The Two-Way
9:26 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 9:57 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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The Two-Way
8:39 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 11:30 am

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Around the Nation
7:56 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Following Up On Tuesday's Feline Mayor Story

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Media
7:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
7:30 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 11:49 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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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
7:15 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Indian Atheltes Want A Medal And A Government Job

India's Sandeep Sejwal swims his way to gold in the 100-meter men's breaststroke at the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. Sejwal, who competed in the Beijing Olympics two years later, has a government job with India's railway that accommodates his heavy training schedule.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:18 pm

For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.

In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.

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Business
5:28 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Are Pagers Obsolete?

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story is for people who go for old-school technology. If you're the kind of person who owns a tube television - not one of those flat screens - nothing wrong with that. Or maybe you're the kind of person who has an old Walkman with cassette tapes hiding in a drawer somewhere. Maybe you even still use it. And if you're holding on to technology that others have deemed obsolete, you are not alone.

Reporter Tracey Samuelson found some dated devices in a place that might surprise you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)

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Economy
4:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Update

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:58 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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Business
4:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Would-Be Homebuyers Appear To Be More Confident

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the nation's homebuilders are feeling more optimistic than they have since March, 2007, just before the beginning of the Great Recession. What's more, the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has posted its largest one-month gain in roughly a decade.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: David Crowe, the chief economist at the Home Builders Association says things are definitely looking up. It's a trend that began last September.

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Business
4:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some surprise earnings are at the top of NPR's business news.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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