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Brett Charvat, Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne help you wake up informed and up-to-date, on our flagship news show, Morning Edition. NPR's weekday morning newsmagazine includes coverage of breaking national and international stories, as well as thoughtful ideas and commentary, arts and culture reviews, and notes on human interest. Throughout the morning, Sueann also brings you regional news and weather to help you plan your day.

Below, you will find articles, transcripts, and clips of many of the stories heard on today's Morning Edition.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a new, multibillion-dollar chemical plant.

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GREENE: Exxon Mobil plans to build a huge chemical facility in Baytown, Texas. It reverses a company statement last year that said it has no plans for new chemical factories in the United States. According to Reuters, decades-low natural gas prices made the move too enticing to pass over. Natural gas is a key fuel in chemical production. By using its own natural gas, Exxon Mobil can run a chemical plant relatively cheaply.

The Last Word In Business

Jun 1, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, let's turn now to personal wealth. Today's last word in business is disappearing millions.

The number of millionaire households in this country declined in 2011. That's according to this year's Global Wealth Study from the Boston Consulting Group. It found the number of American households with a million dollars of investable assets shrunk by 2.5 percent.

The U.S. still leads the world in millionaires, but developing countries are gaining ground. Other countries added nearly 200,000 millionaire households in 2011.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The financial woes of Greece and other countries of the eurozone, have meant painful austerity measures in exchange for financial bailouts. Now, Irish voters have approved a European Union treaty to battle the debt crisis. It's an effort to enforce strict budget cuts or face financial penalties.

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The Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure takes place tomorrow here in the nation's capital. It's one of the breast cancer charity's biggest fundraisers. But this year, participation is way down. That follows Komen's controversial decision in February to stop funding Planned Parenthood programs. The decision was quickly reversed, but Komen's supporters worry about the long-term impact, as NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

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Let's spend some time talking about the big money world of video games. In a moment, what may have been the biggest legal battle ever in the game industry. But first to former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Shilling. He is blaming the governor of Rhode Island for the meltdown of his video game company, 38 Studios. The company's failures have seen almost 400 workers lose their jobs and has Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for close to $100 million. Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio has the story.

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And now to an even bigger battle that's been playing in the world of video games.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to Florida, where a federal judge has blocked portions of a new election law that was causing a lot of debate. That law had put tough restrictions on groups conducting voter registration drives. Because of the restrictions, the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote stopped registering votes(ph) in the state. Those groups challenged the new law in court. And yesterday, Judge Robert Hinkle sided with the groups. He called the rules onerous and unconstitutional.

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This election year we've seen a lot of cases where different people look at the same economic situation and come to different conclusions. And that seems to be happening in Michigan. It's America's comeback state - that according to its governor, Rick Snyder. Unemployment there is dropping, as the U.S. auto industry rebounds. And the state has a budget surplus for the first time in years.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently held one of his traveling Cabinet meetings in the disputed city of Kirkuk in an effort to show Iraqi Arabs on the edge of the Kurdish-controlled north that he's working on their behalf, too.

But the fact that he felt obliged to bring in large numbers of heavily armed troops for the event illustrated the tension plaguing Iraqi politics.

A Front-Row Seat At A Bank Run

May 31, 2012

A decade ago, investors thought Greece would flourish on the euro. Money poured in, and banks started lending it out. Thefilos Papacostakis, a bank teller at Alpha Bank in Thessaloniki, got to hand out a lot of that money.

Last month, Thefilos says, his bosses called him in for a meeting. They told him things were about to get worse. When countries are in this kind of trouble, the bosses said, people panic and pull their money out of banks.

When Robert Holmes' parents moved to Edison, N.J., in 1956, they were one of the first African-American families to integrate the neighborhood.

"After we'd moved to Edison, there was a resentment that we had broken into the community," Holmes says.

Even at the age of 13, Holmes felt the animosity. The neighborhood had a private swim club that opened up to anyone who participated in the Memorial Day parade. Holmes was in the band.

"I arrived at the pool on Memorial Day having marched in the parade with my uniform still on, and they called the police," he says.

Andrew Garfield is an actor on the verge of superstardom — and he's only 28 years old.

Although Garfield may be best known to American audiences for playing Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, Garfield started acting in England, where he grew up. There, Garfield made notable turns in the critically acclaimed Red Riding Trilogy as well as in Never Let Me Go, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with starts with some discouraging numbers.

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Lori Anne Madison has been eliminated from this week's Scripps National Spelling Bee. At six years old, she's the youngest ever to compete.

Brazilian DJ Finds Being Green Isn't Easy

May 31, 2012

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The Last Word In Business

May 31, 2012

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: Big Gulp. Actually, make that moderately-sized gulp.

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, which means a large Slurpee or a Grande Frappuccino, would still be legal. Restaurants, movie theaters, and food trucks would all have to abide by the rule, which is aimed at rising obesity rates. Fruit juices and alcoholic drinks would be exempt.

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It's only the first week of the French Open tennis tournament and already it has been horrendous for the Americans. When the fading Andy Roddick lost in the first round, that was greeted with shrugs. Much more shocking was when Serena Williams also lost in the first round - the first time she's ever gone out that early in a major. Then yesterday her sister Venus was defeated as well in the second round. Sport Illustrated's Jon Wertheim is one American who's still standing at Roland Garros in Paris.

Jon, good morning.

Happy Birthday Incredible Hulk

May 31, 2012

Fifty years ago this month, comic book artists Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Incredible Hulk to the world. The Hulk is the volatile alter ego of Dr. Bruce Banner, a physicist who's inadvertently exposed to radiation. As a result, whenever Dr. Banner gets angry or upset, he transforms into a giant, raging monster, capable of stunning feats of strength.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And the disputes over voter eligibility extend well beyond Florida. New voter ID laws, and other voting restrictions, have been enacted in a number of states since the last major election. And that has raised special concern among African-Americans, who feel they are being targeted.

Black church leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus met yesterday here in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to make sure African-American voters aren't discouraged from turning out in November.

Here's NPR's Pam Fessler.

In recent days, three Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. In the past year, it's been reported that more than 30 people have set themselves on fire and most have died. Renee Montagne talks to Robert Barnett, an expert on Tibet, for more on why Tibetans have been protesting Chinese repression by setting themselves on fire.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Many families who lost artwork during the Holocaust have spent decades trying to reclaim their treasures. Now they could face a new obstacle: proposed legislation that would protect American museums from these families' claims. David Maxon of member station WNYC has more.

Bill Internicola, a 91-yar-old World War II veteran, was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., and now lives in Florida's Broward County. He recently received a letter from county elections officials asking him to show proof he was a U.S. citizen or be removed from the voting rolls.

Internicola says he was "flabbergasted."

"To me, it's like an insult," he says. "They sent me a form to fill out. And I filled out the form and I sent it back to them with a copy of my discharge paper and a copy of my tour of duty in the ETO, which is the European Theater of Operations."

U.S. and Afghan forces are fighting to gain control of a major crossroads in a part of Afghanistan that has seen so few NATO troops that one village elder mistook the Americans for Russians — from the long-ago Soviet war.

"It's an absolutely crucial area," says NPR photographer David Gilkey, who has been embedded with U.S. troops involved in the offensive in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province.

Friday is jobs day, when the federal government releases its monthly unemployment report. It's also just about five months before the presidential election.

When the two presidential contenders talk about unemployment, they're trying to balance their rhetoric between optimism, pessimism and reality.

Last fall, Kathy Partridge got a phone call from a local emergency room, telling her that her daughter, Jessie Glasscock, was there — and was OK.

Glasscock had gone missing overnight. She was away at college, and had a history of manic episodes. Police had found her in a Dumpster and brought her to the ER for her own safety. It was a huge relief for her mother. But she was completely surprised by what happened next.

"I went down to this emergency room and just found her by herself, basically locked in a closet," says Partridge.

The unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, but the underemployment rate — that's people who work part time but want full-time work — is much higher. For many people, making ends meet means cobbling together various part-time jobs. And there are some apps for that.

Shannon Mills has blanketed the floor in a spacious home in Corte Madera, Calif., with protective plastic. Now she's taping off the trim, getting ready to paint over the peach-colored living room walls with the more neutral "bisque" shade waiting in cans at her feet.

Brick by brick, Guenther Demnig is working to change how the Holocaust is publicly remembered in Germany.

On a recent afternoon, the 62-year-old Berlin-born artist is on his knees on a sidewalk in a prosperous section of Berlin's Charlottenburg district, working a hammer and small trowel. He is installing dozens of small, square brass bricks, each one inscribed with the name — and details about the death of — people who once lived in apartment houses on Pestalozzi Strasse.

In anticipation of California's ban on foie gras that begins July 1, foodies have been stockpiling duck liver. Animal-rights activists are protesting outside restaurants still serving it.

Suspected Bomb Forces Courthouse Evacuation

May 30, 2012

In Pocatello, Idaho, mail screeners at the federal courthouse were suspicious of a device they found in a magazine. The building was evacuated and the bomb squad came in. It wasn't a bomb. It was a magazine insert that played music.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yesterday, on this program we told you about a new cyber-spying program that goes by the name Flame. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian computer security company, says it found the program lurking on computers in the Middle East. The company says Flame is a very sophisticated piece of spyware, so sophisticated, it must have been created by a country's government. But as NPR's Martin Kaste reports, it didn't take long for other security experts to cast doubt on those claims.

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