National News from NPR

Hurricane Irene has reached the coast of North Carolina, bringing heavy rains and winds of 85 miles per hour. But there IS some good news. The storm is turning out to be less powerful than forecasters expected. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR science reporter John Hamilton about the latest on Hurricane Irene.

New York Scrambles To Safety As Irene Nears

Aug 27, 2011

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SCOTT SIMON, host: New York City officials have ordered the mandatory evacuation of roughly 370,000 people who live in low-lying areas of the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that everybody living there should be gone by 5 pm today.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Now, we've never done a mandatory evacuation before and we wouldn't be doing it now if we didn't think this storm had the potential to be very serious.

As Hurricane Irene swirls toward the North Carolina coast, many local business owners are despairing the loss of business during their busy season. Host Scott Simon checks in with Steve and Kristine Kiousis, who own the pancake house, Stack 'Em High, in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

On the New Jersey Shore, officials have ordered mandatory evacuations and residents are preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

Think of the U.S. economy as a patient who is bedridden after a long illness.

At an annual policy conference this weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyo., what they're discussing is not just about how to get the patient up and hobbling around, but how to get him running wind sprints. The meeting's title is "Achieving Maximum Long-Run Growth."

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Libyan rebels say they've secured most of Tripoli and taken a key border crossing to Tunisia. That crossing is vital to getting food and supplies into the Libyan capital where the human situation is growing dire. Members of the rebel council in Benghazi say they're relocating to Tripoli where they will set up an interim government that will rule Libya into 2012. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Soraya, thanks for being with us.

Obama Considers New Housing Solutions

Aug 27, 2011

The Obama administration is considering several new ideas to help shore up the struggling housing market. As first reported by The New York Times this week, one proposal would allow homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at the current, lower interest rates. Host Scott Simon talks with Columbia University's Christopher Mayer, who helped introduce the mortgage refinancing proposal in 2008.

Disloyalty Charges Threaten N.H. GOP Chair

Aug 27, 2011

Presidential candidates aren't the only Republicans jockeying for position in the state that holds the first presidential primary. Jack Kimball, New Hampshire's GOP chairman, is fighting to remain in office. The Tea Party-backed newcomer was elected to lead state Republicans just seven months ago. He now faces removal amid charges of incompetence and disloyalty. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.

The memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., opened on the National Mall this week. NPR's Ari Shapiro introduces us to one man for whom this moment caps a long family story.

Mitt Romney's national front-runner status in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination took a hit this week, with national polls showing that he has been eclipsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The magnitude-5.8 earthquake that rattled the eastern U.S. on Tuesday took everyone — even geologists — by surprise. But even when there are reasons to think an earthquake could be around the corner, scientists still can't make good predictions.

Pieces of twisted metal and scrap wood left behind by a massive tornado that tore through Joplin, Miss., are now sitting in a gallery in Kansas City. The sculptures and paintings from the wreckage are to be sold at auction Saturday.

Ann Leach is a grief counselor who has lived in Joplin for 14 years. She's one of the survivors of the May tornado, which left 159 people dead. When the tornado struck, Leach was protected by a slab of sheet rock that fell on top of her, forming a protective barrier.

Irene is already causing travel headaches: Airlines have cancelled 2,400 flights so far. As it works up its way through the East Coast of the United States, Bloomberg reports, it is forecast to move through busiest airspace in the country.

That means: Delta has cancelled 1,300 flights; Jet Blue will drop 75 percent of its weekend trips; American Airlines is planning to scrap 265 flights.

Bloomberg adds:

Three years behind schedule and several billion dollars over budget, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is finally set for its first commercial flight. The Federal Aviation Administration gave the plane its OK and Boeing will make its first delivery in September.

Bloomberg reports:

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