This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
In the Midwest, the drought is doing a number on the nation's biggest agricultural crop, corn. The USDA says half of the country's cornfields are in poor or very poor condition, and the short supply is driving up the price. Now, a fight between livestock farmers and ethanol producers over the high priced corn crop. Farmers say ethanol factories have an unfair advantage.
In China, authorities are still counting the cost of heavy weekend flooding in Beijing. Officials now say 37 people died and more than 60,000 homes were damaged. Loses are estimated at nearly two billion dollars, but as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing, some of the damage is to the government's credibility.
NPR's business news starts with a boost from Caterpillar.
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MONTAGNE: Caterpillar is reporting a big increase in its profits - up 67 percent for the second quarter. The world's largest manufacturer of heavy construction and mining equipment is on pace to rake in record profits this year. But that hasn't motivated Caterpillar to sweeten its offer to union workers who are on strike at a plant outside of Chicago.