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Global economic realities are leading to big changes in the welfare states of Europe. Will the US see an Age of Austerity after next week's elections? Also, Indonesia devastated by a double whammy of both a tsunami and volcano. On Reporter's notebook, despite promises of action going back to 1992, more species are on the brink of extinction. We get a non-progress report.

Banner image: Three women hold signs supporting social security and medicare as thousands of activists march during the 'One Nation Working Together' rally on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in Washington, DC, October 2, 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Tsunami and Volcano Hit Indonesia in One 24-Hour Period 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Remote islands that are part of Indonesia have been devastated by a 7.7 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  More than 300 have been killed and hundreds more are missing. There’s concern that a volcano on Java may erupt again.  Sara Schonhardt is a freelance reporter in Jakarta.

Sara Schonhardt, Freelance Reporter

Main Topic An Age of Austerity: Can It Happen Here? 36 MIN, 43 SEC

The French senate today passed pension reform despite weeks of angry street demonstrations and occasional violence. In Britain, a new coalition government is prepared to dismantle much of the welfare state. In the midst of the economic crisis, calls for "smaller government" have been deafening in America's election campaigns. But what might that really mean? Will Democrats stand for shredded safety nets? Will Republicans approve cuts in Social Security and Medicare?  Are new taxes out of the question? Does either political party have the moral authority to face new realities, or will the fear of bold action lead to paralysis and partisanship intensified?

David Herszenhorn, New York Times (@herszenhorn)
Thomas Edsall, Columbia School of Journalism (@Edsall)
Ted Fishman, 'China, Inc'
Neal Gabler, Cultural Historian

Shock of Gray

Ted C. Fishman

Reporter's Notebook Global Biodiversity Study Warns of Looming Extinction Crisis 5 MIN, 12 SEC

After assessing some 26,000 animal species across the world, scientists calculate that a fifth of all vertebrates face the threat of extinction, as do a third of all sharks and rays. In Nagoya, Japan, 174 researchers from 38 countries are debating conservation goals for the coming decade, coping with grim figures about habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors. That’s according to Juliet Eilperin, national environmental reporter for the Washington Post.

Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post national affairs correspondent (@eilperin)

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