Voting has begun in Egypt, where the nation's first parliamentary elections are being held since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime nine months ago.
So far, according to reports from NPR, The Associated Press and other news outlets, turnout is high and things are going well — a relief after last week's protests in major cities and the violent response to them from authorities.
Tucked away in a corner of the White House's Old Executive Office Building, an office that most people have never heard of affects millions of Americans' lives. It's the last hurdle that every proposed regulation must surmount before seeing the light of day. And a new study of this obscure part of the government suggests that President Obama is altering more of those regulations than President George W. Bush did.
We've been hearing a lot about the economic meltdown affecting a string of European countries, and the sort of tough austerity measures that they're now facing. Britain was among the first to embrace a tough austerity program. And now, the economy is stalled. Unemployment is going up. Young people are hit hardest of all - one in five is now out of work. NPR's Philip Reeves spent a day with one of those jobless Britons, a young man named Dean Smith.
The economy is still far from healthy, and we've been asking people for one idea that could help fix even just one small part of the economy. And we have this latest idea from author and management consultant Jim Collins. He wants to change the way that CEOs are paid. Instead of granting stock options, he says executives should have to buy company stock with their own money.
JIM COLLINS: I want executives who are willing to be aligned in their own risk profile with how well the company does over time.
If everything goes as planned, pro-basketball fans will wake up on Christmas Day ready to open up a shiny new NBA season. December 25th is the day tentatively set to begin regular-season games after the league and its players union agreed on the essential points and a new contract. That likely means an end to the lockout. Though this is not yet a done deal, the terms must be approved by a majority of owners and players.
NPR's Mike Pesca is covering this story. He's on the line. Mike, good morning.
NPR's business news begins with a strong showing for retailers. Consumers spent a record $52.4 billion at stores and on the Internet over the weekend. It's the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers hunting for Black Friday bargains spent an average of about $400 each, which is a big jump over last year.
Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria are among those voting today in the first stage of parliamentary elections. These are the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Two other stages are scheduled for December and January.
Officials overseeing a new performance hall had to decide on a mobile phone policy. While theaters generally remind patrons to turn off their devices, The New York Times reports the new theater in Bellevue, Wash., will encourage smartphone use. The theater wants to attract younger audiences, and that means there's no use forbidding the technology.
The dream of high speed rail in California is running into tough realities. Cost estimates have more than doubled — to nearly $100 billion — since the project was approved by voters in 2008. The date of completion has been pushed back to 2030.