Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with congratulations to R.J. Balson and Son. The butcher shop on the south coast of England has been named Britain's oldest family-run business, and is it ever. Balson's began selling sausages and bacon in 1535 when Henry VIII was king and still married to Ann Boleyn. Twenty-five generations later, owner Richard Balson tells the Daily Mail his son will join the business next year, and that son has a son, too. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A cleaning woman working at the Ostwall Museum in Berlin noticed a wet stain on the floor by a modern-art sculpture. She scrubbed away the stain, not realizing it was part of the piece called, "When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling." Back in 1986, another cleaner in Germany wiped away a grease stain valued at 400,000 euros.
It felt like 2008 all over again in Philadelphia this week. A DJ played a song by the Black Eyed Peas to warm up a crowd of about 500 students from local colleges. President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, exhorted the crowd at the University of Pennsylvania to volunteer, to apply for internships and, of course, to vote.
"There's 8 million registered voters who are 18 to 21 who weren't old enough to vote last time, who are going to cast their first vote, and they're going to do it for Barack Obama," Messina said. "Raise your hand if you're 18 to 21!"
With Greece in flux over whether it'll remain in the eurozone, other weak economies like Spain are feeling the heat.
The worst could be yet to come in Spain — not because of public debt, but because its banks are still laden with unpaid real estate loans, putting both the banks and the housing market in jeopardy. Real estate prices in Madrid are still high, though salaries are frozen and unemployment soars. When Ireland's housing bubble burst, prices dropped more than 40 percent. But in Spain it's an 18 percent drop on average.
On the U.S.-Mexico border, officials are dealing with the war on drugs. Towns there have been plagued with violence. Commentator Austin Bay is a retired colonel in the Army Reserve and a Texas native with his own memories of the area. He has a proposal to reduce the drug-related brutality.
Mexico's border cities weren't always war zones. At one time, Matamoros was a fine place to get a steak. The orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, where my friend Fred volunteered, was lively and the kids delightful.
Prime Minister George Papandreou has backed down from a referendum on the European Union bailout package and he faces a vote of confidence Friday. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells host Steve Inskeep his future is uncertain.
Friday morning, the Labor Department releases its unemployment report for October. The unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent for most of the past three years, and it's not expected to dip below that this month. Host Renee Montagne speaks with NPR's Jim Zarroli about the numbers and the outlook for the U.S. economy.
The sluggish economy means fewer travelers will be heading home for Thanksgiving this year, although it hasn't brought down prices. And as NPR's David Schaper reports, those who do fly will still find their flights packed.