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Today, NASA launched into orbit what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling a "next generation" weather satellite that they say will fine-tune long-term weather forecasts.

The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang explains:

Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, held its first elections since its longtime dictator was toppled after a popular revolt. The elections were seen as one of the brightest moments in the regional movement.

But, today, it became clear that the path to democracy won't be easy. After the country announced that the Islamist Ennahda party had won 41 percent of the votes and 90 seats of the 217-member assembly, protests erupted across the country.

Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette has a story this morning featuring a rare interview with the U.S. Attorney for West Virginia, who says prosecutors are exploring more serious charges against senior Massey Energy officials in last year's deadly explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch mine.

Consider the last time you ordered a salad at a restaurant. What, precisely, was in it? Chances are you'll remember the biggest, brightest ingredients, like the lettuce, the tomato, maybe the grilled chicken.

But will you remember the little bits — the nuts, berries or toppings? In an age when salads increasingly aspire to be confetti-like piles of artistic greatness, you'd be pardoned if you didn't take note every morsel.

Maybe you haven't heard yet, but the world's population is set to hit 7 billion people on Monday. At least that's what the United Nations Population Fund says.

Most news outlets are already covering the story or have plans to (Morning Edition has a four-part series scheduled for next week).

Two reports this week caught our attention.

The deficit reduction committee, the so-called supercommittee, has less than a month to agree on massive spending cuts and deficit reduction. And so the race is on — not only for lawmakers but for interest groups, trade associations and corporations. An NPR analysis finds there are hundreds of them that want to influence the outcome.

Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act.

For the first time since President Obama signed it into law in March 2010, more than half of those polled — 51 percent — told researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation they had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low.

There was a 0.6 percent increase in consumer spending in September vs. August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. The increase was much larger than the 0.2 pecent gain in August from July.

But personal income grew only 0.1 percent last month — meaning that consumers dug into their savings in order to boost spending. According to the bureau: "Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 3.6 percent in September, compared with 4.1 percent in August."

Officials of the International Criminal Court are having "indirect" talks with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi about his possible surrender, the ICC's prosecutor told The Associated Press and other news outlets today.

Saif al-Islam, one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, once was seen as the heir apparent to the former Libyan dictator.

"Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid," The New York Times reports this morning.

"Sons and daughters of any future U.K. monarch will have equal right to the throne" under royalty succession reforms agreed to today by all 16 Commonwealth countries, the BBC reports.

And under the new rules, British kings and queens will no longer be banned from marrying Roman Catholics — though the rule barring a Catholic from becoming king or queen will remain.

Good morning.

If you're looking for the score and a heads-up on the key moments from last night's World Series action, we've got that here:

-- Cards Win On 11th-Inning Freese Clout; Force Game 7. St. Louis beat Texas 10-9 thanks to a dramatic solo home run in the 11th inning from third baseman David Freese.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

In China, microblogs are transforming the way activists draw attention to human-rights cases. Despite strict Internet controls, netizens are using Chinese Twitter as a powerful tool.

Two recent cases show just how effective microblogs can be in shaping the debate over human-rights abuses and driving citizen activism.

One case involves a chilling video that was recently released online. In it, a man lies under a green quilt, apparently naked. His left eye and right ear are covered with bandages; the skin on his feet is discolored and peeling.

The use of smartphones as e-wallets has caught on elsewhere; now it's spreading in America.

The new Google Wallet app lets shoppers who own Android smartphones pay at the counter with a mere wave at the cash register and without a pocketful of change in return.

When Columbus sailed west in the late 15th century, he launched a long and lucrative relationship between Europe and the Americas. Family ties, economic bonds and shared military goals continue to knit us together.

But as the European debt crisis has deepened, it has highlighted this early 21st century shift: The United States is becoming more of a Pacific Rim country and less of a North Atlantic partner.

In India, a land of ancient monuments, people are talking about a newly built monument for the nation's most marginalized people.

It's a memorial to India's Dalits, the people once called "untouchables," and it was built by the country's most powerful Dalit politician.

The Indian monument best known to Westerners is the Taj Mahal, but the country is bejeweled with magnificent temples and palaces, built by whoever happened to be ruling India at any given time.

This latest monument continues that tradition: It's a colossal domed building carved from pink sandstone.

As details of the Greek debt deal passed by the European Union Wednesday are worked out, some businesses in the U.S. continue to grapple with the ripple effects of the prolonged debt crisis.

The EU hopes the debt deal will contain Europe's debt problems, and the problem countries will now start their work of implementing fiscal reforms — which has proved troublesome, especially in Greece.

The so-called millionaires tax on New York's top wage earners is set to expire at the end of the year, even as the state struggles to balance its books. A poll released Thursday shows that New Yorkers favor extending the tax by more than 2 to 1.

But the millionaires tax also has its opponents, including the state's popular and powerful governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

John Samuelsen, president of New York City's transit workers union, called on lawmakers to extend the millionaires tax during a rally this week outside City Hall in Manhattan.

U.S. stocks had one of their best days in weeks Thursday: The Dow jumped nearly 3 percent and prices in Europe went through the roof. The surge came after the announcement that European leaders finally agreed on a comprehensive plan to tackle their debt problems. Does the rally mean investors think the crisis is over?

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, host: And, of course, this crisis stretches far beyond Greece. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went on national television last night to explain his country's part of the deal. He said the French people must expect further belt-tightening measures. Eleanor Beardsley reports that it was a chance for Sarkozy to assert control just six months ahead of a presidential election.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, host: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro. Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep are away. In Oakland, California, protestors with the Occupy Wall Street movement continue to stand vigil in a downtown plaza in front of City Hall. This week, police fired teargas and bean bags at protestors. The incident is under investigation, and NPR's Carrie Kahn reports that the confrontation has reignited criticism of the Oakland police.

CARRIE KAHN: In the downtown park in front of City Hall, the protestors have changed their tune.

An unpublished study by European scientists has found that the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant may have released much more radioactive active material than the Japanese government estimated.

NPR's Richard Harris filed this report for the Newscast unit:

Farming nowadays is risky business — it's not uncommon for a farmer to invest $500,000 in 1,000 acres of corn or soybeans, and run the risk of losing a chunk of their income to pests or fickle weather events like droughts and floods.

That's why farmers say crop insurance is "the most important safety net program" for them, says Joe Glauber, chief economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As expected, King Abdullah of Egypt has appointed his half-brother, 78-year-old Nayef bin Abdulaziz, crown prince. The news comes, after the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud died on Saturday.

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