Obama Speaks to UN on Palestine, Funding the US Solar Industry, Bob Edwards on Today’s Media: Today on Here and Now

by Laura Ellis on September 21, 2011

1:06pm: President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly today as diplomats scramble to craft a deal that would avoid a showdown vote over a Palestinian demand for statehood recognition. The deal reportedly calls for Israel and the Palestinians to begin peace talks towards a two-state solution with Israel accepting its pre-1967 borders and Palestinians recognizing Israel’s Jewish character. Land swaps would be negotiated, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could still deliver his request for statehood recognition to the UN this week but no immediate action would be taken on it. Colum Lynch, UN reporter for the Washington Post, joins us to explain.

1:12pm: Two top executives at the bankrupt California solar energy company, Solyndra, say they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions when they appear at a House hearing on Friday. Lawyers for the executives say it would be inappropriate to offer testimony since the company is now the focus of a criminal investigation. Solyndra received $528 million in federally-backed loans from the Energy Department in 2009 and the company’s collapse is raising questions about other DOE investments in American solar companies. One of those companies, 1366 Technologies of Lexington, Massachusetts, just this month finalized a deal with DOE to receive $150 million in loan guarantees. While the solar industry is booming, some experts are concerned that American solar companies will face an uphill battle competing against Chinese companies that receive huge government subsidies. We’ll speak with Frank van Mierlo, president of 1366 Technologies Inc., and Erik Sherman, BNET high tech reporter

1:34pm: Some time between tomorrow and Saturday, somewhere between Edmonton, Alberta and Cape Town, South Africa, an out-of-service NASA satellite weighing 1,600 pounds is going to plummet to earth. But scientists say people have little reason to worry — the chance of anyone at all being hit is just one in 3,200. And the chance that it will be you is one in trillions. Kelly Beatty, planetary specialist and senior contributing editor for Sky and Telescope Magazine, joins us to talk about the satellite’s descent.

1:50pm: When Bob Edwards was growing up in a house just off Eastern Parkway near Crittenden Drive, he longed be a radio newsman. He got his start in radio working for WHEL in New Albany, left Louisville in 1969, and wound up in Washington DC where he joined a fledgling broadcast outfit known as National Public Radio. The rest is history — and the subject of Edwards’ new book A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio. He spoke with us about the book, which details, among other things, his feelings about the state of the media, politics and his ouster from NPR after 24 years as the host of Morning Edition.

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