Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:40 am
As President Obama embarks on vacation, he leaves behind roiling domestic markets, dismal unemployment numbers and speculation about what he'll propose in a planned jobs-and-economy speech after Labor Day.
While he's expected to lay out some familiar strategies when he returns, from extending payroll tax cuts to new infrastructure spending, economists are looking for more — and for how Obama will balance election-year politics with the imperative to get something done and quickly in bitterly divided Washington.
The orange goo that took over the shore of a remote Alaskan village is actually a mass of fungal spores — not microscopic eggs, as scientists at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration first believed.
"At this point, the best identification we can give to as the origin of these spores is a rust fungus," says Steve Morton, Ph.D., who works in the NOAA lab in Charleston, S.C., that conducted the full analysis. "The spores are unlike others we and our network of specialists have examined; however, many rust fungi of the Arctic tundra have yet to be identified."
Pope Benedict XVI visited Spain on Thursday to celebrate World Youth Day with Catholic pilgrims from around the globe. But a country that was solidly Catholic for centuries has become much more secular, and not everyone extended a warm welcome.
Regal music is piped through the streets of Madrid as the popemobile rolls by. The faithful fall to their knees. Up to a million Catholics are present, including Sara Vallarta from Laredo, Texas.
"It's been an awesome experience. It's incredible, the amount of people here, coming all together with their faith," she says.
It's a natural question to wonder if cutting off economic ties with a country can truly stop an authoritarian regime from attacking its own people and if it can truly get it to give up power after four decades of family rule, as Obama demanded.
Arizona voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing an "independent" commission to decide where the lines get drawn. The intent was to avoid the self-interest of having the Legislature draw its own districts. But the commission is taking political flak — even before it releases any maps.
There's a revolution underway in biology. Scientists are coming to understand genetics isn't just about genes. Just as important are smaller sequences of DNA that control genes.
These so-called regulatory elements tell genes when to turn on and off, and when to stop functioning altogether. A new study suggests that changes in these non-gene sequences of DNA may hold the key to explaining how all species evolved.
An exhibition basketball game between Georgetown University's Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets descended into a brawl and then a full-on melee Thursday, one day after visiting Vice President Joe Biden stopped by to watch Georgetown play another team, the Shanxi Brave Dragons, in Beijing.
Both the Rockets and the Brave Dragons are professional teams. In Wednesday's game, the Hoyas beat the Brave Dragons, 98-81.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The drug got the green light faster than many other drugs under review, and advocates of personalized medicine say this bodes well for other gene-based drugs in development.
Anna Hazare will be allowed to stage a 15-day public hunger strike in New Delhi. As we reported yesterday, Hazare was in a standoff with the Indian government, which arrested him for planning a protest without a permit.
Police have been flown into the tiny Pacific resort island of Aitutaki, where officials say their bank has been robbed — a first for the small, tight-knit community. Part of the Cook Islands, Aitutaki is famous for its beaches, which ring a large lagoon full of clear, ice-blue water.
Tourism is the island's biggest industry — and that has local officials thinking that the shocking bank robbery was perpetrated by a visitor, not a resident.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency suspended cellular service to prevent a protest in San Francisco's subway last week. Such news prompts the question of how police can best enforce the law in the digital world. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with a San Francisco Chronicle journalist and an Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney.
The U.S. Postal Service proposed this month to cut 120,000 jobs. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with two former postal workers about what the USPS means to them, whether Americans still need the post office like they used to, and what the the future of USPS may entail.
Last night, Christine O'Donnell, who was a much-discussed Senate candidate in Delaware last year and author of a new book, walked out on her interview with CNN's Piers Morgan after he asked her to talk about gay marriage, which she said was rude, because she was there to discuss — in her words — one of "the issues that I choose to talk about in the book." Ultimately, their disagreement came down to her assertion that as a host, it's rude to ask her things other than the things she wants to be asked about.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Standard & Poor's improperly boosted ratings on mortgage securities that later turned out to be toxic, helping trigger the worst financial crisis in decades.
NPR has confirmed the investigation, first reported Wednesday by The New York Times.
President Obama today released a written statement calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign. In his statement, President Obama condemned, quote, "the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that call in an announcement from the State Department.
Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (State Department): Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves.
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he's "actively" considering legalizing gambling in the state to raise revenue. That would create competition for casinos owned by New York's native nations.
Casino and tobacco sales have turned the Seneca nation, south of Buffalo, from an impoverished territory to the fifth-largest employer in the region.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives denied a report from The Los Angeles Times that supervisors of ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation were promoted.
The ATF said the supervisors were "laterally transferred."
"Fast and Furious" was a sting operation that sold weapons and allowed them to cross the U.S./Mexico border in an effort to bring in the bigger fish. What happened, however, is that the guns sold by the operation ended up being used in killings. The operation is now facing legal scrutiny.
In his first explicit demand, President Obama called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. The White House issued a written statement praising the protesters' "pursuit of a peaceful transition" and "strongly condemning" the Syrian regime's "brutality."
"Five people were killed and dozens were wounded Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli targets approximately 20 kilometers [12 miles] north of the southern city of Eilat, close to the border with Egypt," Israel's Haaretz.com is reporting.
Get ready to hear the word supercommittee a lot this fall. It's the bipartisan committee created by the recent debt ceiling deal, which has until Thanksgiving to figure out how to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit.
One of the panel's co-chairman is Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. With Congress in recess, Murray is back home, doing the obligatory factory tours. She was at Machinists, Inc. on Seattle's industrial south side on Wednesday.
A game out of Rhode Island is fast becoming a major player in the board game industry. Bananagrams, as the company and game are called, is an anagram puzzle built for speed; think of Scrabble with no board or complicated scoring.
And despite the down economy, the company that makes the game is thriving.
More Fun Than A ...
The first time Seth Snyder played Bananagrams, he became an addict. It made sense — the 25-year-old industrial designer is into word games and puzzles — but nothing had him this hooked.
On Aug. 5, a federal jury handed down one of the most sweeping verdicts in the modern history of American police brutality cases. Five New Orleans police officers were convicted of various roles in gunning down civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, and then covering it up. Five other officers pleaded guilty.
The Danziger Bridge case, as it's called, adds momentum to a reform effort already under way. The Department of Justice says it's committed to cleaning up the New Orleans Police Department, once and for all.
The crisis in Europe is one of the underlying causes of recent wild swings in U.S. stock markets. U.S. bank stocks in particular suffer badly with any sign that Europe's debt crisis might be worsening.
But the U.S. financial sector's vulnerabilities in Europe are hard to quantify.
It seems likely that two British men sentenced to serve four years in prison for plotting riots — which did not take place — will appeal their sentences. Their punishments were handed down less than a week after Britain was seized by fiery riots.