This Sept. 13, 2011, photo shows a house for rent and for sale sign in front of a home in Portland, Ore. In our second hour, NPR's Chris Arnold gives an update on the state of housing markets across the nation.
Last Friday, Iran held talks with six other nations in Istanbul to discuss Iran's nuclear enrichment program. The talks were the first step in what many hope will be peaceful negotiations between world powers and Iran on the development of their nuclear capacity. Attendants say the talks went well and another round is scheduled for May 23rd. The meetings are an attempt to address the issue of Iran's nuclear program diplomatically, along with continued economic sanctions. But neither the United States nor Israel has ruled out the possibility of military action should the negotiations prove ineffective, leaving many to wonder what, if any, resolution is likely. Host Neal Conan speaks with NPR correspondent Mike Shuster about the talks and what's to follow in the coming months. And Patrick Clawson, director of the Iran Security Initiative at the Washington Institute and Ronen Bergman, an Israeli political analyst, explain what the talks mean for relations between Iran, the United States, and Israel.
The documentary Bully caught national attention when the Motion Picture Association of America issued it an R rating for harsh language, effectively barring its target audience from seeing the film. The director and producers initially refused to re-edit the film, and first showed it with no rating. Then, they relented, and earned a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. Host Neal Conan talks with Harvey Weinstein, the co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, which distributes Bully.
Housing Market Update
In recent months, there have been conflicting statistics on the state of the U.S. housing market, though many signs point to persistent weakness. Home prices continue to fall in most big cities, while rents are on the rise. Banks offer low interest rates, but many potential buyers have trouble qualifying for loans with the new mortgage rules. Home builders' confidence in the market has waned, and investors are starting to buy up foreclosed homes and turn them into rentals. Some analysts see the market healing and turning around. Yet others argue the next wave of foreclosures are just around the corner. Neal Conan talks with Chris Arnold about who's buying, who's selling, and how housing markets are faring across the nation.
This morning, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned North Korea's failed rocket launch from last week and demanded that North Korea halt any further launches. Such condemnations have been a common refrain, heard after its first nuclear test in 2006, and again after its second test in 2009. But in an op-ed in Foreign Affairs, Jennifer Lind says that, "North Korea's violations aren't meaningfully punished, words are mostly just words, and China does little." According to Lind, North Korea's "madman" image, combined with the specter of its economic collapse and the almost certain humanitarian crisis it would usher in, make the U.S. and South Korea reluctant to intervene. On this week's Opinion Page, host Neal Conan speaks with Jennifer Lind about her piece, "Why North Korea Gets Away With It: Pyongyang's Skillful Deterrence."