NPR Story
1:27 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Afghan Public Protection Force Profile

A U.S. soldier watches members of the Afghan Public Protection Force arrive at the transition ceremony on the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul on March 15. The APPF replaces all private security contractors in the country.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:54 am

Nearly two years ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered that gun-toting private security companies in his country be brought under state control. But the Afghan force to replace the foreign-funded contractors is off to a rocky start.

According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the new force will increase security costs for USAID projects and could even shut some of them down, at a loss of about $899 million. USAID in Kabul disagrees, and the dispute has gone public.

Read more
NPR Story
1:27 am
Wed May 23, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 3:22 am

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

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but sheâââ

Around the Nation
12:40 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Identity Theft: 'Kids Don't Know They're Victims'

Jennifer Andrushko says she worries about the long-term consequences for her 5-year-old son, Carter, after the theft of his Social Security number.
Courtesy of Jennifer Andrushko

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 1:41 am

Carter Andrushko is 5 years old, and he knows a few things already: He knows how to spell his name. He knows that Crusty, his hermit crab, has 10 legs. And he knows what he wants to do when he grows up: look for dinosaur bones.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, however, Carter already has a job. In fact, according to that office, he's been working since before he was even born. That's what Carter's mother, Jennifer Andrushko, discovered when she applied for Medicaid in 2009 and found out that someone had been using Carter's Social Security number for years.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:38 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Fight Over Flame Retardants In Furniture Heats Up

More than 80 percent of furniture sold in the U.S. is treated with flame-retardant chemicals.
Steve Mullis/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 1:41 am

If you pick up a cushion from any sofa or piece of furniture that has foam, you're likely to find a small white tag that reads: "This article meets all flammability requirements of California Bureau of Home Furnishings technical bulletin 117."

The law, referred to as TB 117, was passed in California in 1975. It says that the foam inside upholstered furniture must be able to resist a flame, such as from a cigarette lighter or a candle. Rather than make different furniture just for California, big furniture makers adhere to those standards in all 50 states and even Canada.

Read more
London 2012: The Summer Olympics
12:37 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Sprinter Speeds Toward London, And Olympic Gold

Allyson Felix runs in a 200 meter race at the 2011 IAAF World Championships. Felix, who has twice won silver in the race at the Olympics, has not yet announced her event schedule for London this summer.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 1:41 am

The Olympics start in July, but American sprinter Allyson Felix is still deciding which events she'll focus on in London. She's won Olympic silver medals twice in her beloved 200 meters, a distance in which she's also a three–time world champion.

Felix won an Olympic gold in 2008, on the 4x400-meter relay team. But this time around, she wants an individual gold, too.

New Success At 100 Meters

Read more
Business
12:36 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Xerox CEO: 'If You Don't Transform, You're Stuck'

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns began her career with the company in 1980 as a summer intern. In 2009, she became the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:14 am

Xerox is one of America's most venerable companies. Founded in 1906, its name is virtually synonymous with "photocopy."

But in recent years, in an era of email and paperless offices, Xerox has struggled to stay relevant. Today, the company is trying to turn itself around and thrive in the digital age.

Leading Xerox through that transformation is Ursula Burns, a woman who has undergone tremendous change in her own life. Burns, 53, grew up in New York City's Lower East Side, an area she has described as a tough, drug-infested ghetto.

Read more
Middle East
12:26 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Iran In Tough Spot As Sanctions Take Economic Toll

If sanctions continue, Iran's tankers could fill up with surplus oil and leave the country with no place to store its continued production.
Kamran Jebreili AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 1:24 pm

Sanctions have not often worked to get governments to change their behavior, but Iran may prove to be an exception. The country depends on income from oil sales, and the oil sector is highly vulnerable to sanctions.

The United States has stopped buying Iranian oil, and the European Union is set to do so at the end of next month. There are sanctions on Iran's central bank and punishments for companies that help Iran ship its oil.

Jamie Webster, an oil market analyst at PFC Energy, says Iran's oil exports — normally about 2.5 million barrels a day — are in serious jeopardy.

Read more
Politics
12:25 am
Wed May 23, 2012

U.S. Politicians See Opposite Messages In Euro Crisis

President Obama talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande (upper left), NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (center) and other leaders during the official photo at Soldier Field in Chicago during the NATO summit Sunday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:41 am

European stock markets have rallied in anticipation of an informal summit of European Union leaders Wednesday in Brussels. A major policy pivot is expected to address the eurozone's debts and deficits crisis.

Up to now, European leaders have emphasized austerity, and that has cost some of them their jobs. The new approach is likely to focus on the same kind of growth President Obama has pursued in the United States — where Democrats and Republicans are drawing opposite conclusions from the euro crisis.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
12:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Health Insurance Cutbacks Squeeze The Insured

Amber Cooper lives in Modesto, Calif., with her son, Jaden, 5, and her husband, Kevin. She had a liver transplant when she was 10 years old and needs daily medication so her body won't reject her liver.
Deanne Fitzmaurice for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 8:16 am

Amber Cooper and her husband were doing OK. They had jobs, a healthy 5-year-old son, a house in Riverbank, Calif., and health insurance from her job in the accounting department of a small manufacturing company.

Then one day everything changed.

"We were in a conference room ... and I had heard rumors but didn't know if it was true, and I started crying in front of everyone and actually had to excuse myself to gather myself together and go back in. It was devastating for me," Cooper said.

Read more

Pages