4:00am

Thu October 13, 2011
Middle East

Foiled Iranian Death Plot Reads Like A Spy Novel

U.S. authorities have charged two Iranians in a plot to kill a Saudi envoy. Steve Inskeep talks to David Ignatius, a best-selling novelist and foreign policy columnist for "The Washington Post," and to Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran and the Middle East with the Carnegie Endowment, about the plot which sounds like it came out of a spy novel.

4:00am

Thu October 13, 2011
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 2:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

These improvements in smartphones bring us to our last word in business: enhance it. It's a scene from countless movies and TV shows, computer experts race to analyze a blurry photograph to find a clue to catch the bad guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Enhance it.

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4:00am

Thu October 13, 2011
Business

Business News

Steve Inskeep has business news.

4:00am

Thu October 13, 2011
Politics

Romney Camp Is Slow To Attract Former Bush Donors

Republican donor Ray Washburne was a major contributor to George W. Bush's presidential campaign, and he was the national finance chairman for Tim Pawlenty. But when Pawlenty pulled out of the presidential race, Washburne tells Steve Inskeep that it took some time before deciding to back Mitt Romney's campaign.

12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Books News & Features

'Catch-22': A Paradox Turns 50 And Still Rings True

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 4:53 pm

Fifty years ago, a new phrase began to make its way into American conversations: "Catch-22." Joseph Heller's irreverent World War II novel — named for the now-famous paradox — was published on Oct. 11, 1961. His take on war meshed perfectly with the anti-authoritarian generation that came of age in the 1960s. And now, a half-century later, the predicament of a no-win trap still resonates with a new crop of young people distrustful of their elders.

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Economy

U.S. Banks Can't Hide From Europe's Debt Crisis

The Congressional Research Service estimated direct U.S. banking exposure in troubled European economies at $641 billion. U.S. banks say the amount is much lower.

Sandor F. Szabo iStockPhoto.com

For months now, Europe's debt crisis has hung ominously over the U.S. markets and economy. But even as U.S. banks begin lessening their investments in Europe, it remains difficult to quantify the threat they face.

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
National Security

How Close Is Al-Qaida To Defeat?

Ayman al-Zawahiri (shown here in a still image posted online by al-Qaida in July) replaced Osama bin Laden at the top of al-Qaida's leadership. Some argue that eliminating a few key leaders would significantly weaken the group; others say the more dangerous threat — from al-Qaida affiliates — would be unaffected by changes in the group's core leadership.

Anonymous AP

A debate is raging in the intelligence community about what it means to defeat al-Qaida. Because America's efforts to capture or kill al-Qaida's key members have been so effective, some officials say the core group — al-Qaida's founders and longtime members hiding out in Pakistan — is near collapse.

One camp, which includes members of the Obama administration, says al-Qaida's core group is three to five members away from collapse. Others, however, say with al-Qaida affiliates gathering strength, any victory over the core will be a hollow one.

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Digital Life

Comparing Apple's iPhone 4S And The Droid Bionic

Apple's new iPhone 4S, left, hits the market Friday — where it faces still competition from the speedy Android Bionic, right.

NPR

Apple's new smartphone, the iPhone 4S, lands in stores around the country Friday. The company says that consumers pre-ordered more than 1 million of the phones within 24 hours last week, when it became available online.

One of the new iPhone's biggest rivals will be the Motorola Bionic, which runs on Google's Android operating system. Both phones are very capable, and very fast — here's a chart outlining their features:

Test-Driving The iPhone 4S

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Business

Gas Drilling Boom Brings New Life To Steel Industry

Chapman Corp. is expanding to take advantage of extra business it expects to get in coming decades because of increasing production in the Marcellus Shale play.

Jeff Brady NPR

A natural gas drilling boom in Pennsylvania is helping the economies of Rust Belt cities long accustomed to bad news. Drilling requires steel — lots of it — and that has manufacturers expanding and hiring new workers.

While much attention has been paid to the environmental risks of drilling into the Marcellus Shale, the economic benefits have been less prominent in the national discussion. But in Youngstown, Ohio, locals have been watching an old industry come back to life.

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Middle East

Will Saudis Play Oil Card To Revenge Iranian Plot?

Adel al-Jubeir, shown in this 2004 photo, is Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. and was the target of an Iranian assassination plot, according to the U.S. government.

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

In capitals around the world, U.S. diplomats are laying out evidence that elements of Iran's government plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington.

The United States is taking the lead in the push to hold Iran accountable. But Saudi Arabia may want to respond to Iran in its own way, and its weapon could be oil.

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