It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
President Obama put tax reform back on the table this week. He called for changes to the corporate tax system. Tax rates would go down for companies, deductions would go away - many of them, and companies with overseas operations would find it a little harder not to pay.
New Hampshire, one of the least religious states in the nation, has become the latest front in the political battle over contraception. State GOP leaders oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. They want to change a 12-year-old state law that requires contraceptive coverage under insurers' prescription drug policies.
It's hard to miss the politics fueling state House Speaker William O'Brien's push to carve out a religious exemption from the contraception mandate.
A Yemeni man shows his ink-stained thumb after he voted in the presidential election in Yemen's capital on Feb. 21. The one-candidate election ends President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year hard-line rule.
Credit Mohammed Huwais / AFP/Getty Images
Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will be the new head of state steering Yemen out of a crisis that followed the year-old anti-government uprising.
Yemen has become the latest Arab country to depose its dictator.
On Monday, the country's longtime president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is set to hand power to his vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, as part of an agreement reached late last year. The agreement was backed by the U.S., Europe and Yemen's powerful Gulf Arab neighbors. It was ratified by more than 60 percent of Yemen's voters earlier this week.
Protesters against government austerity measures march in front of the Finance Ministry in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month. The country's debt crisis has prompted Portuguese workers to look to their country's former colonies for jobs.
Credit Patricia de Melo Moreira / AFP/Getty Images
Portugal's minister of foreign affairs, Paulo Portas (right), meets with his Angolan counterpart, Georges Chikoti, during a press conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010. A growing number of Portuguese workers are seeking employment in their country's former, resources-rich African colony.
Credit Patricia de Melo Moreira / AFP/Getty Images
Portugal is burdened with such big debts that some are calling it "the next Greece." Unemployment is soaring, and the debt continues to rise, despite draconian austerity measures.
But Portugal has something Greece doesn't have: former colonies, rich in natural resources and in need of labor, both skilled and unskilled. And in a type of role reversal, some Portuguese are now traveling to those places in hopes of improving their lives.
Antonio Valerio, who is studying pharmaceutical science at a university, is among those who see no future in Portugal.
Philadelphia's financially troubled newspapers — the jointly owned Inquirer and Daily News — may be sold for the fourth time in six years. Circulation and advertising are down. A new set of layoffs has been announced, and the papers' newsrooms are about to be combined with the news site Philly.com.
But reporters and editors there are outraged by something else: the actions of their own publisher to influence their coverage of the company's sale.
Alexander Payne's <em>The Descendants </em>has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editor and Best <em></em>Actor. Payne co-wrote and directed the film, which stars George Clooney as an indifferent dad struggling to raise two daughters.
Credit Tiziana Fabi / AFP/Getty Images
Matt King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu lawyer left alone with his two girls after his wife falls into a coma.
Credit Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight
Life is a "collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments," Payne says. "We just need to pay attention to them all." Above, Payne stops at a farmers market near his home in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Credit Cindy Carpien / NPR
Payne heads off for a luncheon at the American Film Institute during what he says is an atypically busy week leading up to the Oscars.
Alexander Payne watches a movie every day — or tries to, anyway. Lately, the writer and director of The Descendants has been busy going to nomination and awards dinners, in advance of Sunday's Oscar night — when the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay prizes could be his.
To help U.S. troops ease back into civilian life, veteran Anthony Bravo Esparza offers them a haircut, and a safe and friendly place to hang out. Esparza — known to his friends as "Dreamer" — sees it as a way to help former soldiers find their way.
Dreamer's barbershop is easy to find; it's set up inside a trailer in the parking lot of the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Tuesday is the next big day for Republicans in choosing their presidential nominee, with primaries in Michigan and Arizona.
Then there's an even bigger day a week later: March 6 is this year's Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses. Possibly the most consequential one will be in the swing state of Ohio. It has 66 delegates at stake, and it will also be a key battleground in November.
The situation in Syria is one of desperation, death and constant danger, a Syrian activist told All Things Considered's Melissa Block.
The activist, who goes by Abo Bakr, said he was in the house where journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed.
"We were hearing so many explosions around us, but then the sounds got closer until one rocket hit the backyard of the house," Bakr said. "Then rockets started hitting the roof, and that resulted in the roof falling down completely."
Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of President Obama and shout anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Afghans have been rioting for three days after word that several Qurans were desecrated at a NATO base. The U.S. says the burning of the Qurans was accidental.
It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.
Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.
A proposed settlement has been reached in a big class-action lawsuit against Monsanto. The case is connected to the company's production of the controversial herbicide "Agent Orange," the defoliant the military sprayed over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Flames rise from a house, the result of Syrian government shelling, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria, on Wednesday, in this image provided by citizen journalists to the Local Coordination Committees.
Credit Local Coordination Committees in Syria / AP
Tony Gangi gave up a successful career in publishing in order to impale himself.
With his wife Suzanne's permission, he went from having a secure 9 to 5 job to following his dream of wowing audiences by doing shock-worthy things to his own body.
"Ladies and gentlemen, what I'm about to do is a 4,000-year-old art and it's known as sword swallowing," Gangi, also known as The Amazing Human Head, tells a crowd at a Salem, Mass., performance. "Oh no!" a child in the audience exclaims.
Fifteen miles from the border of Mexico, the city of El Centro in California's Imperial Valley has something most hard luck small towns don't: the Blue Angels.
For 45 years, the city has been the winter training home of the Navy's flight demonstration squadron. The "Blues," as the locals call them, have been an enduring source of pride for the desert community.
The "hay bales" is a dusty crop field a stone's throw from the runways of El Centro's Naval Air Facility. Lisa Gallinat has been watching the Blue Angels from here ever since she was a kid.
Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University, testifies Thursday about contraceptives and insurance coverage during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Congress is in recess this week, but that didn't stop House Democrats from holding a hearing to take testimony from a Georgetown law student who was barred from testifying in last week's hearing about President Obama's policy on contraceptives, health insurance and religiously affiliated organizations.
There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.
The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.
Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin often traveled by herself to the front lines of conflicts to interview civilians trapped by war. Colvin, who was killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, is shown here in Cairo in an undated photo.
Credit Ivor Prickett / AP
War correspondents traditionally covered conflicts by traveling with armies. Here, Associated Press reporter Chris Tomlinson, (right) is shown with U.S. forces in Iraq in 2003. But in many modern wars, reporters operate independently on the rebel side of the fighting, which raises the risks.
Credit John Moore / AP
<em>New York Times</em> journalist Anthony Shadid often wrote about ordinary citizens caught up in war zones. Shadid (center), who died last week in Syria, is shown here talking to Egyptians in Cairo during the revolution that toppled then-President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 3:26 pm
War correspondents have always been at the short end of the actuarial tables. Life insurance salesmen do not pester them. No war is safe, and no correspondent is bulletproof.
But the rules of the game have been changing, and the recent deaths in Syria of two prominent correspondents, Anthony Shadid of The New York Times and Marie Colvin, an American working for Britain's Sunday Times, show how this line of work has grown even riskier.
Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.
Facing a financial crisis, the United States Postal Service announced that 223 processing facilities have been "found feasible for consolidation, all or in part." Of the 264 processing facilities studied, only 35 are set to remain open.
On Wednesday, President Obama and a number of special guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is expected to open in 2015.
West Virginia's Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has issued what is now the fourth investigative report on the April, 2010, Upper Big Branch mine explosion. It largely agrees with the earlier reviews, but in language that's tepid in comparison.