Ice Age: Continental Drift, which comes out July 13, is the fourth film in the animated franchise. Since Toy Story marked the beginning of the era of entirely computer-animated films, they've been a studio's safest bet for big earnings at the box office and beyond.
Credit Michael Nagle / Getty Images
Computer-animated films like Toy Story 3 are not only box-office draws, they also bring in money through toy sales and theme park rides.
Imagine you're a movie producer, and you've got a couple of hundred million dollars to gamble on a single massive blockbuster. Which genre do you suppose will be your safest bet — superhero? Action-adventure? Sci-fi? All of those have had huge successes, but they've also all had hugely expensive failures.
There's one genre, though, that's hardly a gamble at all. It's been almost foolproof since it first came into being in 1995: computer animation.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:02 am
In the absence of a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, drug treatment has at least helped lower the pandemic's toll.
Since 2003, much of the treatment dispensed in hard-hit countries has come in the form of generic versions of previously expensive drugs. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has paid for quite a bit of the medicine.
Mitt Romney, hearing boos at the NAACP convention, now knows what we go through each week on the podcast. President Obama, facing poor economic news, changes the subject with an assault on Romney and the GOP on taxes. Plus updates on Reps Charlie Rangel (victory), Jesse Jackson Jr. (health), Shelley Berkley (ethics) and Thad McCotter (skadoodle).
Join NPR's Ken Rudin and guest host Brian Naylor for this week's political roundup.
This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011. Breaking Bad begins its fifth season on Sunday, July 15th at 10 PM EST.
Vince Gilligan's AMC drama Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who turns to dealing drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. White's partner-in-crime throughout the series is his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by actor Aaron Paul.
A "not guilty" verdict has been handed down in a case that has been front-page news for months in Great Britain:
John Terry, former captain of England's national soccer team and captain of the English Premier League's Chelsea Football Club, "has been cleared of racially abusing fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand," the BBC writes.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images
President Obama is interviewed from the Cabinet Room of the White House by Robin Roberts on ABC's Good Morning America on May 9. During the interview, Obama expressed his support for gay marriage — a first for a U.S. president.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:40 am
President Obama's decision to publicly support same-sex marriage may have changed the minds of some Americans, according to a national poll. But in states that will vote on the issue in November, the impact has been mixed.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:33 am
For all the chatter that the winner of the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the economy, you wouldn't know it by looking at the most closely contested states.
The recovery is still tepid in most parts of the country, and there's a sense of trepidation that signs of improvement might not last. Among the swing states, some are doing comparatively well while others are struggling — but the political picture looks roughly the same in all.
The reporter who last year broke the news that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been accused of sexually abusing young boys today helps answer some very interesting questions:
The largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, this morning released its second quarter results. It's net income was $5 billion, but it turns out that loses in a failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader were much higher than what the bank originally said the loss would be. In fact, JPMorgan lost $4.4 billion last quarter on those risky trades.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, that's not the full extent of the firm's damage.
The grim numbers vary and independent observers haven't yet been able to get to the scene. But there's word from Syria of what may be the single worst day of bloodshed so far in what's become a long line of such horrible events since protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad began in March 2011:
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. People in Beirut are sick of political protests across the country. Protesters have been blocking highways with burning tires. So there was only one thing to do. Yesterday, they held a protest using tires against protests using tires. Instead of burning the tires in the street, they painted the tires many colors. The protesters held up signs reading: We are tired. And a police officer refused to ticket them, saying, their tires are pretty. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:30 pm
Though it suffered an estimated $4.4 billion second-quarter loss related to its bungled trading in some very risky types of investments, JPMorgan Chase said this morning that it still did well enough in its other businesses that it had net income of $5 billion in those three months.
This Friday the 13th, fans of horror films and hobbits, science fiction and fantasy are descending upon the San Diego Convention Center. They're gathering for the annual explosion of pop culture fandom that is Comic-Con. One of the biggest phenomena in pop culture at the moment will be making an appearance, and it's not a man of steel or a boy slinging webs.
It's a 40-something woman who writes... wait for it... steamy romance.
The ancient desert town of Timbuktu is under assault in the west African nation of Mali. Islamist forces have taken over much of northern Mali where Timbuktu is located. One group, allied with al-Qaida, has begun systematically destroying Shrines that celebrate ancient Muslim saints. Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Corinne Dufka talks to Renee Montagne about the destruction.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. China's economic growth has slowed down to a three-year low. That's according to new figures released today. The numbers matter to us because of the way the world economy is so interconnected. Americans import a lot from China, sure, but have also been working to boost exports to other nations, including China.
NPR's Louisa Lim joins us from Beijing to make sense of the latest news. Hi, Louisa.
NPR's business news starts with a warning about LIBOR.
It came years ago. We now know that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pointed out problems with the way that London's key interest rates were set. He did this in 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis at the time he was head of the New York Federal Reserve.
And the biggest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, says it has lost $4.4 billion from its failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader. That's more than twice the bank's earlier estimate. The company released its second-quarter earnings report this morning, and NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us now to talk about them. Jim, what is the company telling investors this morning about that money?
Some future news now. The Olympics begin two weeks from today in London, and we can already tell you the likely big winners. China will take the most gold medals, followed by the U.S. and host country, Great Britain. Team USA will win the most overall medals, followed by China and Russia.
And today's last word in business comes from the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, which by the way, won six medals in the last Olympics. But today's last word is about another kind of competition, this one between social networking sites. And the word is: YouFace. That's the name of a new social networking site that aims to lure local Internet users away from Facebook, and, quote, "boost patriotism among young people in Uzbekistan."
Freddie Wood stands at the counter of the Wood & Swink general store in Evinston, Fla.
The Wood & Swink general store sits near the crossroads of two county roads. Wilma Sue Wood, who was Evinston's postmaster for 32 years, says the town's 150 or so residents visit to hear news: "Who's had a baby; who's died."
The store also sells produce from the Woods' farm.
Evinston's post office is on a U.S. Postal Service list of rural facilities facing cuts in their operating hours.
"The post office and the store, I just love it," Wood says. He spends most of his afternoons sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of the store.
Freddie Wood stands at the counter of the Wood & Swink general store in Evinston, Fla. The store, founded in the late 1800s, houses the oldest post office in Florida.
Freddie Wood and Wilma Sue Wood, the former postmaster in Evinston, Fla. Wilma Sue says people visit the post office to learn "who's had a baby; who's died."
This month, the U.S. Postal Service begins cutting back hours and services at rural post offices across the country. One store facing changes sits inside the Wood & Swink general store in the northern Florida town of Evinston. The store has been in Freddie Wood's family for more than 100 years. In that time, it's gone through only small changes.
Some of the most interesting discoveries in archaeology come from sifting through ancient garbage dumps. Scientists working in Oregon have found one that has yielded what they say are the oldest human remains in the Americas and a puzzle about the earliest American tools.
Early Americans used Oregon's Paisley Caves for, among other things, a toilet. Little did they know that scientists would be picking through what they left behind.
Half of San Bernardino County's 300,000 mortgages are underwater. In an attempt to ease the mortgage crisis, the Southern California county is considering taking control of some of those properties by eminent domain.
County and city officials in San Bernardino, Calif., are considering a controversial plan: using the power of eminent domain to take over "underwater" mortgages, where the value of the home is worth less than the original loan. Taking on those properties, officials say, would allow the homeowners to refinance those troubled loans.
Europe is struggling, thanks to a relentless debt crisis. Compounding its problems: It is not one country, but 17.
Many observers agree that to solve their problems, those countries have to start looking a lot more like one country. And there is a force in Europe trying to make that happen: the European Central Bank. The weapon it has that everyone else lacks? Money.
New questions about Mitt Romney's overseas investments have dogged the GOP presidential contender all week. Many arose from a report in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. It describes how the day before Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, he put a corporation he'd set up in Bermuda in a blind trust held by his wife, Ann. Romney insists he did nothing wrong.