Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 3:28 pm
For the past few years, the travel site Expedia has conducted a survey about the world's vacation habits and like in years past, this year's survey found that the United States is one of the countries that gives its workers fewer vacation days and one of the countries in which workers leave the most number of vacation days unused.
Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.
When I was five, my father made a promise he never intended to keep. He had returned from a long trip, with presents. I got a fossilized shark tooth, and spent the next month asking about fossils.
At some point, my father made the mistake of describing a massive fossil bed somewhere in Germany. I begged him to take me. There were good reasons that could never happen. Dad knew nothing about fossils; Germany was far away; I was five. But I would not be deterred.
The U.S. economy is experiencing its strongest across-the-board growth of the year, as private companies hire more people, some manufacturers expand and the stock market surges on a plan to ease Europe's financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 490 points Wednesday, an increase of more than 4 percent.
But analysts say the economy isn't growing robustly enough to lower unemployment, stem government layoffs or revive a housing market that remains extremely weak.
Newt Gingrich traveled across South Carolina this week appearing at a number of town-hall-style meetings where he talked to voters and answered questions — mostly the same questions at every stop. He talked about the improving the economy, creating a new immigration policy, repealing President Obama's health care reform plan and transforming Washington.
This is a pretty heartbreaking story: An 80-year-old man donated a suit to a Goodwill store in western Illinois. The problem is that he didn't realize until it was too late that his $13,000 life savings were in the suit's pocket.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Myanmar, also known as Burma, to see if the county's leaders are serious about political reform. Myanmar has long been under international sanctions because of the repressive nature of the military junta that held power until recently. But there are signs that a new civilian government is loosening the military's grip.
The major central banks of the world moved Wednesday to prevent a banking crisis in Europe. They're providing more liquidity to the European banking system in hopes that big banks there will remain solvent and continue to make loans. The coordinated move by the central banks sent stock markets soaring. But it will not even begin to fix Europe's fundamental economic problems.
Melissa Block and Guy Raz read emails from listeners about a report on Kentucky's Berea College, about Melissa's remembrance of Vermont poet Ruth Stone, and about the other person responsible for that mega-hit earworm "Moves Like Jagger."
Guy Raz speaks with Julian Barnes, the Wall Street Journal's Pentagon reporter, about Dakota Meyer, a Marine who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor. Meyer is suing a defense contractor that he worked with, alleging they blocked him from another job in the defense industry as retaliation for his objections to selling high-tech instruments to the Pakistani military.
Public sector workers walked off their jobs Wednesday in Britain, to protest pension cuts. They tied up airports, shut down schools and slowed delivery of health services. No one knows for sure how many joined the walk-out, though some reports it was as many as two million. The strike is an important sign of the growing discontent with Britain's austerity program.