The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue August 2, 2011

In Light Of Budget Deal, Fitch Ratings Says U.S. Keeps Triple-A Rating

The budget deal struck by President Obama and congressional leaders is enough to merit a triple-A credit rating from Fitch Ratings, one of the three big ratings agencies.

Politico reports:

"Agreement was reached on an increase in the United States' debt ceiling and, commensurate with its 'AAA' rating, the risk of sovereign default remains extremely low," the agency said.

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Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is an NPR international correspondent covering South America for NPR. She is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Previously, she served a NPR's correspondent based in Israel, reporting on stories happening throughout the Middle East. She was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising began and spent months painting a deep and vivid portrait of a country at war. Often at great personal risk, Garcia-Navarro captured history in the making with stunning insight, courage and humanity.

Conflict In Libya
10:52 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Libyan Rebels Wage 'Mad Max' War In The Mountains

A Libyan rebel poses with his antique bolt-action rifle.
Jonathan Levinson for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:36 am

The sleepy towns in the Western Mountains of Libya come to life right before the country's rebels engage in a fight with the forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The mostly deserted roads suddenly fill with pickup trucks. The rebel fighters bristle with the makeshift weapons that they rely on. The vehicles, some monster trucks, then peel off into the front lines deep in the desert, covered in dried mud that serves as camouflage.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Senate Approves Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Plan

A screengrab of CSpan's coverage of the Senate vote.
CSpan

Update at 2:07 p.m. ET. President Signs Bill:

President Obama has signed into law a bi-partisan bill that raises the debt ceiling and avoids a government default that analysts as well as the White House warned could have had catastrophic effects on the American economy.

Earlier today, the Senate voted 74-26 to send the bill to the president's desk. The AP reports Obama signed the bill privately in the Oval Office.

Our Original Post:

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Tue August 2, 2011

U.S. May Alter Rules To Let More Aid Into Somalia

Somali refugees wait at dawn at a registration center at the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya Tuesday, to receive aid after having been displaced from their homes in southern Somalia by famine.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Efforts to help people in southern Somalia, where famine relief efforts have been stymied by al-Shabaab, a group on the U.S. terrorism watchlist, may get easier in the coming weeks. That's because pending changes to U.S. rules will allow aid groups to deliver food in those areas, according to an AP report.

Citing sources who wished to remain anonymous, the AP says:

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The Picture Show
10:36 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Where Does Money Go When It Dies?

Photographs show money that has been removed from circulation.
Will Steacy Courtesy of Michael Mazzeo Gallery

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:36 am

We've all desperately tried to force a crumpled dollar bill into a vending machine to no avail. Fortunately, when your dollar is that decrepit, it's on death's door and will likely be removed from circulation.

The average lifespan of a $1 bill, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is 21 months. Eventually, money is destroyed — either by the Federal Reserve itself, or by the places that create it to begin with: the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the U.S. Mint. On average, 5 million unfit currency notes are destroyed each day.

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Tue August 2, 2011

U.S. Consumers Cut Spending; First Decline In Nearly Two Years

Americans put more of their money into savings in June, at the expense of consumer spending — and that came as a surprise to analysts. The month's drop in spending was the first in nearly two years (20 months).

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Economy
10:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

After Debt Fight, States Crave Stability

The House voted to pass the compromise spending plan Monday night, but drops in federal and state credit ratings remain possible, particularly for South Carolina. To learn about the bill's local ramifications, host Michel Martin speaks with S.C.'s House Rep. for the sixth district, S.C.'s Treasurer, and the mayor Columbia, S.C.

Health Care
10:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Sebelius Defends Birth Control Without Co-Pays

The federal government recently announced that starting Aug. 2012, insurers must offer female preventive health services without extra costs to patients. Host Michel Martin discusses the controversial plan with the Health and Human Services Secretary. Martin also explores what the debt deal means for the Affordable Care Act with a Senior Correspondent from Kaiser Health News.

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:57 am
Tue August 2, 2011

The Physics Of Real Debt Ceilings: When Nature Says No

Pity the politicians as they struggle to a hammer out a deal on the US debt: the endless negotiations, the late agreements that collapse by the morning news cycle. Everywhere they turn they seem to constrained - hemmed in – by forces pulling in every direction.

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