posts Suspicious Activity Reports Online

Document requests by the ACLU of Northern California have produced an inside look at the records of suspicious activity reports gathered by federal authorities. The feds appear to be keeping files on people based on tips that fall far below the threshold of reasonable suspicion.

Fed Decision Gives Indian Market Temporary Reprieve

In India Thursday, markets soared tracking a global surge in assets. The rally erupted over the surprising move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue its monetary stimulus that has poured cheap money into the global economy.
Workers for American Airlines and U.S. Airways rallied in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to urge the Justice Department to speed up approval of the pending merger. The department is pushing to block the deal on the grounds that it would hurt travelers by reducing competition, and increasing airfare.

Starbucks Asks Customers To Leave Their Guns Behind

Starbucks — which has been caught in the cross hairs of the gun control debate — is now asking customers to consider its coffee houses gun-free zones. Until now, the company had not discouraged customers in open-carry states from bringing weapons into their stores.

South Korea To Build 'Invisible' Skyscraper

South Korea is hoping to draw crowds to see a planned new skyscraper in Seoul. The Tower Infinity will feature cloaking technology with cameras and LED screens to help it appear invisible to buildings beside it. Airplanes will be able to see the building.
After her daughter was killed in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo, last year, Sandy Phillips became a full-time advocate for universal background checks for gun buyers. Phillips was on her way to Washington, D.C. to lobby for gun legislation when the Navy Yard shooting happened. She tells Steve Inskeep she's been meeting with members of Congress.

Afghan Soccer Team's Win Fuels National Pride

Afghanistan's national soccer team has achieved what no other institution has managed to do recently: unify the country. The team won a tough South Asian tournament last week, and Afghans across the country took to the streets to fire their guns and celebrate. Renee Montagne talks to Ahmad Arash Hatifie, who plays midfield for Afghanistan.

WNBA's Elena Della Donne Thrives In Chicago

Women's pro basketball takes center stage Thursday night with the start of playoffs. The Eastern Conference champions Chicago Sky are in the post season for the first time since joining the league eight years ago. A big reason for that success is 6'5" rookie Elena Della Donne.
As health costs keep rising, many firms are trying to run their benefits programs as leanly as possible. For some, that means not paying the claims of spouses who work for other companies. It costs more to insure the typical spouse than the typical employee, one analyst says.

Census Bureau Survey Indicates How Americans Live

Steve Inskeep talks to demographer William Frey, of the Brookings Institution, about new trends in the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. It's an annual snapshot into the lives of Americans. The data helps communities plan investments and services.

Feds Say NYC Building Is A Front For Iran

The U.S. government moved this week to seize a Manhattan skyscraper said to be secretly owned by Iran. To discuss how such targeting of Iran's financial assets fits into the broader strategy of ending its nuclear program, Renee Montagne talks to former White House and Treasury Department official Juan Zarate.

France Moves To Ban Kids Under 16 From Beauty Pageants

The bill, which the French Senate approved, is aimed at protecting girls from being sexualized. It's part of a larger measure on women's rights. The legislation still must be approved by the lower house of parliament.
As a teenager, Christian Dior helped his mother design the garden at their home in Normandy, France. He carried his love of flowers — also the focus of the French Impressionists who came before him — along with him into his fashion career.

Jail In Yonkers, N.Y., Is Put On The Real Estate Market

Officials are asking for $2.5 million for a building that may need renovation, but does have a Hudson River view. The inmates will be moved out on Sunday.

Exhibit In Scotland Showcases Miniature Books

One of the world's smallest is a version of the nursery rhyme "Old King Cole" — no bigger than a grain of rice. Back in the 1800s, one Scottish publisher discovered that a poorly selling copy of poems by Robert Burns became a bestseller when he miniaturized it.
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