Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

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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 reforming the Dept. 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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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.


Troubled First Solar, Inc. To Announce Earnings

Nov 3, 2011
Originally published on November 3, 2011 7:54 am



First Solar, viewed as the golden child of the solar industry, hold its quarterly call today with nervous investors. They're on edge because the Arizona-based company announced a CEO shake-up late last month and have said almost nothing publically since then. From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Peter O'Dowd reports.

PETER O'DOWD, BYLINE: 2011 and the solar industry just don't get along. There was a bankruptcy at Solyndra, political fallout over government loan guarantees, and now the quasi-mysterious firing of First Solar CEO Robert Gillette. Tim Arcuri is a Citigroup Global Markets analyst.

TIM ARCURI: Whenever you put out a terse two-sentence release in the middle of the trading day, that's a bit odd.

O'DOWD: First Solar stock fell 25 percent after the announcement. Some analysts downgraded the stock, and company execs issued an earnings report ahead of schedule to stop some of the bleeding. Third-quarter sales topped one billion dollars - an improvement over last quarter. But Arcuri says First Solar isn't off the hook.

ARCURI: I think that they may have to lay some employees off and run the factories under-utilized. And I think that's a very tough pill to swallow for, you know, a company that since its inception has been the cost leader.

O'DOWD: Competition from China and weak demand in Europe have made it harder for First Solar to sustain its enviable cost advantage. Shayle Kann follows the industry for GTM Research. He says the shake-up doesn't say anything fundamental about the company.

SHAYLE KANN: It's I think important to look a bit longer term at how First Solar is competitively positioned, which in my standpoint is still quite good.

O'DOWD: For its part, First Solar says it needs a new chief to navigate industry turmoil. For much else, investors will have to wait until after the trading day when First Solar has its call. For NPR News, I'm Peter O'Dowd in Phoenix. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.