Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Chocolate is bad for dogs and cats, but that doesn't mean they won't be feeling the love on this Valentine's Day. The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend more than $800 million on gifts for their pets - from heart-shaped treats to heart-healthy vitamins. And in honor of Valentine's Day, the ASPCA hosted an online dating show to match humans and animals in need of a home. They called that event "Puppy Love." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
President Obama has already checked off one item on his State of the Union list of priorities, and that's providing an online scorecard for prospective college students. That scorecard is aimed at helping students figure out how much the schools they want to attend will actually cost.
The Department of Education launched the scorecard yesterday on its website. That information is something many college applicants want as they face rising tuition and the potentially stifling debt that goes along with it.
The manhunt for fugitive former police officer Christopher Dorner is officially over. Dorner was wanted for four murders. Tuesday he apparently perished in a burning mountain cabin, after a chase and a gunfight.
Yesterday, authorities offered new information about the ordeal. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: When San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon faced reporters yesterday afternoon, he stopped short of confirming that it was Christopher Dorner recovered from the burned out cabin.
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President Obama travels to Atlanta today, where he's announcing the details of a universal preschool plan. Georgia has the oldest universal pre-K program in the country. During his State of the Union address this week, the president outlined his argument for expanding pre-K nationally.
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More now on this morning's merger announcement by American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The deal would create the biggest air carrier in the U.S., with an estimated value of $11 billion. The merger must still be approved by regulators. And since American Airlines is working its way out of bankruptcy, a federal bankruptcy judge will also have to OK the deal.
What do you do when you're a scientist and you have no job and no money for your research? If you're Ethan Perlstein, you try crowd funding. He raised $25,000 to investigate where the drug methamphetamine is stored in the brain.
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Pre-school is one example of how President Obama says the government can play a constructive role in the U.S. economy. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to refocus a debate that, for two years, has been all about cutting. The president is highlighting government programs that even many Republicans support.
Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, but President Obama says the government could be doing more to help.
Two years ago today, more than 100,000 people rallied in the Gulf nation of Bahrain; a peacefully protest against the rule of their autocratic king. Despite harsh government repression, the protests continue. Many Bahrainis are critical of U.S. support for the country's monarch despite the growing popular opposition.
Independent producer Reese Erlich reports from Bahrain's capital, Manama.
The boards of American Airlines and US Airways just approved a merger of the two airlines. But the deal still has to win the approval of antitrust regulators at the Justice Department — regulators who last month sued to stop a merger between the beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo, which brews Corona.
The antitrust division has dozens of economists on staff. Their job, essentially, is to figure out whether a merger would reduce competition so much that a company could raise prices without losing business to competitors.
Thursday is the last day of New York Fashion Week, and some cutting-edge design will be presented in the tents at Lincoln Center — literally. Standing on the runway will be computer programmer types rather than models. This follows an event that kicked off Fashion Week — something called a "hackathon."
A hackathon, explains Liz Bacelar, is a "fast-paced competition in which graphic designers, software developers and people with ideas, they come together to build an app in 24 hours. "
The United States puts more people behind bars than any other country, five times as many per capita compared with Britain or Spain.
It wasn't always like this. Half a century ago, relatively few people were locked up, and those inmates generally served short sentences. But 40 years ago, New York passed strict sentencing guidelines known as the "Rockefeller drug laws" — after their champion, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — that put even low-level criminals behind bars for decades.