World
6:57 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Regime Hit By Deadly Blast In Damascus

Transcript

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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Sudanese Olympic Runner
6:31 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Northwest Runner Wants To Leverage Olympic Platform To Help South Sudan

Lopez Lomong (second from right) racing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Athletes going to the London Olympics commonly have stories of overcoming adversity. But few can top African-born distance runner Lopez Lomong. The one time "Lost Boy" of Sudan relocated to the Portland area last year. He's running for Team USA, but hopes to leverage Olympic success into greater aid and attention for his former homeland. Correspondent Tom Banse introduces us.

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Duwamish River Pollution
6:27 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Clean Water: The Next Act - Seattle's Duwamish River, Part I

The upper part of the Duwamish River, seen from 119th Street in Tukwila, Wash.
Photo by Joe Mabel Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Seattle’s Duwamish River has been the industrial heart of the city for a century. It’s been straightened, filled and diked. During World War II thousands of airplanes were built there. Today cargo from around the world arrives in massive container ships, lining the mouth of the river. Industrial facilities dot its banks.

As part of EarthFix and Investigate West’s series on the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Ashley Ahearn takes a look at the Duwamish River now – and how its future recovery could play out.

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:57 am

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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Brando Beach
6:22 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Brando Beach: Washington’s Pension System Goes Tropical And Global

Marlon Brando’s private atoll Tetiaroa as seen from the air.
Photo courtesy Pacific Beachcomber

There’s a government office in Olympia where employees travel the globe and titans of Wall Street are regular visitors. The singer Bono even dropped in once, after a concert.

We’re talking about the Washington State Investment Board. Its job is to maximize returns on an $85 billion investment portfolio. To do that the Board invests in some very exotic places, as Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins found.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:30 am

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

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Around the Nation
4:56 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Following Up On Tuesday's Feline Mayor Story

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Media
4:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
4:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:49 am

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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Economy
4:00 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Recovery Has Yet To Gain Strong Footing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 2:58 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If Ben Bernanke is frustrated by the economy, as he seems to be, he might look at a recent issue of The Economist magazine. Editors there see enough strength that they saw fit to print an illustration of Uncle Sam as a bare-chested muscleman.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about that and more with regular guests on this program, Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist. Welcome back to the program.

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: Nice to be here.

INSKEEP: And David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal. Hi, David.

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