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Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 11:42 am
The economy has so much going for it: low inflation, low interest rates, affordable homes, falling gasoline prices and 27 straight months of job growth. Good times, no?
The economy is slowing, but not because of current conditions. The slowdown reflects the fear of what may be coming next. Economists say employers and investors are paralyzed by the uncertainty surrounding three huge problems: one in the United States, another in Europe and the third in China.
After a week of escalating violence in Syria, the chief U.N. official there in the country said today that efforts to resolve the conflict have had little effect. It was a bleak assessment from the man leading the United Nations observer mission for the past six months. NPR's Deborah Amos joins us from Damascus, where she has been out with observers assessing the situation.
And Deb, what was the message today from Major General Robert Mood?
"Tokyo police have arrested the last fugitive member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, Katsuya Takahashi, who was on the run for 17 years," NHK WORLD reports.
The 54-year-old suspect was taken into custody today in Tokyo. As NHK says, "Takahashi was wanted in connection with the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March, 1995 and other Aum-related crimes. He allegedly helped one of the perpetrators flee after the attack."
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Egypt's transition to democracy has taken a blow, one so serious that opposition forces are calling it a coup. The country's Supreme Constitutional Court yesterday issued two rulings. One dissolved Egypt's first freely elected parliament, now filled mostly with Islamists. The other threw out a law that forbade members of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime from running for high office.
Greeks are headed back to the polls Sunday after last month's inconclusive parliamentary election left the country without a governing coalition. And like the last time, people are polarized over harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece as part of a large European economic bailout.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
Here is a sneak preview of what we can expect a lot more of in the next few months: President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney carrying on a long-distance debate over the economy. In this case, the distance was just 250 miles. Both men were in Ohio. Mr. Obama was in the Democratic stronghold of Cleveland, up along the Great Lakes. Romney was down in Cincinnati, near the Kentucky border.
President Obama's Ohio speech yesterday was designed to draw a contrast between his economic vision and Mitt Romney's. It was also meant to argue that the state of the economy doesn't hand his rival the keys to the White House.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: As initial unemployment claims ticked up again this week, President Obama said he's reminded every day just how tough things still are for many Americans. But he also expressed confidence that by working together, those challenges can be overcome.