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4:52 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Is Another Housing Bubble Growing?

Peter Wallison, a conservative voice in the world of fiscal policy, recently wrote a much-commented-upon opinion piece in the New York Times entitled "The Bubble is Back." But unlike his most of colleagues on the 2011 Fiscal Crisis Inquiry Commission, Wallison blames government housing policy for the last bubble. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Peter Wallison, a conservative voice in the world of fiscal policy, sees signs of another housing bubble. He points to the growing gap between owning versus renting, and to a return to no-money-down mortgages.

He recently wrote a much-commented-upon opinion piece in the New York Times entitled “The Bubble is Back.” But unlike his most of colleagues on the 2011 Fiscal Crisis Inquiry Commission, Wallison blames government housing policy for the last bubble.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

New Zealand Quake Shakes Eagle Sculpture From Airport Perch

A giant eagle sculpture that was being used to promote The Hobbit film trilogy after a 6.3 quake caused it to fall from the ceiling of the Wellington Airport on Monday.
Hagen Hopkins AP

Travelers at Wellington Airport in New Zealand may have felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins on a quest through Middle Earth when a giant eagle descended from the ceiling during a strong 6.3-magnitude quake that shook North Island on Monday.

The eagle — a sculpture, actually — was one of two giant birds used to promote The Hobbit films, which were shot in New Zealand. The bird was shaken off its perch in the terminal and crashed to the floor.

No one was seriously hurt at the airport or anywhere else on the island, where damage from the earthquake was reportedly minimal.

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NPR Story
3:41 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

World's Richest 85 Hold Same Wealth As Poorest 3.5 Billion

A slum community in Lucknow, India. (Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam)

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:17 am

Income inequality has been in national headlines for weeks, but a new report out today from the Britain-based international charity Oxfam says it’s a major issue worldwide.

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Oxfam: World's Richest 1 Percent Control Half Of Global Wealth

Local villagers scavenging coal illegally from an open-cast mine in a village near Jharia, India, in 2012.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:16 pm

Just 1 percent of the world's population controls nearly half of the planet's wealth, according to a new study published by Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

The study says this tiny slice of humanity controls $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Other key findings in the report:

-- The world's 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity.

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Rosetta Space Probe Gets Interplanetary Wake-Up Call

Rosetta, the European Space Agency's cometary probe with NASA contributions, is seen in an undated artist's rendering.
NASA Reuters/Landov

... That's the message received from a bleary-eyed comet-chasing space probe on Monday, much to the relief of ground-based controllers who sent it a long distance wake-up call after nearly a three-year nap.

The European Space Agency received the communique from deep space on schedule at 1 p.m. ET from Rosetta, some 500 million miles away on a trajectory to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. It's been in sleep mode to conserve power.

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History
2:42 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

A Promise Unfulfilled: 1962 MLK Speech Recording Is Discovered

A recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering this address to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission in 1962 was recently discovered by the New York State Museum.
Courtesy of New York State Education Department

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 7:44 pm

Last fall, curators and interns at the New York State Museum were digging through their audio archives in an effort to digitize their collection. It was tedious work; the museum houses over 15 million objects. But on this particular day in November, they unearthed a treasure.

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NPR Story
2:27 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Syrian-American Rapper Focuses On Violence In Syria

Omar Offendum performs at the 2012 Doha Tribeca Film Festival on November 18, 2012 in Doha, Qatar. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Doha Film Institute)

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:52 pm

You may have heard of Omar Offendum, the 31-year-old Syrian-American rapper who made a song about the Arab Spring called #Jan25 that was released just days before the overthrow of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

Now, he’s focusing his music on his parents’ home country of Syria. He joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss his music and what it’s been like to watch the conflict from the U.S.

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NPR Story
2:27 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

New Thinking On Women And Alcohol

(CoffeeCypher/Flickr)

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:52 pm

Alcoholics Anonymous is commonly considered the gold standard for helping people control their drinking problems.

But there’s a growing school of thought that there are problem drinkers who can cut back — as opposed to severely dependent drinkers who must cut out drinking altogether. There are new tools, such as medication and online support.

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NPR Story
2:27 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

'Brutal Massacre' Of Civilians Unsettles Western Agencies In Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers inspect the scene of a suicide attack outside a base in Zhari district, Kandahar province on January 20, 2014. (Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:52 pm

NATO forces repelled a Taliban attack on a Western base today in the Southern Afghan province of Kandahar that killed one coalition soldier. All nine Taliban fighters, along with two Afghan civilians were killed in the battle.

That attack comes after a suicide bombing on Friday in Kabul that killed 21 people, 13 of them foreigners. NPR’ Sean Carberry tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that the attack was “unprecedented.”

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

N.J. Lt. Gov. Denies Strong-Arming Mayor Over Sandy Relief Funds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joins Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno (right) at a statewide prayer service in Newark marking the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, in October.
Eric Thayer AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:34 pm

New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is firing back at Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to her city were held up when she refused to sign off on a politically connected real estate deal.

Zimmer said over the weekend that during a mall opening event in May, Guadagno pulled her aside to say she needed to "move forward" on the real estate deal or "we are not going to be able to help you."

Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in aid. She received around $142,000.

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