This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
In the latest twist to the WikiLeaks story, its founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by the South American nation of Ecuador. Ecuador's foreign minister made the announcement this morning, speaking through a translator.
It has been just over a week now since Curiosity, the NASA Mars rover, made its successful landing on the Red Planet. Curiosity is by far the most technologically advanced rover to reach the surface of Mars so far, and it's already begun sending back some pretty compelling, high-resolution photographs of the planet's surface. To talk about space and the importance of this mission, we're joined, as we often are, by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York.
All right. So we just heard in Renee's conversation there that American Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas has hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, giving her clout with potential sponsors.
Our last word in business today is Klout spelled with a K. Klout, k-l-o-u-t, is a Web startup that's been around for a few years. The company says it can measure your online influence by using a special algorithm.
And health officials around the country are raising warnings about West Nile Virus. The U.S. is seeing the worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness since it was first detected in 1999. So far this year, 26 people have died, and about half of the country's 700 cases are in Texas - most of them in Dallas County. This week, for the first time in almost half a century, the county will begin aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes. B.J. Austin of member station KERA has the story.
Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.
A man from the Mundari nomad tribe stands among cattle on Jan. 18, in Juba, South Sudan. Cattle raids, a common occurrence in the region, have grown increasingly violent in recent years.
Credit Isaac Billy / AP
Members of the Murle tribe displaced by cattle raiding attacks are seen here in Pibor in South Sudan's eastern Jonglei state, on Jan. 5, in a photo released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Credit John Burnett / NPR
Amer is a 16-year-old Dinka girl in South Sudan's Jonglei state. Her grandmother is asking 80 cows as her dowry. Escalating dowries are one reason for the spike in violent cattle raids.