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German Chemical Plant Fire Threatens Auto Backlog

A deadly fire and explosion at a German chemical plant has created big headaches for the global auto industry. The recent blast has resulted in a shortage of a chemical compound used in plastic fuel and brake lines. The chemical is hard to replace, and now automakers are scrambling to avoid major production disruptions.
NPR

Incumbent Sarkozy Faces French Presidential Runoff

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist challenger Francois Hollande will face off next month in a presidential runoff. Anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen came in a surprisingly strong third place.
NPR

In Bahrain, Protesters Kept Away From Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix over the weekend, but in a larger sense the winners were the race organizers. They managed to hold the race which was canceled last year by political unrest, which was part of the uprisings of the Arab Spring. Bill Law, of the British Broadcasting Corporation, talks to Steve Inskeep about the weekend's events in Bahrain.
NPR

Deal Reached On U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership

U.S. and Afghan officials have finalized their partnership agreement, which sets up guidelines for U.S. involvement as American forces leave that country. Details have not been released, but both governments hope the agreement will put to rest doubts about a long term American commitment to support Afghanistan.
NPR

Germany Debates Fate Of State-Owned Banks

Unlike the United States, Germany never had a housing bubble. Its mortgage market is too tightly regulated. But some German banks did lose a lot of money in the financial crisis. The network of institutions called landesbanks have became a cautionary tale about risky investing.
NPR

France's Sarkozy Faces Election Runoff

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is heading for a runoff in the race for the presidency. After a first round of voting, he trailed Socialist Francois Hollande. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen finished a strong third. The top two candidates head to a runoff May 6.
NPR

French President Sarkozy Faces Runoff Elections

He faces Socialist Francois Hollande who led in the first round of voting. French voters defied expectations and handed a surprisingly strong third-place showing to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The vote was seen as a referendum on Sarkozy at a time when many French voters are worried about the economy.

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