Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with news analysis by Vladimir Putin. Russia's president supports removing Syria's chemical weapons but denies Syria used them. And now, he's defending Silvio Berlusconi. The former Italian prime minister was convicted of paying for sex with a minor. And yesterday, Putin suggested Berlusconi was a victim of discrimination. He said Berlusconi was put on trial for living with women, and the prosecutors, quote, "wouldn't touch them if they were gay."
The president of Sudan wants the U.S. to give him a visa so he can come to New York next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly. For most heads of state, no problem. But Omar al-Bashir faces arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court, accusing him of genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region. So the question of whether to grant President Bashir a visa has put the U.S. in a diplomatic bind.
With us now is Colum Lynch. He covers the U.N. for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy.com. Good morning.
Hassan Rouhani ran on a promise of getting his country out from under the weight of sanctions, embargoes and other financial weapons from the West that have crippled that country's economy. Since taking office, he has been striking a more conciliatory note than his predecessor, especially toward the U.S. For more, Renee Montagne talks with Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating the budget, and another pressing issue: whether to raise the debt ceiling. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told David Greene that those unresolved issues pose a risk to the global economy. On Monday, Morning Edition will air the interview with Lagarde.
German voters are expected to elect Chancellor Angela Merkel to a third term on Sunday. Now, if she wins, Merkel, who is a former physicist, will be on the path to becoming Europe's longest-serving female head of government. The prospect of another four years of Merkel unsettles many Europeans outside Germany. But she is respected at home. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent us this profile from Berlin of the woman the German media call Mutti, or mommy of the nation.
Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis has stunned the Catholic world. In a long and blunt interview, the pope said that the Catholic Church should not be - as he put it - obsessed with abortion, contraception and gay marriage. The interview appeared yesterday in Jesuit journals across the world. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Rome. And Sylvia, do the pope's comments change church policies on issues of sexual morality?
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:47 am
Wells Fargo has told 1,800 employees their services will no longer be needed in the bank's mortgage unit. The bank already cut more than 2,000 jobs in that unit last month. Wells Fargo cites lower demand for refinancing because of higher mortgage rates.
There's big money in fantasy sports. Last year, alone, people paid $1.7 billion to play in fantasy leagues. With all that money sloshing around, a fantasy economy has sprung up, giving rise to real businesses. Here are four of them.
The Insurance Company
Henry Olszewski founded Fantasy Sports Insurance in 2008 — the year the financial system nearly collapsed. And, more importantly, the year New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered a serious hit to the knee.
Want to visit Paris and Venice in the same afternoon?
You can, if you're in China.
Chinese developers have for years built residential communities that mimic famous European cities and towns. They are the subject of a new book, Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China.
Backing a losing NFL team isn't just bad for your pride.
It's bad for your waistline.
A study that links sports outcomes with the eating behavior of fans finds that backers of NFL teams eat more food and fattier food the day after a loss. Backers of winning teams, by contrast, eat lighter food, and in moderation.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:19 pm
It was a day when most in Congress were obsessed with an increasingly likely government shutdown that would be of lawmakers' own making. But not the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The GOP-controlled panel held a marathon six-hour hearing on what South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy called the most important issue of all to the folks back home: the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead just over a year ago.
A few weeks ago we shared a piece of NPR calendar art such a long time coming that its roots can be traced back to a time of cassette tapes. Turns out, we've got another talented artist adding to the 2014 NPR Wall Calendar who had big dreams at an early age.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:00 pm
USIS, a private company that performs thousands of background checks annually for the federal government, said it was responsible for a 2007 background check on Aaron Alexis, the man police say killed 12 people during a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:51 pm
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to slash $40 billion from the federal food stamp program.
GOP lawmakers cited what they said was widespread abuse of the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is intended to help poor individuals and families buy groceries.
The vote to cut food stamps came on a party line vote of 217-200.
"It's wrong for working, middle-class people to pay" for abuse of the program, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:40 pm
The new iPhone 5s makes its debut Friday, but already a group of hackers has put a bounty on its head.
The website istouchidhackedyet.com is offering a reward of more than $14,000 (so far), a couple of off-color books and some bottles of booze to anyone who proves he can hack into Apple's new fingerprint ID system. The challenge: Lift a fingerprint from a beer glass or some other surface and use it to trick the phone into unlocking.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:25 pm
By the middle of the century, the number of older people suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia will nearly triple, severely straining caregiving resources, the charity Alzheimer's Disease International says in a new study released Thursday.
Currently, some 100 million people globally suffer from the potentially fatal disease. That number is expected to increase to 277 million by 2050, as the graying population increases, The World Alzheimer's Report 2013 says.
On Tuesday, famed evolutionary scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins' new book — a memoir called An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist — will be published here in the United States. (It came out in the United Kingdom on September 12.) Spanning the years from Dawkins' birth in Kenya in 1941 to the publication of his bestseller The Selfish Gene in 1976, the book tells the story of how Dawkins fell in love with learning and then science.