Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with a celebrity turn for a cat. Tara the cat saved a California boy from an attack by a dog. Surely, someone thought, a cat that fended off a dog could also throw the first pitch in a Minor League Baseball game. The Bakersfield Blaze wanted Tara to push a baseball dangling from a fishing line. But that's the deal with cats: The last thing they ever do is what you tell them.
Tara declined the honor, and the boy Tara saved threw the first pitch instead.
Our Planet Money team this week is taking a look at the lowly penny. People discard pennies in bowls by cash registers. They walk by them on the street without a thought of picking them up. In fact, a lot of us don't even pick them up when we drop them. NPR's David Kestenbaum reports that there is one place where people think pennies could really cause some change.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Each spring Russian president Vladimir Putin welcomes international business and political leaders to an economic forum in St. Petersburg. It started today and Putin told those who arrived that Russia is ready to do business, although it expects to be treated as an equal.
We've been hearing about hunger strikes at the Guantanamo prison camp from its earliest days, but one ongoing hunger strike became a major protest early last year. Some prisoners who refuse to eat have been force-fed, a procedure their lawyers charge is abusive. Yesterday a federal district judge in Washington, D.C. ordered the government to allow lawyers for one of those detainees to see video recordings made of his force feedings.
Montana resident Markus Kaarma pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murdering a German exchange student last month. Kaarma shot the 17-year-old while the student was trespassing in his garage. The case has attracted international scrutiny to the contentious debate over how far Americans may go when defending their homes.
The Internet is coming to your car. Later this year, General Motors will put Internet connectivity directly into its vehicles. It's the largest auto company to do so.
Of course, safety advocates have some concerns about more distractions for drivers.
The promise of technology is always the same one — that it's going to make our life easier. But anyone who's tried to make a hands-free call in the car knows that's not always true. A task as simple as asking your device to call your mom can be an exasperating experience.
After a devastating tornado rolled through Moore, Okla., last May, firefighters were scrambling to pull people out of storm shelters. Actually finding those shelters, though, was difficult. Landmarks had been swept away, and the town's emergency dispatcher was overwhelmed with calls.
"Yes, we're at 604 South Classen. There's people down," one caller said. "We're stuck under rubble. ... Please hurry."
Shonn Neidel was one of the firefighters rushing to rescue people that day, and he quickly saw a problem.