In recent days, home mortgage interest rates have ticked up very slightly but are still quite low, well below 5 percent. This spring's low rates have helped boost mortgage applications, both for refinancing and purchases. NPR's Chris Arnold reports on the outlook for the housing sector this summer, and the industry's one bright spot: cheap mortgages.
On May 4, 2007, most of Greensburg, Kan., was blown off the face of the Earth. Eleven people died, and hundreds of survivors fled, never to return. Host Scott Simon speaks with John Janssen, the former mayor of Greensburg, about what newly-devastated communities can expect as they try to rebuild.
Michael Thompson, a carpenter in Norfolk, England, may have just won a one-pound bet. He claimed that he could build anything out of wood, so a friend challenged him to build a wooden bicycle. Thompson calls his creation a "Splinter-Bike." Host Scott Simon speaks with Thompson about his bike, which has only one gear, no brakes and weighs 71 pounds.
Egypt formally reopens its border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday. It's an offshoot of the Egyptian-mediated reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the dominant Palestinian faction in the West Bank. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Rafah.
Now that it's halfway through the year, the winter sports season is about to end. The hockey and basketball finals are set to begin, with the Boston Bruins playing the Vancouver Canucks for hockey's Stanley Cup, and the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat for the NBA championship. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman about the NHL and NBA finals.
President Obama meets with Poland's prime minister and other Eastern European leaders on Saturday before closing his weeklong trip to Europe with a press conference in Warsaw. NPR's Scott Horsley looks back at the president's trip.
Right in tornado alley, the staff at the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. keep a constant watch on the skies. The weather experts track signs of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes and issue the first alerts. This week's harrowing weather even had some of the storm center's staff heading for shelter. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
The datelines from weather disasters so far this year stretch across the Midwest and South. This week, there was the devastation of Joplin, Miss., where President Obama is expected to visit Sunday. Host Scott Simon speaks with Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about the agency's response to the devastating floods, fires and tornados that have wracked the nation this spring.
In the South this time of year, rural communities gather to clean and decorate their local cemeteries. It's a tradition called "Decoration Day," and not surprisingly, it's thought to be the inspiration for Memorial Day. NPR's Paul Brown reports.
About to hit theaters, X-Men: First Class is a prequel to previous X-Men blockbusters, based on characters from Marvel Comics born with an X-factor gene mutation that gives them special powers. Host Scott Simon speaks to actor Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto in the new movie.