Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with congratulations to R.J. Balson and Son. The butcher shop on the south coast of England has been named Britain's oldest family-run business, and is it ever. Balson's began selling sausages and bacon in 1535 when Henry VIII was king and still married to Ann Boleyn. Twenty-five generations later, owner Richard Balson tells the Daily Mail his son will join the business next year, and that son has a son, too. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A cleaning woman working at the Ostwall Museum in Berlin noticed a wet stain on the floor by a modern-art sculpture. She scrubbed away the stain, not realizing it was part of the piece called, "When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling." Back in 1986, another cleaner in Germany wiped away a grease stain valued at 400,000 euros.
It felt like 2008 all over again in Philadelphia this week. A DJ played a song by the Black Eyed Peas to warm up a crowd of about 500 students from local colleges. President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, exhorted the crowd at the University of Pennsylvania to volunteer, to apply for internships and, of course, to vote.
"There's 8 million registered voters who are 18 to 21 who weren't old enough to vote last time, who are going to cast their first vote, and they're going to do it for Barack Obama," Messina said. "Raise your hand if you're 18 to 21!"
With Greece in flux over whether it'll remain in the eurozone, other weak economies like Spain are feeling the heat.
The worst could be yet to come in Spain — not because of public debt, but because its banks are still laden with unpaid real estate loans, putting both the banks and the housing market in jeopardy. Real estate prices in Madrid are still high, though salaries are frozen and unemployment soars. When Ireland's housing bubble burst, prices dropped more than 40 percent. But in Spain it's an 18 percent drop on average.
Last weekend brought the deadliest attack yet on NATO forces in Kabul, one of a series of attacks bold enough to make headlines, beginning with the 20-hour siege of the American embassy. Those attacks over several weeks raised new concerns about security in Afghanistan's capital. One militant group in particular, the Haqqani Network, is thought to have orchestrated the most spectacular attacks. Seth Jones is the author of "In the Graveyard of Empires." Good morning.
And the political and economic drama in Greece this week has moved to a glamorous resort in the South of France. European Union leaders are gathered in Cannes as part of a meeting of the world's most important economies. The group of 20 would have preferred a broad agenda, but Europe's troubles have overshadowed everything else at Cannes.
President Obama is there meeting with EU leaders and urging them to resolve the financial crisis. NPR's Eric Westervelt is also at the G-20 meeting and joined us. Good morning.
Prime Minister George Papandreou has backed down from a referendum on the European Union bailout package and he faces a vote of confidence Friday. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells host Steve Inskeep his future is uncertain.
Friday morning, the Labor Department releases its unemployment report for October. The unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent for most of the past three years, and it's not expected to dip below that this month. Host Renee Montagne speaks with NPR's Jim Zarroli about the numbers and the outlook for the U.S. economy.
The sluggish economy means fewer travelers will be heading home for Thanksgiving this year, although it hasn't brought down prices. And as NPR's David Schaper reports, those who do fly will still find their flights packed.