Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep. Many of us have left something in a jacket at the dry cleaners, so it's easy to relate to the man who took his suit to Goodwill and gave it away. Only after he left did he realize what a donation he'd made. The suit had $13,000 inside. The elderly man doesn't use banks. That's his life savings.
Goodwill is now trying to find the gray coat and pants, which may be in a warehouse or may already have been purchased. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
At a high school in Scranton, Pa., Wednesday, President Obama exhorted Republicans in Congress to extend the pay roll tax cut. He said putting money in the pockets of working people is more important than partisan politics.
Steve Inskeep talks to Gene Sperling, head of the president's National Economic Council, about extending the payroll tax cut. The Obama administration is pushing Congress to extend the cut before it expires at the end of the year.
The last time the world paid attention to students at Penn State, the image was not pretty. Some protested the firing of football coach Joe Paterno; people even overturned a TV news truck after Paterno lost his job for failing to do more about allegations of child sexual abuse.
Criminal proceedings and lawsuits in that case may continue for years. And last night, Penn State held a forum on campus so students could tell administrators what's on their minds. NPR's Jeff Brady was there.
Medicare has announced that it will pay for primary care providers to counsel obese patients on losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. Medicare will pay doctors, nurses and physicians' assistants to help plan weight loss programs.
And today's last word in business is West Drainage Ditch. That is currently the name of the creek that runs through Kalona, Iowa. Not the most appealing of names, but a local newspaper editor is exploring plans to change it.
The editor wants a more noble name for the waterway - or the crick(ph), as locals call it, according to the Iowa Press Citizen. City council embraced the idea of a name change, and the editor has put the naming rights up for auction on eBay. Funds will go toward replacing the sidewalks. So get in your bid now.
Next week, leaders of the euro area countries will gather in Brussels in an effort to take a bigger step toward ending the region's sovereign debt crisis. They hope that by agreeing to tougher penalties for countries that break the euro area's budget rules, they can entice the European Central Bank to do more to stem the crisis.
But the question is whether the eurozone countries are willing to give up control of their budgets.
NPR's business news starts with cheaper cholesterol drugs for many Americans.
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INSKEEP: The drug maker Pfizer has lost the patent on its drug Lipitor. The patent expired in the United States yesterday. And on the same day, regulators granted an Indian company approval to sell a cheaper, generic version of the cholesterol drug in the U.S. market.
Boeing announced a surprise deal with its machinists' union yesterday. It tentatively extends the workers' contract for four years. The company also promises to build a new version of its popular 737 in union-friendly Washington State.
From Seattle, NPR's Martin Kaste reports.
MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: The International Association of Machinists also got pay raises and more pension benefits. Local president Tom Wroblewski calls it a new day.
As Americans debate how to revive their economy, nations in the developing world are looking for ways to keep their growth going - including India, where the government promises to help some of its poorest people, who live in remote areas without services or even official identities. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports on a program that starts with a tiny piece of land.
Launching a new company is never easy. But in the beginning, the founders of Web-based marketing firm Bluebox Now felt they were on track. The Seattle startup lined up a large paying customer, had a lot of other great leads and was reasonably confident it would get a sizable amount of outside funding. A lot has happened since then.
The jobless rate has declined a bit in the last year, but among veterans who served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for vets serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.
Many veterans say they face a tougher job market than civilians. Tom Tarantino spent a decade in the military, where he served in Iraq and led a platoon. But when he separated from the military in 2007, he spent nearly a year looking for a job.
The world's largest supporter of AIDS programs has made an ominous announcement: Due to the global financial crisis, it is well short of its fundraising goals.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria pays for more than half of the world's HIV medicine, and supports hundreds of education and advocacy programs worldwide. With World AIDS Day on Thursday, many are worried about what that means for the future of the war on AIDS.
Too many states still inadvertently provide safe havens when it comes to sex trafficking — even when children on the streets bear the consequences. That's the conclusion of a new report released Thursday by the advocacy group Shared Hope International.
The study grades each state on whether it has laws to protect children who are pushed into the sex trade — and to punish the adults who seek out those services. Leaders of the group say there's lots of room for improvement. More than half of the states they examined got grades of D or F.
Occupy Wall Street protestors have been removed by police from public spaces in Los Angeles and Philadelphia this week. Some cities still have active 24-hour protests in place, though earlier this month the original Occupy encampment — on Wall Street — was also shut down.
Now activists in New York and elsewhere are talking about the movement's next phase, including the degree to which Occupy activists get involved in the 2012 election.
A new survey finds a big disconnect when it comes to fertility. The age women think they can conceive a baby is far different from what their bodies are actually capable off. This poses an increasing problem, as more women wait longer than ever to have children.
Kate Donnellon Nail never imagined she'd have trouble conceiving. For one thing, people always tell the San Francisco musician she looks much younger than her 43 years.
"I work out regularly, I have a personal trainer," she says. "I've been doing yoga for 15 years."
At the beginning of last year, Mahmoud Reza Banki's future looked bright. He was a senior associate at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey and Co., and had been accepted to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
But Banki, 35, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with accepting large money transfers from Iran that violated U.S. sanctions against that country.
This upcoming weekend, a team of German explosive experts and members of the army are scheduled to defuse an unexploded bomb found in the city of Koblenz in Germany. The bomb — with 3,000 pounds of explosives — is a remnant of World War II that emerged in the Rhine River because of low water levels.
As if that wasn't curious enough, authorities ordered half of the city's residents — 45,000 people — to leave, while they get the job done.
Keeping off the pounds is tough at any age. Now seniors are getting a helping hand from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has announced that it will cover screening and counseling for obesity as a free preventive service for Medicare beneficiaries.
Iran has been dealing with economic sanctions for years, but the country could soon face measures tougher than anything it has encountered before: Legislation moving through the U.S. Congress would target the central bank of Iran, with the likely effect of severely limiting Iran's oil exports.
Such sanctions would almost certainly damage Iran's economy. The challenge would be to make sure other countries are not hurt as well, given the fragile state of the global economy and the tight global oil market.
We've heard a lot about Solyndra, a solar panel maker that went bankrupt despite lots of federal subsidies. But on Wednesday, a solar installation company and one of the country's biggest banks announced a billion-dollar project to put solar systems on the roofs of military housing. And they're doing it without the kind of federal help Solyndra got.
When SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive came up with a plan to put solar on the rooftops of military housing around the country, he was sure he'd need federal backing to get loans for such a big project.
A new Pennsylvania law could curb municipalities' ability to zone and regulate hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking." And that raises questions about how much say a local government should have over what goes on within its borders.
State lawmakers are grappling with how to update Commonwealth's decades-old Oil and Gas Act to catch up with a natural gas drilling boom.
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.