Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters, and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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Pages

With Business Up, Owners Say Banks Lending Again

Feb 20, 2012
Originally published on February 21, 2012 11:26 am

A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.

Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.

"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.

And Kasriel says consumers are getting more credit, too. "In fact in January we saw the strongest car and truck sales since I believe May of 2008, and one of the explanations was that credit was now beginning to flow to households again," he says.

Kasriel says he believes it's because banks have a cleared many of their bad loans and strengthened their capital, their cushion against loses.

Jim Chesson, chief economist at the American Bankers Association, agrees. "Problem loans are being quickly put behind the industry. They have the deposits to be able to make loans, and the real issue is, is there creditworthy businesses that are able to borrow now and willing to borrow."

Craig Carrel's company Team 1 Plastics, based in Albion, Mich., is one such firm. "Business is great right now, the best it's been since the fall of '08," he says.

Team 1 Plastics makes injection-molded components that show up in vehicles produced by the Big Three U.S. auto companies, and Japanese and German carsmakers, too. The recovery of the auto industry has boosted business so much that Team 1 asked Bank of America to boost the line of credit it uses to finance its operations. Carrel says the request has been tentatively approved along with a loan for some new equipment.

"I think we have a good story, and I think part of what helped us for additional credit is the bright outlook, especially in automotive," he says.

Dan Thystrup's company Adventureglass has not been as lucky. The firm makes paddleboats out of fiberglass for places like SeaWorld and Disney World. "Our main product is paddleboats that look like ducks and swans and pirate ships, and things like that." Thystrup says.

The company's revenues have fallen from about $1 million a year before the recession to about half that now. Still, Thystrup says he needs to replace an old factory building, and that requires getting a loan.

"And we worked on it a little bit with our bank and they were not very interested in doing anything for us," he says.

Thystrup says U.S. sales are soft and foreign sales to places like Kuwait and India are what's keeping Adventureglass afloat. As a result, he says, just renewing the credit line with his bank late last year was an ordeal.

Another strike against Thystrup may be that his main collateral is real estate, including his home and business buildings. William Dennis, of the National Federation of Independent Business says that's hurting the creditworthiness of lots of small firms.

"Small firms own a ton of real estate, and a lot of that's being used for collateral. And a lot of that real estate is still not doing well at all."

Dennis says a recent NFIB survey of 850 small firms shows an increased demand for credit last year, but no increase in the number of bank loans received.

However, Fed data suggests banks are loosening their purse strings — they are identifying more credit worthy borrowers and more businesses and consumers are gaining the confidence to borrow again

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a promising sign on the road to economic recovery. A big reason that recovery here in the U.S. has been so slow is that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. But NPR's John Ydstie reports now on signs that that's changing, and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, says his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.

PAUL KASRIEL: We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks.

YDSTIE: And he says consumers are getting more credit, too.

KASRIEL: In fact, in January, we saw the strongest car and truck sales since, I believe, May of 2008 and one of the explanations was that credit was now beginning to flow to households again.

YDSTIE: Kasriel says he believes it's because banks have cleared many of their bad loans and strengthened their capital, their cushion against losses. Jim Chessen, chief economist at the American Bankers' Association, agrees.

JIM CHESSEN: Problem loans are being quickly put behind the industry. They have the deposits to be able to make loans and the real issue is, you know, is there creditworthy businesses that are able to borrow now and willing to borrow?

YDSTIE: Craig Carrel's company, Team 1 Plastics, based in Albion, Michigan, is one such firm.

CRAIG CARREL: Business is great right now. The best it's been since the fall of '08.

YDSTIE: Team 1 Plastics make injection molded components that show up in vehicles produced by the big three U.S. auto companies and Japanese and German car makers, too. The recovery of the auto industry has boosted business so much that Team 1 asked Bank of America to boost the line of credit it uses to finance its operations.

Carrel says the requests have been tentatively approved, along with a loan for some new equipment.

CARREL: I think we have a good story and I think part of what helped us for additional credit is the brighter outlook, especially in automotive.

YDSTIE: Dan Thystrup's company, Adventureglass, has not been as lucky. The firm makes paddleboats out of fiberglass for places like Sea World and Disney World.

DAN THYSTRUP: Our main product is paddleboats that looks like ducks and swans and pirate ships and things like that.

YDSTIE: The company's revenues have fallen from about a million dollars a year before the recession to about half that now. Still, Thystrup says he needs to replace an old factory building and that requires getting a loan.

THYSTRUP: And we worked on it a little bit with our bank and they were not very interested in doing anything for us.

YDSTIE: Thystrup says U.S. sales are soft and foreign sales to places like Kuwait and India are what's keeping Adventureglass afloat. As a result, he says, just renewing the credit line with his bank late last year was an ordeal. Another strike against Thystrup may be that his main collateral is real estate, including his home and business buildings.

William Dennis of the National Association(ph) of Independent Businesses says that's hurting the creditworthiness of lots of small firms.

WILLIAM DENNIS: Small firms own a ton of real estate and a lot of that's being used for collateral and a lot of that real estate is still not doing well at all.

YDSTIE: Dennis says a recent NFIB survey of 850 small firms shows an increase in demand for credit last year, but no increase in the number of bank loans received. However, data from the Federal Reserve suggests banks are loosening their purse strings, that they are identifying more creditworthy borrowers and that more businesses and consumers are gaining the confidence to borrow again.

John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.