In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.
Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.
Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.
The extended interview above includes parts one and two of the Morning Edition interview, plus additional material.
J.K. Rowling has a new novel. She's moved away from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose stories prompted millions of kids to obsess over books big enough to serve as doorstops. Having concluded that series, she's written a novel for grown-ups called The Casual Vacancy, a story of troubled teenagers and their even more troubled parents.
Earlier today, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly while Israelis openly debate a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and President Obama warned yesterday that time for diplomacy was not unlimited. President Ahmadinejad did not directly mention his country's nuclear program nor did he address the sanctions that strain Iran's economy. He did denounce what he called the hegemony of arrogance and laid out his vision for a new world order.
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:24 pm
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement are working to eliminate human trafficking. How that happens and how they help victims, from the sex trade to agricultural work, differs. Writer Noy Thrupkaew, WGBH reporter Phillip Martin and Amy Bennett Williams of The News-Press explain.
After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.
"I thought it would be healthy to live vicariously through a bank robber at that moment that bankers were ruining the world," Moehringer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
In his first historical novel, Sutton, Moehringer writes from the point of view of Willie Sutton, whom he calls the "greatest American bank robber."
Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 7:46 am
The New Rope String Band makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Based in the U.K., New Rope first came to the attention of Mountain Stage host Larry Groce by recommendation of Tim O'Brien, when the show traveled to Scotland as part of the 2011 Celtic Connections festival.
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:04 pm
Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.
Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.