About 3,000 people gathered at the Port of Oakland Wednesday, and effectively shut it down. People flooded the port area and blocked exits. The protest remained largely peaceful until the late evening, when police responded to a bonfire.
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RENEE MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. To understand the European debt crisis, it helps to keep track of both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, Europeans have agreed on a bailout deal that among other things would cut the debts of Greece. It's being held up by the Greek prime minister's plan to hold a referendum on austerity measures. Europeans have told Greece it's got to decide soon if it wants to be part of the eurozone or not.
America's original discount store has filed for federal bankruptcy protection and plans to close its 46 stores. This isn't the first time the company has filed for bankruptcy, but it appears to be its last. The company cited increased competition from department stores, private-label discounters and the economic downturn.
One of the main solar companies in the United States, First Solar, is in trouble. Its CEO was forced out in October and its stock prices have fallen dramatically. Thursday the Arizona-based company announces its earnings and investors are going be demanding answers. From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Peter O'Dowd report.
NPR's business news begins with a bleaker forecast from the Fed. Just when we were beginning to hear some more positive economic news, the Federal Reserve reminds us not to get too excited. It's predicting slower growth and less improvement in the unemployment rate through 2013 than previously expected. This news comes after a two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee, in which it decided against taking new measures to stimulate the economy for now.
Some towns in New York are rushing to ban horizontal hydrofracking, a controversial technique for capturing natural gas trapped deep under ground. The state itself has yet to approve fracking, but Dryden, N.Y., isn't taking any chances. Town supervisors approved a ban based on local zoning. David Chanatry of the New York Reporting Project at Utica College reports, the Dryden's ban is the issue in next week's town board elections.
The battle for control of Wake County Schools in Raleigh, N.C., is at stake in a special runoff election set for next week. This small race is attracting national attention, and big money. The race has become a political hot spot that could help determine much larger elections in the state.
In the coming months, the Obama administration will decide whether to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmental advocates will try to encircle the White House on Sunday in a show of solidarity against the project. Steady protests have made this one of the most high-profile environmental decisions of the Obama presidency.
White House spokesman Jay Carney often tries to distance the president from the decision-making process over the pipeline.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have shut down operations for the day at one of the nation's busiest shipping ports.
Port of Oakland officials said in a statement late Wednesday that the peaceful rally attended by thousands of demonstrators forced them to cancel typical evening maritime activity. Officials at the nation's fifth-largest shipping port say they hope the work day can resume Thursday.
Students are borrowing more money to pay for college than ever before. New data shows that students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year. And education debt is expect to grow in the coming years, as students struggle to pay higher tuition costs.