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Starbucks Hits Saturation Point
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Starbucks Hits Saturation Point

Starbucks Hits Saturation Point

Starbucks Hits Saturation Point
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For the first time in its history, the coffee chain reports a drop in customer visits.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Hey, we're in your ear. We're THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're always available online at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Alison Stewart.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

And I'm Luke Burbank.

Coming up this weekend, a slew of pre-Thanksgiving movies. We're going to talk about those. Also ask why some of the anti-war movies coming out this year haven't done as well as you might have thought.

First, though, we've got a wrap up of the news with our own Rachel Martin.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, good morning, everyone.

Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been freed from house arrest. The former prime minister had been jailed inside the home where she was staying in the city of Lahore since Tuesday. She was detained to stop her from leading a rally against the emergency rule imposed by President Pervez Musharraf, November 3rd.

The United States had hoped that Musharraf and Bhutto would share power after general election. But in the wake of the emergency rule, Bhutto has now ruled that out. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will spend the weekend in Pakistan. He's expected to push Musharraf to surrender his emergency powers and free thousands of detained political activists.

And Barry Bonds, baseball's homerun leader, has been indicted on five felony charges linked to a doping scandal. Bonds has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for testifying before a federal grand jury in 2003 that he never used steroids. The indictment caps a four-year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes. Seven others have pled guilty in the case - most recently, the former Olympic sprinter, Marion Jones. Bonds has been a focal point of the investigation from the beginning. Yesterday, Bonds' attorney, Mike Rains, went on the offensive.

Mr. MIKE RAINS (Lawyer): What we will keep asking is whether the media and whether the government of this country will spend as much time repairing Barry's reputation as it has spent destroying him after he is proven innocent by a fair and impartial jury?

MARTIN: Bonds is now a free agent after the San Francisco Giants did not offer him a new contract. He's scheduled to appear in court December 7th.

And is it true? Could the ubiquitous Starbucks have reached its saturation point? For the first time in the coffee company's history, Starbucks is reporting a drop in customer visits to its stores. Shares fell 8.3 percent in after-hours trading yesterday. Starbucks' stock has declined 32 percent this year on investor concerns that sales may not be keeping up with the company's goal of it opening 40,000 locations around the globe. Reports say Starbucks is losing customers to McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, where a cup of coffee costs about a buck. Starbucks will launch a series of TV ads today in an effort to boost customer sales.

Finally, you may remember the big controversy that erupted at the U.S. State Department, when they tried to force employees to go to Baghdad? Well, today, the department is expected to announce it's dropped those plans. A few weeks ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said that unless foreign service officers step up and volunteer to go to Iraq to fill critical shortages there, they'd be forced to go or risk losing their jobs. But this week, officials say they've managed to fill all 48 vacant positions at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and outlying provinces. The whole thing caused a revolt among State Department workers who said they should not be forced to go into a warzone.

That's the news, and it's always online at npr.org.

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