5:38am

Fri July 20, 2012
Business

GM Retirees Face Crucial Pension Deadline

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You've got to escape from your Escape.

Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.

Read more

4:39am

Fri July 20, 2012
Economy

Tough Austerity Plan Incites Spanish Protesters

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Spain, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in scores of cities yesterday, protesting austerity measures meant to pull the government out of the red. Sales tax is going up, and civil servants are taking pay cuts. All this as Europe readies a bailout of Spain of up to $125 billion.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: About 100,000 Spaniards flooded Madrid's center once the sun went down on another 100-degree day.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR CANNONS)

Read more

4:39am

Fri July 20, 2012
Business

Business News

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a recall from Ford.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: A recall from Ford Motor Company comes with a strong and unusual message. If you own a certain 2013 model of the Ford Escape, the company says stop driving it. Ford issued this warning yesterday and said dealers will come pick up the SUVs from owners and drop off a loaner car.

Read more

4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

Drought Affects Large Swaths Of U.S.

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Colorado has been at the center of another devastating story in recent days -the worst wildfires in its history. Those fires are just one consequence of record heat in a drought that has spread across the Rockies and the Midwest. Local news is filled with pictures of farmers gripping shriveled ears of corn and boats marooned in empty reservoirs. It's a drought that will go down in history, much like that of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and another in the 1950s that hit the central plains and the Southwest.

Read more

4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

An Update On the Syrian Free Army

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In other news this morning, the Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for the bombing attack in Damascus earlier this week. To learn more about the group, we reached Amr al Azm. He's a Syrian activist and professor of history at Shawnee State University.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Who is the Free Syrian Army exactly?

Read more

4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

Syrian Fighting Spreads Across Damascus

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 3:41 pm

A gunman opened fire early Friday at a movie theater in a Denver suburb, killing at least 12 people and leaving dozens more injured, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. Steve Inskeep talks to Chayyiel Jackson about the shooting.

3:44am

Fri July 20, 2012
Planet Money

Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 11:06 am

The health of public pension plans — the retirement plans for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state and local governments — has gotten plenty of attention lately.

Some plans are hurting, and numbers from state and local governments suggest their public pension plans are underfunded by about $1 trillion.

But that gap between what they owe and what they have on hand today is about to look bigger — much bigger, in some cases.

Read more

3:41am

Fri July 20, 2012
The Veepstakes

Jindal's Story Intrigues, But Can It Get Him A VP Nod?

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Mention Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and a lot of people still remember his 2009 Republican response to President Obama's first address to Congress. In a voice often compared to Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock, Jindal addressed viewers across the nation as if they were primary school students.

Read more

3:40am

Fri July 20, 2012
U.S.

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Pedestrians stand along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The state has gotten a reprieve from more than a year of drought.
Eric Gay AP

While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.

"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

Read more

3:35am

Fri July 20, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Olympians' Dilemma: 'Starve My Soul' For Ramadan?

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Mohammed Ahmed runs at the NCAA championships in June in Des Moines, Iowa. He's representing Canada at the Olympics and had to decide whether to fast for Ramadan this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.

But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.

Read more

Pages