Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The earth is being hit right now by a storm full of fury and beauty. The biggest solar storm in years has lit up the skies with a show known as the Northern Lights. This big storm is treating stargazers as far south as Upstate New York to a spectacle of green and blue, which may well make up for the disruptions it could bring to the electrical grid and GPS signals. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In New York City, the street in front of a high school was painted with big white letters that were supposed to read "school." But the word painted read "shcool." The city says a contractor made the mistake after some street repairs.
In a daring raid reminiscent of the kind used to kill Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into Somalia Wednesday morning and rescued two aid workers, who had been held by pirates for months.
The New York Times reports the soldiers came in by helicopter and engaged in a firefight that killed nine pirates. The SEALs left with Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and a 60-year-old Dane, Poul Thisted, who were injury free and on their way home.
British adventurer Felicity Aston this week became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica, from one coast to another. It took her 59 days to cover more than 1,000 miles, dragging her supplies behind her on sleds. She talked to Steve Inskeep from the Union Glacier base camp in Antarctica while waiting to go home.
This year's State of the Union address may have set a record for fewest surprises.
The usual elements were all in place, starting with the sergeant at arms shouting across the din of the chamber, quieting the crowd of worthies from both House and Senate, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court.
Then the president made his way down the center aisle, shaking hands with the members who had sent staff members to reserve these favored seats for hours for just this moment.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney earned more than $42 million over the past two years — the bulk of it from an array of stocks and investment funds. And he paid about 15 percent of what he made in taxes. The release of some 500 pages of tax returns give a much fuller picture of how he made his money and what he did with it.
As the president delivered the final State of the Union address of his term before a looming re-election battle, he looked out at a sea of angry and skeptical Republicans who had fought him on budgets, government shutdowns, and whether or not to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
And what did President Bill Clinton do in 1996?
He delivered his "the era of big government is over" speech, which The Washington Post summed up this way: "Clinton Embraced GOP Themes in Setting Agenda."
President Obama visits Phoenix Wednesday as part of a five-state campaign tour. The campaign thinks it can win Arizona, and that's an unlikely ambition for this conservative state. But Obama might have a chance. Unlikely upsets have dominated Arizona politics lately. The electorate is in flux.
President Obama gave, what his opponents hope, will be his last State of the Union address Tuesday night. To check the facts in the president's speech, Steve Inskeep talks to NPR reporters Tom Gjelten, John Ydstie, David Welna, Elizabeth Shogren and Claudio Sanchez. Steve also talks to David Wessel of "The Wall Street Journal."