Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Drivers near Coventry, England experienced unusual weather conditions yesterday: apples falling from the sky. About 100 rained down in a few minutes. Meteorologists blamed a freak wind, clearly a strong one, since a woman whose car hood was pounded by the fruit said there are no orchards nearby. This isn't the first time strange objects have rained down in Britain. In 2007, fish fell in Norfolk. Frogs rained down in Wales in 1996. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
America's colors have been cased in Iraq — the flag was just symbolically put away at a ceremony marking the end of a war that lasted nearly nine years.
At the Baghdad airport a short time ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were there to mark the occasion, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports. It was, she said on Morning Edition, a "quiet, small ceremony."
Jackson "Jax" Teller, the antihero at the heart of FX's blockbuster biker gang series Sons of Anarchy, is pretty easy to distinguish from a traditional hero. Just this season, Jax blew away a rival gang with an RPG missile, shot a Russian gangster in the head and got into some serious trouble while selling guns to the scariest gangsters on the planet.
And let's turn now to the latest volley in the ongoing tariff war. American politicians have vowed to fight new Chinese tariffs on U.S. made cars and SUVs. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has more.
TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: In 2010, the U.S. won a Chinese tire-dumping complaint before the World Trade Organization. Then China complained about U.S. poultry dumping. The U.S. said China subsidizes solar panels. Now the fight's over cars. Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas heads a trade subcommittee.
President Obama has vowed to stay committed to Iraq. He emphasized that earlier this week when he met at the White House with Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Yesterday, the president marked the pullout of troops from Iraq in North Carolina. He and the first lady visited Fort Bragg to offer thanks and congratulations to the soldiers there.
Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio sent this report.
One of the year-end fights going on in Congress is about extending unemployment insurance. Democrats want to extend benefits for people long out of work. Republicans say, wait a minute, it's time to reform the program and lower its cost.
The stakes are high on this one. The Labor Department estimates that if Congress doesn't do something soon, some two-and-a-half million people could stop receiving checks by March. NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports now on the politics and on the realities of unemployment insurance.
Television has always loved heroes who sometimes act a bit like the bad guys — from cheeky gambler Brett Maverick to know-it-all bigot Archie Bunker. But today's TV shows seem addicted to the anti-hero, pushing audiences to fall in love with a meth dealer, murderous biker gang and a serial killer. TV critic Eric Deggans of the "St. Petersburg Times" explains why bad-guy heroes are so popular now.
In Alabama, a teacher who takes a Christmas ham as a gift from a student could get jail time. That's because of a new ethics law the governor wants changed. The new law severely restricts gifts to teachers.
Oil futures are recovering after falling to a five-week low Wednesday, amid fears of declining demand and OPEC's decision to set a higher production ceiling for the next six months. The decision effectively ratified Saudi Arabia's move in recent months to pump more oil in an attempt to rein in soaring crude prices.