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S&P's Warning Was 'Shot Across The Bow' Aimed At Congress

Good morning.

There was word overnight, as we reported earlier, about the death of marathon great Grete Waitz of Norway. She was 57 and had battled cancer for many years.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

-- S&P's 'Shot Across The Bow' On U.S. Debt:When it announced yesterday that it had lowered its outlook for the U.S. to "negative," the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's was firing a "shot across the bow" aimed at getting the attention of those in congress who don't want to raise the federal government's debt ceiling, analysts tell NPR's Jim Zarroli. On Morning Edition, Jim reported about S&P's announcement and the sharp fall-off it sparked in financial markets on Monday. This morning, The Associated Press reports from London, "Standard & Poor's warning that it could downgrade the United States' credit rating continued to haunt the markets ... but hopes for a small recovery on Wall Street helped ease the selling pressure in Europe."

-- More Violence In Syria: "Syrian forces fired shots at hundreds of protesters who had gathered overnight in Homs city, defying a warning by the authorities to halt what they called an insurrection," The Guardianreports. The latest crackdown follows the deaths of 17 protesters on Monday. Human rights activists "say more than 200 people have been killed" in recent weeks during protests "challenging the authoritarian rule of [President Bashar] al-Assad."

-- 'Humanitarian Corridor' In Libya?"The U.N. food agency says Libya has indicated it will respect a new agreement to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered in the west of the country," The Associated Press reports from Geneva. "World Food Program spokeswoman Emilia Casella says the agency signed an agreement with the Libyan Red Crescent to establish a humanitarian corridor and 'we received an indication that the government did not have any objection.' "

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.