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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says there isn't much time. Congress and the White House face two big deadlines to fund the government. It will be an intricate maneuver to meet both deadlines even as congressional leadership changes. And in an interview with NPR, Lew described behind-the-scenes negotiations meant to avert a last-minute crisis.

"There are conversations going on at a staff level," Lew told NPR's Steve Inskeep, "and I think the key is for Democrats and Republicans [in Congress] to talk to each other."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The top Republican and Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee are preparing to introduce a bill Thursday they're billing as "companion" legislation to the major Senate sentencing overhaul unveiled last week.

New York City may have dodged a major storm recently when Hurricane Joaquin headed out to sea, but it was an unwelcome reminder of what happened three years ago when the city suffered catastrophic flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Now, the New York subway system is racing to get new flood-proofing technologies ready in time for the next big storm.

One of those methods is called the Flex-Gate, a big sheet of waterproof fabric designed to cover subway entrances and keep the water out.

Avoiding a possible strike, the United Autoworkers Union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

According to a statement from UAW:

"After a lengthy bargaining process, your UAW FCA National Bargaining Committee has secured significant gains in a proposed Tentative Agreement with FCA announced today.

Death Penalty Back At The Supreme Court In New Term

Oct 7, 2015

The death penalty reared its head again at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. It was the first time the court publicly considered a death case since last term, when a constitutional challenge to lethal injection procedures erupted into a rare, nasty and vituperative debate among the justices. This time, the issues were far more technical but still a matter of life and death.

Clinton Breaks With Obama To Oppose Asia Trade Deal

Oct 7, 2015

After months of not committing to a position on President Obama's proposed Asia trade deal, Hillary Clinton came out against it Wednesday.

The rain has stopped in South Carolina, but for people living along the coast, the worst of the flooding could still be ahead.

The floodwaters have not receded and as the water in the swollen rivers flow toward the ocean, more damaging high waters are expected.

As Laura Hunsberger reports for NPR, Gov. Nikki Haley says the state is ready:

The "death-with-dignity" movement took a giant step forward this week, with 38 million people coming under its umbrella in a single swoop when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act on Monday.

Coast Guard Calls Off Search For El Faro Crew

Oct 7, 2015

Six days after communication was lost with the El Faro cargo ship as it drifted into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, the U.S. Coast Guard ended the search for survivors.

Of the 33 people aboard the ship, rescuers found one body on Monday:

"Several 'survival suits' were spotted floating in the water, one of which contained the body. In addition, an empty, heavily damaged lifeboat was found."

Republicans in the U.S. House will take an initial vote Thursday on who they think should replace John Boehner as speaker of the House.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz recently announced his candidacy for speaker, but the front-runner for the job is current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, Calif.

And McCarthy's roots in California's Central Valley provide some clues about how McCarthy might run the House, if he's elected speaker.

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, amid a controversial bombing campaign in Syria, a weakening economy and tensions with the U.S. and its Western allies. The Russian leader made a point of taking it all in stride — including adulation from his fans.

He occupied an even more prominent place than usual on Russian state television on Wednesday. Putin was shown receiving a briefing on the Russian military operation in Syria, including the news that Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired more than two dozen rockets at targets in Syria.

Updated 3:57 p.m. ET

The turmoil surrounding beleaguered FIFA President Sepp Blatter continues to churn.

On Wednesday, Blatter reportedy was told he is facing a provisional 90-day suspension, with a final decision from the FIFA ethics committee expected later this week.

The BBC quotes Blatter's adviser Klauss Stohlker as saying, "The news was communicated to the president this afternoon. He is calm. Remember he is the father of the ethics committee."

Republican presidential candidates have remained firmly opposed to more gun control measures in the wake of last week's tragic shooting at an Oregon community college.

Instead, most are urging a renewed focus on mental health with a caution not to react too quickly before all the facts are known — but some of them have reacted inartfully at best.

During the past half-century, 59 million immigrants have moved to the United States, making it the No. 1 immigrant destination on the planet.

Paper or plastic? If you're at a restaurant in the coastal city of Fort Bragg, Calif., that's what your food is likely to be served on these days.

The drought-stricken city, located about 170 miles north of San Francisco, recently declared a "stage 3" water emergency, which makes it mandatory for businesses and residents to reduce water usage.

Life has not quite returned to normal yet for Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teenager who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school. The 14-year-old is now touring parts of the Middle East, along with his father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed.

For the first time, primitive human kidneys have been created in a laboratory dish, by using stem cells.

Although the kidneys cannot perform the functions of a fully formed adult kidney, the researchers hope the achievement will someday lead to new ways to treat people suffering from kidney failure.

Grapes, including raisins, are the third largest crop in California grossing almost $6 billion in 2014. Harvesting the labor-intensive crop takes thousands of workers. But a new raisin grape variety bred in Central California could severely decrease that need for workers.

It takes a lot of hand labor to harvest raisins, three or more rounds of pruning, quality control and picking. And to pay those workers costs a lot of money. That's why the raisin industry is desperately searching for a way to spend less on labor creating a larger profit margin.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan lowered the flag and boxed up their gear at the end of last year as President Obama declared the formal end to 13 years of U.S. combat operations.

With his ambulance sirens blaring, Edmund Hassan speeds to a home in South Boston after getting a call that someone there is unconscious. He's deputy superintendent of Boston Emergency Medical Services, and he suspects an opioid overdose. These days, he says, his workers administer Narcan, the drug that reverses that kind of overdose, roughly three times in every eight-hour shift.

The United Nations Refugee Agency and Kickstarter have joined forces in an effort to raise money to help migrants fleeing the violence in Syria.

In a video, Anne-Marie Gray, executive director and CEO of USA for UNHCR, said this "human tragedy" is the "largest migration crisis of our time."

And, she added, "We all have a responsibility."

It seems the entire world is wrestling with immigration emergencies today. And lest you think the Western Hemisphere's crisis is over, consider the look on Oscar Ortega's face.

He just got a WhatsApp message that made his eyes pop.

4 Outrageously Expensive Dinners Of The Past

Oct 7, 2015

The tradition of lavish, super-indulgent dinners in America, says Becky Libourel Diamond, author of the soon-to-be-published book The Thousand Dollar Dinner, comes from the fact that our country has always been known as the Land of Opportunity for Pursuers of Happiness.

Pass the champagne and caviar.

In Napa, Calif., a company called Free Flow Wines fills and dispenses reusable wine kegs, which are used by restaurants and bars for serving wine on draft. Every month, the company rinses and refills about 10,000 of the stainless steel casks, each of which eliminates the need for 26 clunky wine bottles.

This is a small win for the environment, since glass bottles are heavy and require energy to ship.

The United Automobile Workers union has issued a strike notice to Fiat Chrysler. In a letter to the company, the union said that any contract extensions would expire at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

If the union decides to strike, it would be the first strike targeting a Detroit automaker in eight years.

For Anheuser-Busch InBev, the third time was not the charm. After the Belgian beer giant boosted its offer to purchase SABMiller, its largest rival, SABMiller rejected the $104 billion cash bid Wednesday, saying AB InBev "still very substantially" undervalues the maker of Miller Lite and Coors.

"SABMiller is the crown jewel of the global brewing industry, uniquely positioned to continue to generate decades of standalone future volume and value growth for all SABMiller shareholders from highly attractive markets," says SABMiller Chairman Jan du Plessis.