Renee Montagne

Politics In The News

Jul 16, 2012

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President Obama will be in the swing state of Ohio again today. He'll be holding his first big town hall meeting of the campaign in Cincinnati. And the president will likely continue his campaign attack against Mitt Romney's record of what Democrats characterize as sending jobs overseas while he was the head of Bain Capital. Over the weekend, the president said he would not apologize for those attacks.

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Across the border in Syrian, reports of clashes between the army and rebels overnight in a neighborhood in Damascus. It was some of the heaviest fighting so far in the capital, according to residents and activists who say the army for the first time bombarded one neighborhood with mortars.

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The largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, this morning released its second quarter results. It's net income was $5 billion, but it turns out that loses in a failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader were much higher than what the bank originally said the loss would be. In fact, JPMorgan lost $4.4 billion last quarter on those risky trades.

As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, that's not the full extent of the firm's damage.

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The 100 meters is the fastest running event in Olympic track and field. But for the last nine days, the women's 100 at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials in Eugene, Oregon has been stalled by a much talked about tie. Today, finally, a resolution. Sprinters Alyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will race in a run-off to break their tie for third place in the 100 they first ran two Saturday's ago. First one to cross the finish line today makes the U.S. women's 100 team. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us to talk about this.

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For the Miami Heat, it's three down, one to go. Last night in Miami, the Heat pulled within one win of an NBA championship, with 104 to 98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. That gives Miami a 3-to-1 lead in the series and a comforting statistic for Heat fans to think about until tomorrow night's game 5. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now to talk about it.

Good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi.

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One thing about the economic pain Spain, and other EU countries, are now experiencing - it's offering something of a break to President Obama in this campaign season, where he's trying to fend off Republican attacks on his handling of the sluggish American economy. In a White House press conference this morning, the president was able to point to Europe's financial woes as a drag on the economy here in the U.S.

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.

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For the second straight year, one of the NBA's greatest players is leaving the playoff party early. Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers are out. Last night, they lost their second round series against the young and explosive Oklahoma City Thunder, four games to one. The Thunder's big three - Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden - combined for 70 points in Oklahoma City's 106-90 win. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now on the line.

Good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi.

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And now we go to southern Afghanistan for an update on an incident that threatened to undermine America's mission in this country. In March, an American soldier massacred villagers near a remote outpost west of Kandahar. An Army sergeant, Robert Bales, is in custody, accused of that crime.

I reached NPR's Tom Bowman who is in Kandahar now, just back from the area where Sgt. Bales was assigned.

And Tom, I understand you were just a mile or two from where those killings took place.

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News is slowly spreading across Afghanistan of President Obama's midnight visit to Kabul. And Afghans woke up this morning to a darker kind of news as well - that car bomb attack on a foreign aid compound little more than a mile from where the two presidents met hours earlier. NPR Kabul bureau chief Quil Lawrence joins me here in Kabul.

And let's start with this morning's attack. Tell us what you know about it at this point in time.

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The scandal that's engulfed Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is taking center stage in London, at the Royal Courts of Justice, once again. Here, his son James Murdoch.

JAMES MURDOCH: I swear by the mighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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We're going to hear now from a religious leader revered by Tibetan Buddhists and admired by countless others - the 14th Dalai Lama. A year ago he stepped down as the political leader of Tibet's government in exile to devote himself to spreading a spiritual message of compassion and peace. Still, he's been drawn into talking about violence since a wave of deadly protests swept through the Tibetan areas of China.

Wired reports that "sushi bots" were among the eye-catching products at the World Food and Beverage Great Expo, which just wrapped up in Tokyo.

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan on a long-planned trip that has turned into something of a fence-mending mission. A U.S. soldier is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. That attack is the latest in a series of negative events involving U.S. forces.

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The U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan. It's a long-planned trip that's turned into something of a fence-mending mission. Yesterday, Panetta met with U.S. Marines and Afghan troops in the southern province of Helmand.

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Let's devote the next few minutes to the subject that President Obama began his press conference on, the U.S. housing market. The president pointed out that in many ways the U.S. economy is looking up. But...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: There are still millions of Americans who can't find a job. There are millions more who are having a tough time making the rent or the mortgage, paying for gas or groceries. So our job in Washington isn't to sit back and do nothing. And it's certainly not to stand in the way of the recovery.

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Lawyers for BP, and thousands of people affected by the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill, had been expected, for a long time, to be in a New Orleans courtroom this morning for a civil trial. Instead, they're reviewing a deal to settle the case.

BP estimates it would pay nearly $8 billion in the settlement. In exchange, the company would avoid revisiting, in a courtroom, what led up to the drilling rig explosion that killed 11 men and poured massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. American democracy activists held in Egypt are headed home today. The nongovernmental organizations whose employees were being held confirmed that the travel ban had been lifted. The workers were being held in Egypt on charges of fomenting unrest. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo, and she joins us now on the line.

Soraya, how many people are leaving Egypt altogether - I mean Americans?

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This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Senegal, on the coast of West Africa, has been something of a model of stability for a region known for its volatility. But this past week has brought protests and violence to Senegal after demonstrations over a presidential election this coming weekend led to clashes with riot police. We've got NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the line from the capital Dakar to tell us what is going on there.

Good morning, Ofeibea.

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Let's talk more about where Rick Santorum stands and about his rivals, with NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, we just heard from Sonari that Rick Santorum has surged in Michigan, and that would be, of course, Mitt Romney's native state. And that is one that Romney really cannot afford to lose. So what is he doing to stop Santorum, as of today, and what's it looking like?

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