The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.
That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.
In Afghanistan, where most people are illiterate and live in areas without paved roads or regular electricity, a state-of-the-art smart-chip ID card may seem extravagant. But the government believes it can help with everything from census data to voter registration to health care.
The format of the proposed card, however, is fueling debate over ethnicity and identity at a time when anxiety is already high over the drawdown of NATO troops.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.
But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. This is one of those news stories that leaves your jaw on the floor; an incredible story in Cleveland. Three women who were kidnapped a decade ago have been found alive, in a house not far from where they disappeared.
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STEPHEN ANTHONY: For Amanda's family, for Gina's family, for Michelle's family, prayers have finally been answered. The nightmare is over.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Twitter came alive with shocking news. The Syrian Electronic Army apparently hacked the feed of the satirical site The Onion. Syrians topped their attacks on AP, "60 Minutes" and NPR. After being victimized, The Onion published tips to avoid being hacked. Move site to a new web address every few minutes.
New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, was hosting a group of school children in his office when a spider appeared. Christie did not grant it a pardon. Kids laughed and cheered as he gave it the smack-down. Christie joked it's one of the perks of being governor - you can kill critters on your desk without getting into any trouble. Well, not completely true. The animal rights group PETA issued a statement criticizing what they called a thoughtless act.
Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.
Some other news. For the second time in less than a week, Afghan and Pakistani forces have exchanged fire along their shared border. The countries clashed again yesterday over a gate that Pakistani forces have been building on what Afghans say is their side of the line. The roots of this problem run much deeper.