NPR News

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sounded a defiant note, today, while still recognizing the consequences of asking the United Nations to grant Palestinians statehood.

Abbas said he planned on presenting a formal request to the U.N. during his speech on Friday. As Reuters reports, Abbas also said "all hell has broken out" against them because of the decision.

Reuters adds:

Last weekend marked a milestone for Afghanistan's Parliament that should have been cause for celebration: It's been a year since Afghans braved the threat of insurgent violence to go to the polls to pick a new legislature.

But a dispute over election results has smoldered between President Hamid Karzai and lawmakers ever since. And the resulting gridlock has prevented the new parliament from passing a single notable law, confirming any of the president's ministers, or giving any oversight to the president or his cabinet.

Bird watchers, and other nature lovers, take note:

"Scientists in Norway say they have conclusive genetic evidence that sparrows recently evolved a third species," the BBC reports. "The Italian sparrow, they argue, is a cross between the ubiquitous house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow."

UBS Ups Estimate On Rogue Trader Loss

Sep 19, 2011

The Swiss bank UBS announced last night that a rogue trader lost more money than it originally announced. UBS said the total loss is $2.3 billion. In a statement, the bank also gave some detail about the alleged actions of Kwaku Adoboli, who was arrested and charged in London on Friday.

President Obama's re-election may all come down to whether voters mainly view the 2012 race seen as a referendum on his presidency or a choice between competing Democratic and Republican prescriptions for how to best address the nation's economic and fiscal challenges.

If it's a referendum, it could well be curtains for his hopes of a second term because the economy is clearly making too many voters unhappy and scared.

President Obama's Blueprint For Slashing Deficit

Sep 19, 2011

On Monday, the president released a plan on how to pay for his $447 billion jobs bill and reduce the nation's deficit. The plan aims to slash $3 trillion from the debt over the next decade, which involves Medicare and Social Security cuts and tax increases for the wealthy. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving about the plan.

White House Senior Advisor Talks Debt

Sep 19, 2011

Valerie Jarrett discusses the viability of President Obama's new debt plan, including cuts to entitlement spending and proposed tax increases to Americans who make more than $1 million. She speaks with host Michel Martin.

Saying that "Washington has to live within its means" and that lawmakers must "cut what we can't afford to pay for what really matters," President Obama just introduced what he says is a plan to cut an additional $3 trillion from budget deficits over the next decade.

And he vowed to veto any legislation that puts all the burden of deficit reduction on those who rely on Medicare and other social programs. "It will not happen on my watch," declared Obama, in making the case that the wealthy and corporations must also be asked to pay more in taxes.

(Note at 12:10 p.m. ET: A 10th person has died, according to officials in Washoe County, Nev. We've updated the post to reflect that news.)

As investigators search for clues into the cause of Friday's deadly accident at a Reno air race, in which 10 people were killed and dozens more injured when a plane crashed into a V.I.P. tent, there are reports that some who were there think 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward did his best to prevent an even worse tragedy.

Saying that "I messed up," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced late Sunday evening that after many complaints from its customers about a 60 percent increase in its fees, the company is splitting its services.

Soon, if you just want DVDs-by-mail, you'll be dealing with Qwikster (Hastings says the name "refers to quick delivery).

If you want to stream movies and other content, the company you'll be using will still be called Netflix.