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.
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.
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.
STEVE INSKEEP, host: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a number of promises to fellow leaders of the eurozone countries at a summit meeting in October. Now Italy's economy is starting to become a growing concern for European Union leaders and financial markets.
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.
College students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year, according to new data. In this photo from last December, a student fills out an application for a chance to win a scholarship worth $30,000, at a Cash for College event organized by the California Student Aid Commission.
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.
After a two-day orbital chase, the Shenzhou 8 spacecraftlatched onto a prototype space lab module called Tiangong 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET (1:30 a.m. local time Thursday in China). Ten minutes later, the docking was complete.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou gestures while talking during a press conference following crisis talks with France's President, Germany's Chancellor, senior EU leaders and IMF director in Cannes, France.
After emerging from a crisis talks with other European leaders, Greece's prime minister said the referendum on whether to accept the terms of a European Union bailout was also about whether Greece wanted to remain part of the union.
The AP reports:
George Papandreou told reporters after a meeting with European leaders Wednesday, "I believe it's crucial that we show the world that we can live up to our obligations."
"This is not a question only of the program, this is a question of whether we want to remain in the eurozone."