12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Planet Money

No, Hedge Funds Can't Foreclose On The Acropolis

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:12 pm

DIMITAR DILKOFF AFP/Getty Images

Greece is broke. But there's no blueprint for a country to declare bankruptcy, so Greece's creditors are sort of making things up as they go along.

"You're taking some sort of loss," Hans Humes of Greylock Capital Management told me. "But it's like, how much of a loss do you take? There's this thing called sovereign immunity. You can't go in and take the Acropolis."

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Middle East

Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency

An Iranian man counts banknotes after exchanging a gold coin for cash in Tehran on Monday. Gold coins were being exchanged for over 10 million rials as the Iranian currency continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.

But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.

In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. They wanted to buy dollars, but there were no dollars to be had.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Business

To Grow Business, Starbucks Thinks Outside The Cup

Barista Nicole Adams serves up a drink in March at a Starbucks in downtown Seattle. The company is expanding its coffee options to include a light roast and plans to create a new health and wellness brand.
Ted S. Warren AP

Just four years ago, Starbucks seemed to be losing its mojo. Howard Schultz, the man who made Starbucks a household name, returned to the company as CEO. He closed hundreds of stores, streamlined operations and set the company on a path to record revenues and strong profits.

Starbucks serves 60 million beverages a week, which adds up to big profits. The company reports its earnings Thursday. In a bid to further expand its consumer base, Starbucks has a new roast and plans to produce more retail products to sell outside of its coffeehouses.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Business

Quiznos Gives Up Control To Stave Off Bankruptcy

A man walks by a Quiznos franchise in New York City. The sandwich chain has given up part of its ownership to a private equity firm in order to restructure its debt and avoid bankruptcy.
Rob Kim Landov

Quiznos narrowly avoided bankruptcy this week when the sandwich chain shifted ownership to private equity firm Avenue Capital in exchange for erasing some debt.

The recession and poor management have hit the Denver-based sub-maker hard. The company once boasted more than 5,000 restaurants, but 40 percent of them have now shut their doors.

Andre Bonyadian owns nine Quiznos franchises in and around Los Angeles.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Middle East

For Turkish Journalists, Arrest Is A Real Danger

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:42 am

Hundreds of journalists protest the arrests of members of the media, including Ahmet Sik (poster on the right) and Nedim Sener (center) in Ankara, Turkey, in March 2011. Critics say the government is trying to stifle dissent by arresting journalists — for doing their job.
AP

In the wake of the Arab Spring, some Muslims in North Africa are looking across the Mediterranean to Turkey as a potential model of a state that can be modern, Islamic and democratic.

But some analysts in the region say that model is flawed, and they are questioning Turkey's human-rights record and its dealings with the press.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Space

Want To Make A Giant Telescope Mirror? Here's How

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:05 am

Giant Magellan Telescope
Giant Magellan Telescope

The world's largest mirrors for the world's largest telescopes are made under the football stadium at the University of Arizona.

Why there? Why not?

"We wanted some space, and it was just used for parking some cars, and this seemed like a good use," says Roger Angel.

Angel is the master of making big mirrors for telescopes. For 30 years he has been using a method called spin casting to make the largest solid telescope mirrors in the world.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Election 2012

'President Gingrich' Promises Permanent Moon Base

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 10:18 am

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich made campaign stops on Florida's Space Coast on Wednesday, saying space is part of America's destiny and outlining what he called a bold plan to send Americans to the moon and beyond. Here, the former House speaker delivers remarks outside a restaurant in Coral Springs, Fla.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich, a self-described space nut, has long been a supporter of the U.S. space program. Now the Republican presidential hopeful is proposing what he calls a bold program that would send Americans back to the moon and beyond.

During a campaign event on Florida's Space Coast — hard-hit by the recession and the space program's uncertain future — Gingrich talked about coming of age at the time of Sputnik, the first satellite, launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union. He recalled reading science-fiction author Isaac Asimov and Missiles and Rockets magazine.

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6:35pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Music Interviews

Michelle Kwan's Slow And Steady Workout Jams

Originally published on Sun January 29, 2012 8:13 pm

Michelle Kwan performs at an exhibition in 2005.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

This month, we're creating The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix. As many of us head back to the gym in the new year, we're asking people what music makes them move.

Today: the figure skating legend Michelle Kwan. For exercise, she says she runs and does Bikram yoga and Pilates. But there's one thing Kwan says she still enjoys more than anything else.

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5:53pm

Wed January 25, 2012
State Capitol

Boost for Gaming Amendment

Governor Steve Beshear’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to expand gaming could get a big boost soon. State Senator Damon Thayer, a Republican, says it’s very likely he will sponsor Beshear’s amendment this session. Thayer has been working with Beshear on the gambling issue this session, giving the amendment leverage it hasn’t had before.

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5:51pm

Wed January 25, 2012
All Politics are Local

Lawsuit Could Derail New Legislative Districts

Several Kentucky House Republicans are hoping to derail new legislative districts with a lawsuit challenging the redistricting map. Members of the GOP caucus and a group of private individuals could file the suit as soon as the end of this week. It will start in Franklin County Circuit Court and will include a motion to stop the redistricting maps from taking immediate effect.

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