And now to big money that's tied up in a company's pension fund. Tens of thousands of white-collar Ford retirees will soon have a big decision to make: Should they stay in the auto company's pension plan, or take their chances with a lump sum payout instead? The offer is believed to be the first of its kind for such a large, ongoing pension fund.
NPR's business news starts with a sign of confidence in the U.S. auto industry.
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INSKEEP: Berkshire Hathaway has bought 10 million shares of General Motors. The company owned by the billionaire investor Warren Buffett spent just over $200 million for that stake in GM. It is the first time Berkshire has invested in an American automaker.
In North Carolina, now this could be the last day of testimony in the John Edwards trial. At a federal courthouse, the former presidential candidate is being tried on six counts of campaign finance violations. Prosecutors say Edwards used nearly a million dollars to conceal an affair and hide the child he fathered with a mistress. The defense says Edwards wasn't fully aware of the cover-up and that any money connected with it did not come from campaign contributions.
Jeff Tiberii of North Carolina Public Radio has more.
William Reigle has fibrosis, a disease that may be aggravated by nearby fracking. He's one of more than 2 million Pennsylvanians who get their health care from Geisinger Health System. The system wants to use its extensive database of patient records to study the health impact of natural gas production.
Mary Ellen Norquest sets up to administer a lung function test that will measure total lung capacity of William Reigle, a patient with Fibrosis, at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA., April 19, 2012.
William Reigle from New Berlin, PA suffers form Fibrosis which is a decease that may be agitated by nearby fracking. Dr. Simonelli is planing to study the affects of fracking on Fibrosis in addition to Asthma.
William Reigle is if given a lung function test, the results of which will be kept in his Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The Geiseanger Health System has a service area of 2.6 million people and has a database of Electronic Medical Records for hundreds of thousands of people who live near the Marcellus Shale.
Dr. Paul Simonelli is the director of thoracic medicine for the Geisinger system. Geisinger researchers want to find out whether air pollutants associated with gas drilling are affecting people with asthma and other lung problems.
A proposed study of people in northern Pennsylvania could help resolve a national debate about whether the natural gas boom is making people sick.
The study would look at detailed health histories on hundreds of thousands of people who live near the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in which energy companies have already drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells.
If the study goes forward, it would be the first large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment of the health effects of gas production.