Morning Edition for Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Congressional Panel Probes W.Va. Chemical Spill

State health officials testified Monday before a House field hearing in West Virginia. The members of Congress asked whether tap water is safe to drink, a month after a major chemical spill.

U.S. Delays Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses

The Obama administration on Monday announced yet another postponement in implementing the new federal health care law. This time the administration is giving small businesses affected by the law another year to comply. Businesses with 50 to 99 employees have until 2016 to comply.

House Has 6 Working Days Left To Raise Debt Ceiling

With time running short, House Republicans held a caucus meeting Monday night to map out their plan to deal with the debt limit. Speaker John Boehner last week indicated he would need Democratic votes to pass a debt limit increase because he was not likely to get enough Republican votes to reach a majority.

Twittersphere Lets Us In On Diplomats 'Normal' Banter

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power used Twitter to tweet her Russian counterpart after he made snarky comments about her meeting with members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot. It's the latest high-profile incident of diplomats engaging each other using less than 140 characters. Renee Montagne talks with Alec Ross, former senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, about diplomatic protocol in the era of social media.

Olympic Snowboarders Groove To DJ Naka G

Olympic organizers in Sochi are trying to feature Russian culture but when it comes to music, they've brought in help from the U.S. DJ Naka G from Aspen, Colo., is the man who spins the tunes for the X Games. Sochi flew him in to provide the soundtrack for snowboard events. One catch: the Olympics have some strict rules on what he can play.

Museum Employee Breaks Napoleon's Chair

An employee at a museum on the Mediterranean island of Corsica was tempted to sit in Napoleon's chair. Of course it collapsed. The museum covered up the incident until the chair was fixed.
The World Cup soccer extravaganza being held in Brazil opens in June. And the U.S. team faces a number of challenges. It will face some of the world's best teams and will be doing this in the middle of the Amazon.
In the coming weeks, we'll be offering a periodic look at media organizations which are trying to figure out how to report and present the news while paying for that amid major changes in the industry. In our first story, we hear about a new news organization funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who wants to sustain aggressive investigative reporting. It's called First Look Media.
Renee Montagne talks to Bill Keller, columnist and former executive editor, about his decision to leave The New York Times and help launch a journalism venture focusing on the U.S. criminal justice system called the Marshall Project.

Bad Weather Hurts McDonald's U.S. Sales

McDonald's says U.S. sales fell for the third straight month. The world's largest burger chain reports bad weather hurt its U.S. sales in January, falling 3.3 percent. The chain fared better overseas: Global sales rose 1.2 percent, as the fast food chain continues to expand abroad.
A propane shortage in the Midwest and Northeast has prompted federal regulators to order a pipeline company to stop shipping one product and switch to propane. A cold winter, combined with a late harvest season, prompted the shortage initially. The propane industry has been scrambling since then to get gas to customers who need it.

AOL Reverses Changes To Retirement Contribution

AOL will continue to make retirement contributions with every paycheck. The company's CEO backtracked after making controversial comments about certain employees forcing up the cost of health insurance and forcing the company to make cuts elsewhere. AOL was trying to follow in the footsteps of IBM, which managed to make the change without causing a backlash.

3 New Breeds Compete In Annual Dog Show

The world may be focused on the events in Sochi, but more than 3,000 international competitors have converged on New York City for another prestigious contest: The 138th annual Westminster Dog Show.

Iran Celebrates Revolution's 35th Anniversary

The anniversary comes at a time when Iran's new president appears to be trying to reduce tensions over the country's nuclear program, and seeking closer ties with the West. Renee Montagne talks to Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran bureau chief for The New York Times, about the celebrations in Iran.
Steve Inskeep talks to former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian on the 35th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Mousavian was Iran's ambassador to Germany and a nuclear negotiator until Iran charged him with spying. He fled to the U.S. and recently made his first trip back to Iran in five years.
The two teams will meet Wednesday in an early round game, but they have an intense rivalry that has often turned to heated clashes on the ice. The players are neither embarrassed nor proud of the fighting, but, yes, it could happen again.

Shirley Temple Black Dies At 85

One of the most famous childhood stars of all times, Shirley Temple Black has died. Remembered for her curls and acting talent, she became the face of hope during the Great Depression.

State Dinner To Fete French President Hollande

Tuesday night's State Dinner at the White House in honor of President Francois Hollande appears aimed at wowing him with all things French. Dishes include caviar and quail eggs.
NBC says its coverage of the Winter Olympics has drawn more than 100 million viewers over its first weekend. That indicates lots of interest in the games, which will fill 1,539 hours of coverage across NBC's broadcast network, cable channels and online. We have some suggestions for watching the Sochi Olympics — from the regular network broadcast to cable to the Internet.
The housing bubble in Afghanistan was created by the influx of international organizations and their thousands of workers over the last 12 years. As countries pull out of Afghanistan, rent prices are tumbling, vacancies are soaring and sales have flatlined.

Study: Stereotypes Drive Perceptions Of Race

Governments, schools and companies keep track of your race. The statistics are used to track the proportion of blacks and whites who graduate from school. They tell us how many people identify themselves as Native American or Asian. They help us measure health disparities. But there's a problem with all those statistics — and the deeper way we think about race.

Monastic Life At The Top Of The Charts

When the sisters of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles are not hard at work on their monastery grounds, they're topping the charts with albums of sacred music. "We're not fabricating anything," Mother Cecilia says. "This is just music we're pulling from our everyday life."
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