Morning Edition for Wednesday, October 16, 2013

With the threat of a government default looming, House leaders tried to take the upper hand in the standoff with a bill appealing to their most conservative members. They failed, resulting in chaos in the House and giving the initiative back to the Senate.

When Will Congress' Inaction Push U.S. Into Default?

Determining the day on which the U.S. government might default is tricky. The Bipartisan Policy Center says the last eight days of October is a critical period because of all the payments due that week. The potential for a credit default is already causing problems for big financial firms that use U.S. Treasurys as collateral.

Why College Freshmen May Feel Like Impostors On Campus

Psychologist Greg Walton has found that a simple intervention can help many students get the most out of college. The trick is in helping students see that setbacks are temporary, and often don't have larger implications.

We Say Goodbye To Detective Munch, Umpire Wally Bell

Sgt. John Munch is turning in his badge on Law & Order SVU Wednesday night. Actor Richard Belzer has played Munch for 15 seasons on the show. And we remember veteran baseball umpire Wally Bell, who died of a heart attack this week. He'd been on the job for 21 seasons. Bell was 48.
Nazi sympathizers and anti-fascists clashed in Italy on Tuesday as a Catholic splinter group attempted to hold a funeral for Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke. The former SS captain oversaw one of the worst massacres in German-occupied Italy. Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the Nazi roundup of Roman Jews.
The man the U.S. alleges is the top al-Qaida operative who orchestrated the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has pleaded not guilty to the charges at a federal court in Manhattan. The case has brought the High Value Interrogation Group back into the spotlight. It was created by the Obama administration to extract valuable intelligence from terrorists, but national security experts say there have been too few cases to judge its promise.
Revelations about the NSA's online surveillance have upset many countries, and some want to exercise greater control over the Internet. But experts say the likely result would be greater surveillance worldwide.

Fitch Places U.S. Under Review For A Credit Downgrade

The main reason? The debacle in Washington. The credit ratings agency — one of the big three — said "faith" in the credit of the country is in danger.

Banks Ease Purse Strings On Luxury Home Loans

For the first time in decades, interest rates for jumbo home loans are lower than rates for a typical mortgage. And because of that, the luxury market is the fastest growing sector of home loans. In Phoenix, sales of homes that cost more than $500,000 are up 64 percent.

Arkansas Aims To Make Edamame As American As Apple Pie

Edamame beans are a popular Asian appetizer, and they're beginning to get a foothold in the U.S. market. An Arkansas company is now trying to cash in on this edamame boom.

German Businessman Who Built Gummi Empire Dies At 90

In 1945, Hans Riegel took over the gummi bear company founded by his father. He transformed Haribo from a local German candy company to a household name recognized around the world.

Congress Keeps Working As Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears

This could be the last day the United States is assured of its borrowing authority. Congress could forestall this crisis by raising the debt ceiling, as it has roughly a hundred times before. But the debt ceiling is tied to the same confrontation that's kept much of the federal government shut down.

China Gives Mesaured Response To Possible U.S. Default

China is the biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt — totaling more than $1.3 trillion. Chinese media are using the American budget struggle as an implicit justification for China's system.
The possibility of an American default on its debt is huge news across the continent. Europe is barely emerging from its own debt crisis. Europe's recovery rests on demand for its exports and the U.S. is by far the European Union's largest export market.
Two recent operations in Libya and Somalia offer a vivid example of how members of U.S. Special Operations are being deployed around the world to go after terrorists. Renee Montagne talks to author Jeremy Scahill about his newest book, Dirty Wars, which is about the rise of special forces.
The record-breaking wildfire in Yosemite National Park is calling attention to a problem found across the West: Forests are overloaded with fuel after a century of putting out fires. What to do about that is fueling its own heated debate.

Debt Ceiling Deal Depends On U.S. Senate

The Senate has been working on a bipartisan deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. But House conservatives have signaled they might not go along with a Senate deal. Steve Inskeep talks to Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia about how he thinks the impasse can be resolved.

A Graduate Student's Odyssey From Gaza To Indianapolis

Fida'a Abuassi has finally made it to the U.S. for graduate school at the University of Indianapolis. She should have been here in August, but was stuck at home in the Gaza Strip, the tiny Palestinian enclave bordered by Israel and Egypt. Leaving Gaza is rarely easy. But since the military takeover in Egypt, it's become nearly impossible.

You Asked For It: Frank Deford's Top 12 List

Commentator Frank Deford responds to suggestions of things he should comment on. Here, he takes on the Washington Redskins' name; high school football games on national TV; hockey fights; Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame; and the tradition of pouring Gatorade on winning coaches.

There's A New Kind Of Sign Spinner In Town

You're driving down the street, and there on the corner, something familiar: a person waving a giant advertisement. Wait, that's not a real person! In cities across the country, sign-waving mannequins are helping to advertise things like cash for gold, furniture and apartments.

Senate Expected To Announce Deal To Raise Debt Limit

Senate leaders are expected to announce that they have reached an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
Maybe you've seen Steve Horgan, the cop on duty as the Red Sox played the Tigers in the league championship series. Boston's David Ortiz hit a home run. Video caught Officer Horgan, arms in the air, celebrating even as Detroit's Torii Hunter flipped over the wall in a vain effort to catch the ball and tumbled near the officer's feet. In Boston, that triumphant pose is now called Horganing.

Snorkeler Shocked To See 18-Foot Oarfish

A snorkeler off the coast of California found more than she bargained for on the ocean floor Sunday, when she saw the large eyes of an 18-foot fish staring back at her. It turned out to be a dead oarfish, a mysterious creature known to live in waters thousands of feet deep.
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