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In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have inserted into a broad appropriations bill language that would block funding for a Labor Department effort to reduce the occurrence of black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust.

The bill covers appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013 for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Tucked away deep inside the measure is this language:

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

Any woman who has bought health insurance on her own probably didn't find herself humming the old show tune, "I Enjoy Being a Girl." That's because more than 90 percent of individual plans charge women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, a practice known as gender rating.

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"The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress this morning in testimony prepared for his semiannual report on economic conditions and monetary policy.

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

"I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," Steven St. Bernard tells CBS 2 TV in New York City.

Alaska Mayor Is Purrfect For The Job

Jul 17, 2012

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Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska is celebrating his 15th year on the job. No worries about term limits for this mayor. Stubbs, so named because he's missing half a tail, is as popular as the day he was elected. Townspeople voted for him as a write-in candidate even though he's a cat out of disappointment with the human candidates and Stubbs has been mayor ever since - honorary mayor.

Separate mass shootings at opposite ends of North America have left dozens wounded and at least two people dead.

Late Monday evening in Toronto, two people were killed and at least 19 others wounded in a shooting that "Police Chief Bill Blair called the worst in the city's history," The Globe and Mail writes. It adds that:

One of this morning's scoops, from The Wall Street Journal:

"The Pentagon is building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar and organizing its biggest-ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf, as preparations accelerate for a possible flare-up with Iran, according to U.S. officials."

Don't Try This At Home: Gun As A TV Remote

Jul 17, 2012

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Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Salem, Oregon police say a man turned off his TV using a different kind of remote - he was playing with a gun. He aimed the laser scope at the TV and pulled the trigger and discovered the gun was loaded. Nobody was hurt but neighbors called police about the bullet that came through their wall.

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

'Encyclopedia Brown' Author Dies At 87

Jul 17, 2012

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Let's take a moment to remember mystery writer Donald Sobol who died last week in Miami. He was a man who wrote his mysteries short. In the 1950s, he succeeded with syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries."

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But Sobol is most remembered for his "Encyclopedia Brown" kids' books, books that Don Weisberg knew well as both a publisher and a reader. Weisberg is currently the president of the children' book division of Penguin Books.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Start with a city centuries old, mix in contests that trace their origins back millennia, then add in record numbers of arrivals at London's Heathrow Airport, including athletes who in some cases felt like they'd spent centuries on the bus stuck in traffic on the way into town.

The London Olympics are days away, along with some complications, as NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

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Once again, a push by Democrats to force outside campaign spending groups to reveal their big hidden donors has been stymied. Last night for the second time, Senate Republicans closed ranks and blocked legislation on what's known as the Disclose Act. And as it happens, that legislation would've affected groups that are a key source of spending this year, favoring Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. NPR's David Welna explains.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Here's what's happening in the presidential race. Republican Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for cronyism. Romney contends that Obama campaign donors got alternative energy grants.

MONTAGNE: Romney is trying to return to the offensive after being slammed over his own record. President Obama and his campaign have been questioning Romney's business background.

Investigation: HSBC Laundered Drug Money

Jul 17, 2012

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An apology from a giant bank is at the top of NPR's business news.

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And in Silicon Valley, the buzz is the latest hire by Yahoo. Marissa Mayer is the new CEO. Yahoo lured the 37-year-old away from Google, were she was one of that company's most prominent executives. She studied computer science at Stanford, was hired on as employee number 20 at Google, and as NPR's Steve Henn reports, she is something of a rock star in the tech world.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: For years the rap on Yahoo has been: this company lacks focus.

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And we're here next about a new educational partnership with Silicon Valley. It's what the University of Virginia. You may recall last month, UVA's board of governors fired and then rehired President Teresa Sullivan. One reason some board members say they called for her ouster in the first place was that she had not moved quickly enough to expand the university's online courses. That has prompted new initiative being announced today, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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Today's last word in business could be several things: abundance mentality or win-win.

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Or maybe sharpening the saw. Those are all aspects of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." The author of that business Bible died yesterday. Stephen Covey was 79.

MONTAGNE: He wrote "The 7 Habits" in 1989. Years later, Covey appeared on this program. He was asked what skills of leader should have.

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Businesspeople with a conscience like to recycle an old saying. They say they like to be doing well by doing good.

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They like to make money by helping people. It's a nice idea for a business, but not always a great formula for TV drama.

INSKEEP: The makers of "Breaking Bad" showcase another business formula - a man who's been diagnosed with cancer becomes a drug dealer to support his family. He's doing well by doing bad.

There's something new to prevent HIV infections.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a once-a-day pill that can drastically lower a person's risk of getting the virus that causes AIDS.

It's called Truvada — the first HIV prevention pill.

It's not cheap — around $13,000 a year — and it's not clear what insurers will pay for it. And there's worry that people taking the pill might relax safe-sex precautions.

Opening statements will be made Tuesday in the trial of a former Air Force instructor accused of rape and sexual assault of the young trainees in his care.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker faces 28 charges and could be sentenced to life in prison. A total of 12 Air Force instructors are under investigation for allegedly abusing recruits at Lackland Air Force Base, the main Air Force training center.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he can do better than President Obama at finding jobs for unemployed Americans. One way he would do that is by bringing back personal re-employment accounts.

When people lose their jobs, one of the first places they turn to is their state unemployment office, where they can sign up for unemployment benefits; they often can enroll in some kind of retraining class as well.

In 2004, the Bush administration conducted an experiment to begin privatizing a small part of the federal retraining program.

Sir Elton John is constantly remembering his life as a drug addict, whether he wants to or not.

"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."

When Billie Holiday died in 1959, thousands of mourners attended her funeral at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in New York City. The overflow crowd lined the sidewalks. Honorary pallbearers included such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Mary Lou Williams. Newspapers and magazines ran heartfelt tributes.

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