NPR Story
4:19 am
Thu April 26, 2012

After Backlash, Ethanol Industry Is Thriving

Young corn plants grow next to the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn. Five years ago, the U.S. government projected that in 2012, ethanol production would use up 30 percent of the nation's corn supply. Last year, it used 40 percent.
Glen Stubbe MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 1:28 pm

Five years ago, ethanol was seen as the next big thing to wean the U.S. off foreign oil. Then some studies on the corn-based fuel cast doubt on its environmental benefits, and auto companies turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars. The hype died off, but the ethanol industry is alive and well, driving a big change in America's corn consumption.

Rising up out of the corn fields outside Lake Odessa, Mich., is the ethanol refinery for Carbon Green Bioenergy. The company's CEO, Mitch Miller, says a lot of refineries were popping up when this one was built in 2006.

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Asia
3:51 am
Thu April 26, 2012

In Southern China, A Thriving African Neighborhood

In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, thousands of African immigrants, many of them small-scale clothing traders from Nigeria, have come seeking business opportunities. One of the Nigerian traders, who goes by his "designer name" of Niceguy, is shown here in the city's Little Africa neighborhood.
Nina Porzucki for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:23 am

China and Africa have become major trading partners in recent years. Chinese companies have made a big push into Africa seeking raw materials like oil. And enterprising Africans now travel to China to buy cheap goods at the source and ship them home. Today, the city of Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is home to some 10,000 Africans, the largest such community in China. The city's Little Africa neighborhood is a world unto itself, with restaurants specializing in African food to money changers who deal in the Nigerian currency.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
3:02 am
Thu April 26, 2012

For Some, 'Frustration' Over Mortgage Settlement

A sign stands in front of a bank-owned home in Las Vegas. Housing counselors say the $25 billion mortgage settlement between major banks and the states has yet to make an impact in communities around the U.S.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 9:21 am

Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.

Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.

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Sports
3:01 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Power (Dis)Play? Teams In Black Draw More Penalties

Keith Ballard, right, of the Vancouver Canucks is tripped by Colin Fraser of the Los Angeles Kings for a penalty during game in Los Angeles on April 18. Researchers studying hockey penalties found that teams wearing black jerseys were far more likely to draw penalties than teams wearing other colored or white jerseys.
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 9:21 am

Hockey teams wearing darker-colored jerseys are more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls than teams wearing white jerseys, according to new research. Teams wearing black jerseys in particular get penalized the most, according to an analysis that may offer a window into the hidden psychological dynamics of the ongoing NHL playoffs.

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Planet Money
3:00 am
Thu April 26, 2012

On The Million-Dollar Trail Of A Mystery SuperPAC Donor

Some superPAC donors are hiding from public scrutiny.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 11:19 am

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National Security
2:59 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Could Iran Wage A Cyberwar On The U.S.?

Cybersecurity experts say Iran has the resources necessary to be a major player in cyberwarfare.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 9:21 am

Security professionals in both the U.S. government and in private industry have long feared the prospect of a cyberwar with China or Russia, two states capable of launching destructive attacks on the computer networks that control critical assets such as the power grid or the financial system.

Now they face a new cyberthreat: Iran.

"[The Iranians] have all the resources and the capabilities necessary to be a major player in terms of cyberwarfare," says Jeffrey Carr, an expert on cyberconflict who has consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Asia
2:57 am
Thu April 26, 2012

An African Trader And The Perils Of Business In China

Kelvin Njubigbo, one of the many African traders in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, made two profitable trips to the city from his native Nigeria. On his third trip, he was robbed of $19,000.
Nina Porzucki for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 10:31 am

It's dinnertime at a bustling Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Little Africa neighborhood of Guangzhou, in southern China. Chinese schoolgirls nibble on fries, a grandmother feeds her grandson, and Kelvin Njubigbo stares at a single wing on his tray. His foot, wrapped in a gauze bandage, juts out from the table.

"Everything is risk in life," repeats Njubigbo. "It's all risk from the beginning to the last."

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Sports
2:56 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Taking One Last Swing At Baseball's Big Time

After being called up to play for the Atlanta Braves in 2009, Reid Gorecki batted in a run against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Jim McIsaac Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 9:21 am

On the night of Aug. 17, 2009, Reid Gorecki achieved what every minor league ballplayer hopes to achieve: He played in his first major league game.

"Everything I hoped and imagined it would be, it was," he says. "Being a part of that for the first time was just fabulous."

Gorecki was picked up by the Atlanta Braves after bouncing around various minor league teams for seven years. He put on a Braves uniform for a total of 31 games.

Then, it was over.

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It's All Politics
6:29 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Obama, Romney Face Uphill Fights As General Election Starts For Real

AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 7:52 pm

The Republican primaries were certainly fun while they lasted, especially for political journalists and junkies for whom the intramural fighting generated no shortage of interesting and sometimes bizarre story lines.

But President Obama's campaign aides were all but certain from the start that they would be running against Mitt Romney. That was one of the few areas of agreement between the former Massachusetts governor's campaign and the Obama people.

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

U.N. Refugee Chief: 'We Are All Overstretched'

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.
Ashraf Shazly AFP/Getty Images

Over the past year and a half, the world has seen crisis after crisis. Today, NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke to António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, mostly about the crisis in Sudan.

But at one point during their talk, Guterres rattled off the crises they've dealt with since the beginning of 2011: The Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, Yemen, both a famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa, Mali and now Syria is flaring up again.

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