MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is live special coverage from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block on an evening when Standard and Poor's has moved to downgrade the US credit rating. The ratings agency lowered the U.S. long-term rating from AAA to AA-plus. By way of explanation, S&P said, among other things, that it is pessimistic about the ability of Congress and the administration to stabilize the U.S. debt. It said the recent political brinksmanship over the debt shows America's policy-making to be less stable and predictable than thought.
DuPont Co. is pulling a new herbicide from the market, after it was blamed for damaging or killing thousands of trees. Since the EPA approved the weedkiller Imprelis for sale last October, it has become the target of several lawsuits.
As reported by the Lawn and Landscape website, DuPont has posted a letter announcing the suspension of sales, and instituting a return-for-refund policy. The company also expressed regret for any "tree injuries."
U.S. stock markets finished Friday with a mix of gains and losses, ending a volatile week of steep declines on Wall Street. The release of better-than-expected July job numbers helped early in the day, but the data only seemed to pause, not end, the blood-letting.
But for drivers, there's an upside to the market's losses: The price of gasoline is going to fall, as well, dragged down by the same fears that prompted the flight from stocks.
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Small beer brewers in Massachusetts were shocked this week, when the state alcohol commission announced a new rule that any "farmer-brewers" in the state must grow at least 50 percent of their beer's hops and grain themselves, or get them from a domestic farm they've contracted with for the purpose.
When it announced the advisory, the commission emphasized that farmer-brewer licenses were created to encourage development of the state's domestic farms. But the license also costs far less money than a full "manufacturer" permit.
As a heat wave grips large parts of the country, ask yourself this: Would you turn down a glass of water? If you're Muslim, you probably would, because it is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims can't eat or drink from sunup to sundown.
It's a bit of a challenge, says Omar Shahin, an imam in Phoenix. At that moment, it was 105 degrees outside, and he was cleaning the pool in his backyard. The water was so close, yet so far.