Morning Edition

Weekdays 5:00am-9:00am

89.1 WEMU presents Morning Edition from NPR.  David Fair, WEMU News Director,  keeps you up to date on all the latest news, traffic and weather in your neighborhood.  

NPR brings you news from around the country and the world.  Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne take you around the globe for the stories you'll be talking about all day.  While they are out traveling, David Greene can be heard as regular substitute host. 

WEMU features include Green Room, Issues of the Environment and Cinema Chat.  Heard regularly on Morning Edition are some of the most familiar voices including news analyst Cokie Roberts and sport commentator Frank Deford as well as the special series StoryCorps, which travels the country recording America's oral history.

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.

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.

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.

Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.

When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.

North Korea's army has been swearing oaths of loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un after he was given the new title of marshal of the nation, cementing his position. This comes just days after the army chief was dismissed for illness. Analysts suspect these announcements are masking far deeper changes, but there's disagreement about what it means.

Back in 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That's when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7.

The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Boston Bill, tell me about the day that we met," says Jake, now 12.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Two young Seattle men came back from a trip to Canada bearing gifts - six chocolate eggs known as Kinder Surprise eggs, because each has a plastic toy inside. They got their own surprise when they reached the U.S. border and agents informed them each egg carried a $2,500 fine. The men told KOMO News they were eventually allowed across without a fine and without the eggs, which are banned in the U.S. as a choking hazard. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Cumberland Farms put giant photo cutouts of David Hasselhoff in front of their stores across New England and Florida. The 60-year-old star of Baywatch and Knight Rider is shown smiling, wearing a tank top and promoting iced coffee. Of 570 photos, roughly 550 have been stolen.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's learn more, now, about an attack in Bulgaria. Seven people were killed, we're told, among them, five Israelis, in a suspected suicide bombing. It happened at a seaside resort town called Burgos. More than 30 more people were injured by this explosion. Israel is calling it a terrorist attack and says it suspects Iran or Muslim extremists. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro joins us on the line, now, from Tel Aviv.

Hi, Lourdes.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Good morning.

The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to hear more now about the woman taking the reins of one of Silicon Valley's most famous and challenged companies. Marissa Mayer took the tech world by surprise this week when it was announced she was taking the CEO job at Yahoo. The buzz grew louder when it came out she's pregnant and planning on working during her maternity leave.

Mayer is known for being one of Google's first employees and its first female engineer. NPR's Laura Sydell has this profile of Mayer and what she brings to her new job at Yahoo.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The civil rights organization co-founded by Martin Luther King Junior meets in Sanford, Florida today for its annual convention. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has struggled in recent years with leadership battles and declining membership. Now members want to rebrand the SCLC. Here's NPR's Kathy Lohr.

American Nancy Williams and Sudanese Rudwan Dawod met in South Sudan, where they were both working. The two fell in love and married, and they're expecting their first child in September. But while Nancy Williams Dawod is home in Oregon, her husband, who has U.S. residency, is in detention in Sudan, facing terrorism charges and possibly a death sentence.

He is due to appear in court next week.

Interest Rate Scandal Follow Up

Jul 19, 2012

An influential group of bankers comes up with the critical interest rate known as the LIBOR. The world uses it as a benchmark for how much to charge consumers on mortgages and other loans. For more on how the rate is set, Renee Montagne talks to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times.

The Last Word In Business

Jul 19, 2012

United Airlines posted a deal last week that got Brian Kelly's attention. He writes a blog about frequent flyer miles called "The Points Guy." The flight he was looking at was to Hong Kong that would require four frequent flyer miles.

An Update On Syrian Bombing

Jul 19, 2012

The opposition in Syria delivered a powerful blow to President Bashar Assad's regime Wednesday. A bomb attack killed the country's top security officials. Renee Montagne talks to Liz Sly of The Washington Post about the ongoing clashes.

Business News

Jul 19, 2012

Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman was appointed vice president at the peak of the democracy uprising in January of 2011. The official Middle East News Agency said in a brief report that Suleiman died at a U.S. hospital early Thursday.

Part 4 in a four-part series

The human tissue industry has created medical advances for millions of Americans. Tissue taken from cadavers is turned into medical products for the living. A tendon can be used to repair a torn ACL. Veins are used in heart bypass operations. Bone can be turned into plates and screws. They look like something you'd find in a hardware store, but these get used to mend a broken leg. It's a $1 billion-a-year industry that attracts the altruistic, but sometimes the greedy.

President Obama's campaign continues to hammer presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney over the GOP challenger's refusal to release more of his tax returns. Romney has provided one year's record and promised a second year's worth of returns. But even some of his fellow Republicans now say that's not enough.

Earlier this month, 25-year-old Farida Afridi, who ran an organization that provides information for women about their rights, was gunned down in the street, near the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. No one has been arrested for this killing. In all likelihood no one will be.

On July 4, Afridi was leaving her home to go to her office in Peshawar. What happened next shocked the local community, says Zar Ali Khan, who heads a consortium of activist groups in Peshawar.

The Garden of Peace cemetery opened when the Islamic community in Flint, Mich., needed a place to bury their dead in accordance with their religion. After operating for only a couple of years, the cemetery has already welcomed a diverse group of American Muslims.

Tucked in the left corner of an open field, on a breezy, buggy, warm summer morning in Flint, lie parallel rows of identical headstones. There are roughly 30 of them, all facing the same direction.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.

In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.

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