Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a number of promises to fellow leaders of the eurozone countries at a summit meeting in October. Now Italy's economy is starting to become a growing concern for European Union leaders and financial markets.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. To understand the European debt crisis, it helps to keep track of both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, Europeans have agreed on a bailout deal that among other things would cut the debts of Greece. It's being held up by the Greek prime minister's plan to hold a referendum on austerity measures. Europeans have told Greece it's got to decide soon if it wants to be part of the eurozone or not.
NPR's business news begins with a bleaker forecast from the Fed. Just when we were beginning to hear some more positive economic news, the Federal Reserve reminds us not to get too excited. It's predicting slower growth and less improvement in the unemployment rate through 2013 than previously expected. This news comes after a two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee, in which it decided against taking new measures to stimulate the economy for now.
Some towns in New York are rushing to ban horizontal hydrofracking, a controversial technique for capturing natural gas trapped deep under ground. The state itself has yet to approve fracking, but Dryden, N.Y., isn't taking any chances. Town supervisors approved a ban based on local zoning. David Chanatry of the New York Reporting Project at Utica College reports, the Dryden's ban is the issue in next week's town board elections.
We're going to hear now about a very small race that's making big political waves. The race is for the school board of Wake County, North Carolina. It comes after a policy using family income to create economic diversity in the schools was tossed out by a Republican school board in 2009. This Tuesday, a runoff election for one seat on the board may put the Democrats back in the majority. Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio reports the school board race is attracting national attention and big money.
Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was found guilty of conspiring to sell weapons to South American terrorists Wednesday. Host Renee Montagne talks to Michael Sullivan about the conviction of the so-called "Merchant of Death."
About 3,000 people gathered at the Port of Oakland Wednesday, and effectively shut it down. People flooded the port area and blocked exits. The protest remained largely peaceful until the late evening, when police responded to a bonfire.
In the coming months, the Obama administration will decide whether to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmental advocates will try to encircle the White House on Sunday in a show of solidarity against the project. Steady protests have made this one of the most high-profile environmental decisions of the Obama presidency.
White House spokesman Jay Carney often tries to distance the president from the decision-making process over the pipeline.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have shut down operations for the day at one of the nation's busiest shipping ports.
Port of Oakland officials said in a statement late Wednesday that the peaceful rally attended by thousands of demonstrators forced them to cancel typical evening maritime activity. Officials at the nation's fifth-largest shipping port say they hope the work day can resume Thursday.