It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.
President Obama's push for a military strike on Syria is on hold, at least for now. The administration is exploring a possible diplomatic alternative that calls for Syria to surrender its stockpile of chemical weapons. That could provide a face-saving out for the president, who appeared unlikely to win Congressional approval this week for a strike.
The National Security Agency violated special court restrictions on the use of a database of telephone calls, but the NSA says it fixed those problems. That's the bottom line from more documents declassified by the director of National Intelligence. The document dump is part of an effort to share more details about NSA surveillance activities that were uncovered by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
Since Sept. 11, one of the most effective ways the United States has found to weaken terrorist groups has been to go after their finances. Renee Montagne talks to former Treasury official Juan Zarate, who's new book is: Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.
Diplomats continue to consider a Russian plan to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international control. If nations can agree on the details, the plan could avert a U.S. strike against Syrian targets. But accounting for and destroying Syria's chemical arsenal is a complicated undertaking.
Las Vegas is adding an eye-catching tourist attraction, in the form of a huge wheel that can take more than 1,000 people on a ride 550 feet into the sky over the city's famed Strip. The main construction of the wheel, called the High Roller, is nearly finished; it is expected to open in early 2014.
In a sign of China's growing importance as a market for Apple, the company will be rolling out its new iPhones simultaneously in the U.S. and China for the first time later this month. There are a few signs, however, that the new models will not find the sort of frenzied demand as before.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is swapping out three of its blue chip companies, in what's being called the biggest shake up of the index in almost a decade. Standard & Poor's announced it's dropping Hewlett Packard, Alcoa and Bank of America at the end of next week. Sliding into their places: Visa, Nike and Goldman Sachs.
The other day, I was interviewing an economist who studies the effect college majors have on peoples' income. He was telling me that women often make decisions that lead them to earn less than they otherwise might.
Women are overrepresented among majors that don't pay very well (psychology, art, comparative literature), and underrepresented in lots of lucrative majors (most fields in engineering).
Last week, Sony Corporation announced a new line of high-end audio components that promise to deliver a better online audio experience. The announcement comes amid growing evidence that music fans are tired of the crappy sound they hear on their portable music players. Case in point is the success of Cookie Marenco's business of selling super high-definition music downloads.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:50 pm
Known for its fondue-ready texture and nutty taste, Swiss Gruyere has long been the cheese of choice for cooks who want something as smooth melting as mozzarella but with more complexity. But in the mountains just across the French border, there's another Alpine-style cheese that just might one-up this standard.
A debate is taking place in Iowa over the ability of people who are legally or completely blind to carry guns in public. The issue stems from a 2011 change in the state's gun permit rules, allowing visually impaired people to carry firearms in public.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:38 pm
The poet Langston Hughes liked to wryly describe the Harlem Renaissance — the years from just after World War I until the Depression when black literature and art flourished, fed by an awakening racial pride — as "the period when the Negro was in vogue." Note the past tense. Two new books published Tuesday explore the blossoming of black cultural life in two different decades.
The International Olympic committee (IOC) has elected a new president, Thomas Bach of Germany. He assumes leadership of an organization that faces criticism over politics, costs and what some view as its insular approach to which sports are offered during the games. The new president succeeds Jacques Rogge, who lead the IOC for 12 years.
How feasible is the task of taking control of Syria's chemical arsenal? Could the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention, do it with confidence?
We're going to ask Amy Smithson, who is senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Welcome to the program.