Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Even after sending home nearly all its staff during the shutdown, the Chicago office of the Environmental Protection Agency managed to detect a potentially toxic substance. A 16-year-old can of Campbell's soup was discovered in a refrigerator there. Apparently no one ever got to the back of the fridge until furloughed staff had to take home all their snacks.
A welcome back email included a reminder to keep the fridges clean. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The government shutdown is over and that means the National Zoo's panda cam is back. After 16 days, it's a reminder they grow up so fast. When we last saw the zoo's panda cub, she was pink and mostly hairless, weighing just three pounds. So when the feed flickered to life yesterday, panda fans were delighted to see the cub has sprouted fur and grown to five pounds. She's also opened her eyes and ears. Maybe Congress should take a cue.
In Nigeria an Islamist insurgency has claimed thousands of lives, most of them civilians. The Nigerian president imposed a security crackdown last spring in a bid to end the uprising. Now Amnesty International is out with a report warning that more than 950 people have died in military detention in Nigeria in just the first half of this year. And the attacks continue. NPR's West Africa correspondent, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reports from, Lagos.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Today marks the second day of relative normalcy following 16 days of government shutdown and the prospect of a U.S. default on its debts. A pivotal player in this drama was House Speaker John Boehner. He was portrayed alternately as a victim of Tea Party hardliners, as a figurehead haplessly stumbling through this crisis, or as a clever leader who had the ending figured out all along.
Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.
I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.
Starr Cookman and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been inseparable since childhood. They live on the same street. Kylee, a nurse, was present for the delivery of Starr's son, Rowan. And when Rowan came home from the hospital breathing rapidly and spitting up his food, both friends were alarmed — even when the pediatrician said he was doing fine.
In recent weeks, economists have been worrying about the negative impact of the now-ended government shutdown and potential debt crisis.
But away from Capitol Hill, the economy has been getting a big boost: Gasoline prices have been declining, week after week. In some parts of the country, a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is now down to less than $3 a gallon — a price most Americans haven't seen in three years.
And any time the pump price starts dropping, consumer spirits start rising.