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Morning Edition is your perfect morning companion: gentle, but straightforward, explaining the vagaries of international diplomacy, reporting weather and even recommending the best film in town. Mornings and hard news can coexist in peace. Morning hosts make complex news digestible to millions of listeners who have yet to finish their first cup of coffee. Whether the story breaks in Bosnia or Brooklyn, news reports with on-the-spot sound create a complete picture for your ears.

Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."

Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.

Russia is still the world's largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has stalled and to get to new supplies requires going to a very difficult place — the Arctic.

"If you want to be in this business in 2020, 2025, you must think about the Arctic," says Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow.

The Day Taps Echoed Through Belgium's Hills

May 25, 2012

During World War II, Harrison Wright served with the Army in Europe. And as he recalls during a visit to StoryCorps with his grandson Sean Guess, he was sent on a very special assignment to mark the end of the war.

Wright was drafted in March 1943.

"I was an 18-year-old boy," he says. "I blew the bugle in our outfit," he adds, largely because he had played the trumpet in high school.

Safeway Meat Clerk Reinstated After Fight

May 24, 2012

Ryan Young saw a pregnant woman being kicked by her boyfriend. He leaped out from behind the meat counter and intervened. Safeway suspended him, citing a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence. But after the union took up his cause and people boycotted the store, Safeway reinstated Young, calling his action "commendable."

Chuck Shriner was about to receive his diploma from Fort Myers Catholic School in Florida when he dropped to one knee, and struck the praying pose made famous by quarterback Tim Tebow. Shriner won a $5 bet but lost the chance to get his diploma onstage.

'Star Wars' Turns 35 On Friday

May 24, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's talk about another icon, one with a light saber. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of "Star Wars." Thirty-five years ago, moviegoers first paid to see a tale from a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It changed the life of John Booth, author of "Collect All 21: Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek."

JOHN BOOTH: There were no space movies to me before "Star Wars."

INSKEEP: And then came "Star Wars 1."

MONTAGNE: Actually, Steve, that's "Star Wars 4."

The Last Word In Business

May 24, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is Robocop car.

American customers have not been able to buy a new Chevrolet Caprice since 1996. Now the car is back, as a police car. The 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Detective goes beyond the old black-and-white. Its computer system is voice activated, "Knight Rider"-style. It has eight cameras positioned to scan thousands of license plates per shift, which police computers can then check against a database to find if drivers have outstanding warrants or tickets.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers resumed this morning in Baghdad. The United States and its allies are pressing Iran to freeze its production of highly enriched uranium, but are refusing to offer the kind of easing of economic sanctions that Iran is seeking as a concession. These talks are described as long and hard, and NPR's Peter Kenyon is covering them in Baghdad, Iraq. Hi, Peter.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Morning, Steve.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The first free presidential election in Egypt is in its second day. Thirteen candidates are vying to replace Hosni Mubarak in what many there say is a wide-open race. The last election in 2005 saw Mubarak winning 87 percent of the vote against another candidate, a candidate he later threw in jail. Voter turnout yesterday was so strong, election officials kept polling stations open across Egypt for an additional hour.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A lot of housing news is out this week and all of it is looking surprisingly good. Sales of new and older homes both saw gains. And two reports showed prices rising.

NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: The question is: Can this last? And some people who've studied housing for decades think that maybe it can.

William Weaton is an economist at MIT.

Business News

May 24, 2012

The world's leading PC manufacturer has announced it will lay off 27,000 workers over the next two years — a third of those job cuts will be in the U.S. The CEO of Hewlett-Packard says the layoffs are part of a restructuring that will include greater spending on research and development.

Historically, the veteran and military vote has gone Republican. In 2008, for example, while losing the presidency, John McCain — a war hero — won 55 percent of this vote.

This year, the Obama campaign thinks it can close the gap.

For one thing, neither candidate is a veteran. And the campaign is hoping to capitalize on a generational change in the military. Four years ago, although he lost the veteran vote overall, President Obama won among vets under age 60.

The Ramones were there at the birth of punk rock.

None of the Ramones were actually related, but they all changed their last names to Ramone. They wore matching skinny jeans and leather jackets, and their songs were short and to the point, with hooks that are still impossibly catchy. The band's first album stunned listeners and critics. Joey Ramone described its influence in a 1991 interview in Finland that's posted on YouTube.

Bankrupt In Paradise

May 24, 2012

The Northern Mariana Islands are about 4,000 miles west of Hawaii. They look like the kind of tropical islands you see in the movies with bright blue water and white sand beaches.

The people who live on the islands are American. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a U.S. territory. And just like a lot of U.S. states, the commonwealth has a pension plan for its government employees.

Sixto Igisomar used to run it.

The final round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee takes place Thursday, with students between the fourth and eighth grades testing their knowledge of countries, canals and lava lakes. Of the 54 contestants who came to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., for the bee, only 10 remain.

Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Oregon officials are trying to ease the stress of road construction, at least for one resident. Two-point-two miles of the Sunset Highway are being repaved. This could disturb Rose-Tu, a pregnant elephant at the nearby Oregon zoo. The Oregonian reports highway crews will move gingerly, letting Rose-Tu grow accustomed to the noise. They hope to avoid stress from vibrations in her feet and sounds captured by those elephant ears. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The movie being talked about the most at this year's Cannes Film Festival in the south of France is Michael Haneke's Amour. It's the 65th anniversary of the festival.

The Last Word In Business

May 23, 2012

Gucci sued Guess over trademark infringement, citing multiple cases of designs it claimed were "studied imitations of Gucci trademarks

A new casino set to open in Atlantic City, N.J., has announced it will set term limits for its front-line staff. When employees' terms run out, they'll have to go through the hiring process again. The casino says the policy will keep its service fresh. Others say the company is taking advantage of a tough job market.

From bellhops to dealers, employees of the new casino — called Revel — will be hired for terms from four to six years. After that, they have to reapply for their jobs and compete against other candidates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York City to stop requiring fingerprinting of its food stamp recipients, a stance that puts him at odds with the city's mayor, who favors the practice.

Cuomo says fingerprinting stigmatizes needy people and stops them from applying for help. In a recent State of the State speech, Cuomo pledged to stop fingerprinting food stamp recipients this year.

But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says without fingerprinting, fraud would escalate.

There might be no bluegrass music as we know it without Wade Mainer, who died Monday at his home in Flint, Mich., Sept. 12 at age 104.

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