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And that brings us to our last word in business, which is luxury pavement.

In Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, real estate is expensive, and space is tight.

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And so it was that a bidding war broke out there yesterday. According to the Boston Globe, the price for the item in question started at $42,000.

MONTAGNE: And was bid up to a final price $560,000 - which got the winners two parking spots on crumbling asphalt in an alleyway.

Business News: A Man, A Plan, A Canal

Jun 14, 2013

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NPR's business news starts with a man, a plan, a canal.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Not Panama this time. This canal is in Nicaragua. Yesterday, the Nicaraguan congress granted a Chinese tycoon the exclusive right to develop a multi-billion dollar rival to the Panama Canal. The bill grants the investor 50 years of control over the potential shipping route - pending a study of its viability. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The Obama administration has shifted policy on Syria with an announcement, last night, that it will step up support for rebels who've been losing ground in recent weeks. The White House says it will start providing direct military support to rebel commanders.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

They're calling it the Road to Majority. It's the third annual meeting of conservative religious activists with the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The conference is underway now in Washington, D.C. Its stated aim: To boost the conservative vote for next year's midterm election.

As NPR's David Welna reports, it's also a platform for Republican stars eyeing the White House in 2016.

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In Maine, the state's effort to keep tabs on its black bear population is getting some help from a group of college kids. The program has undergraduate students capturing bears, running tests on them, and attaching tracking devices before releasing them back into the wild.

Maine Public Radio's Jay Field went along on a recent expedition into the woods.

Kevyn Orr will ask unions, retirees and banks to take big losses on debt the city just can't afford to pay. But Orr is walking a fine line trying to convince those parties to accept a bankruptcy-style settlement, without actually going to bankruptcy court — at least, not yet.

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In Syria's ally Iran, people are voting for president today. It is Iran's first presidential election since the stunning vote in 2009. Back then, a surprisingly early declaration of victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a wave of protests, followed by years of government repression. This time around, six candidates are contending for power amid widespread skepticism about the election, and intensive security on the streets.

The Afghan farmer in Panjwai District, outside the southern city of Kandahar, is finally fed up with the Taliban.

His name is Abdullah Razik. He's slight, with a trim beard and a dark green shirt that falls below his knees.

The Taliban plant roadside bombs in his fields, he says, and shoot near his house. The area is one of the most dangerous in Afghanistan — the birthplace of the Taliban.

Not long ago, something worse happened, Razik says.

"My friend ... lost his hand," he says. "The Taliban were putting IEDs in my village" four months ago.

Why More People Are Renting Tires

Jun 14, 2013

"Oh, I checked every place in town, and they were outrageous," says Shannon Kelly. "It would be anywhere from $4[00] to $500, and I just don't have that right now."

Kelly had just walked into Rent N Roll, a rent-to-own tire store in Ocala, Fla. She was looking to rent a set of tires for her truck. Tire rental stores like this one have been around for a while, but until recently, most of their customers rented fancy rims. These days, it's becoming more common for the stores to rent simple tires to people who don't have the cash to buy tires outright.

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