Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. credit puts the country in uncharted economic waters. Host Scott Simon talks to New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera about the implications of the S&P downgrade.
Thirty-one American troops and seven Afghans are reported dead in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. If confirmed, it would be the highest number of Americans killed in a single incident since the war in Afghanistan began 10 years ago. NPR Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman is following the story, and talks with host Scott Simon.
China, the biggest holder of U.S. treasuries, is reacting strongly to the downgrade of U.S. debt. China's official news agency says the country "has every right now to demand that the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets." NPR's Frank Langfitt is following reaction in Asia, and talks with host Scott Simon.
The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began this week in Cairo more than six months after the start of anti-government protests that ultimately proved to be his undoing. The ailing 83-year-old Mr. Mubarak was wheeled into court on a hospital bed. From behind the bars of a courtroom cage, he heard and denied charges of corruption and of authorizing the killing of protesters. NPR's Mike Shuster joins us from Cairo. Mike, thanks for being with us.
As the United States struggles to cope with obesity rates, France is often looked to as a counterexample. Yet obesity is on the rise there as well now, and though French culinary traditions are often credited with keeping people trim, some worry those eating habits are under assault.
DuPont Co. is pulling a new herbicide from the market, after it was blamed for damaging or killing thousands of trees. Since the EPA approved the weedkiller Imprelis for sale last October, it has become the target of several lawsuits.
As reported by the Lawn and Landscape website, DuPont has posted a letter announcing the suspension of sales, and instituting a return-for-refund policy. The company also expressed regret for any "tree injuries."
U.S. stock markets finished Friday with a mix of gains and losses, ending a volatile week of steep declines on Wall Street. The release of better-than-expected July job numbers helped early in the day, but the data only seemed to pause, not end, the blood-letting.
But for drivers, there's an upside to the market's losses: The price of gasoline is going to fall, as well, dragged down by the same fears that prompted the flight from stocks.
Small beer brewers in Massachusetts were shocked this week, when the state alcohol commission announced a new rule that any "farmer-brewers" in the state must grow at least 50 percent of their beer's hops and grain themselves, or get them from a domestic farm they've contracted with for the purpose.
When it announced the advisory, the commission emphasized that farmer-brewer licenses were created to encourage development of the state's domestic farms. But the license also costs far less money than a full "manufacturer" permit.
As a heat wave grips large parts of the country, ask yourself this: Would you turn down a glass of water? If you're Muslim, you probably would, because it is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims can't eat or drink from sunup to sundown.
It's a bit of a challenge, says Omar Shahin, an imam in Phoenix. At that moment, it was 105 degrees outside, and he was cleaning the pool in his backyard. The water was so close, yet so far.
If some foods really don't agree with you or someone you live with, you've got plenty of company.
In the latest NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll, we asked people across the country about food allergies and intolerance. The bottom line: 1 in 5 households across the country has at least one person who is allergic or intolerant to at least one food.
The residents of Hama, a religiously conservative city in central Syria, have a bitter history with the Assad family that has ruled the country for four decades.
Government opponents rose up in 1982 against Hafez Assad, the former president, and he responded with massive military force that reduced parts of the city to rubble. It took weeks for details to reach the wider world, and there has never been a full accounting. But human-rights groups estimate that anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 people were killed.
President Obama outlined his plan to help veterans find jobs Friday, calling for better training for demobilized soldiers and tax credits for employers who hire them. In June, there were 1 million unemployed veterans in America, and the jobless rate for post-Sept. 11 veterans stood at 13.3 percent — about four points higher than the national average.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:27 pm
A federal jury found five former New Orleans police officers guilty of civil rights violations in connection to the shooting deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. The shootings took place during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The AP reports:
"All five officers were convicted Friday of charges stemming from the cover-up of the shootings. The four who had been charged with civil rights violations in the shootings were convicted on all counts.
"However, the jury decided that neither fatal shooting was a murder.
The Los Angeles school district has rehired 450 elementary school teachers who had been laid off in June. The AP reports that the jobs were restored after "a combination of retirements, resignations, dismissals and a four-day furlough agreement with the teachers union allowed the district to rescind the layoffs."
The layoffs were part of massive job cuts instituted this summer, as Los Angeles dealt with state funding cuts. Although the school district has rehired 4,170 teachers and support staff since those initial cuts were made, some 1,450 personnel remain laid off.
The President was recently referred to as "your boy" by MSNBC's Pat Buchanan, and his debt ceiling policy was called a "tar baby" by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). Also in the week's news: July gained 117,000 jobs and MTV hit 30 years on the air. Weighing in are the Barbershop guys: author Jimi Izrael, attorney Arsalan Iftikhar, Republican strategist Ron Christie, and professor Mark Lamont Hill.
Federal statistics show the U.S. gained 117,000 jobs in July, and unemployment dropped to 9.1 percent. Financial journalist Stacey Tisdale discusses what these numbers mean for the national economy's long-term health, and Rep. Chakah Fattah describes how his Pa. district compares to the rest of the U.S.
Congress avoided a federal default this week by raising the debt ceiling in exchange for promised spending reductions, but it ceded the difficult details to a new 12-member "super committee."
If reaction to the bipartisan panel of Senate and House members, yet to be appointed, is any measure, its chances of agreeing on ways to reduce the nation's deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade are slim — no matter who gets picked to serve.
Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:30 am
Cable and Internet provider Comcast is launching a new initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide, offering discounted web access and home computers to families that meet income requirements.
The plan, called Internet Essentials, will be available wherever Comcast offers Internet services — which it currently does in 39 states. The company has launched websites in English and Spanish to promote the program.
With one death and 77 people reported ill, the latest foodborne illness outbreak has led to one of the largest recalls in U.S. history. Food giant Cargill has been forced to pull a staggering 36 million pounds of ground turkey from the market. And the victims in this case have gotten very sick — almost one-third have ended up in the hospital.
As a Texas jury considers a possible life sentence for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, a coalition of polygamist groups is condemning the sexual abuse that led to Jeffs' conviction.
"We are alarmed that such depravity could have been perpetrated by anyone," says a written statement from the Principle Rights Coalition, a group representing five polygamist groups in Arizona and Utah, as well as "numerous other independent Fundamentalist Mormons."
Peter Boone is a principal at Salute Capital Management and non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Senior Fellow at PIIE.
Mark Hemingway is an editorial page writer for the Washington Examiner.
Much to the frustration of the press corps and the country at large, President Obama went nearly a year without giving a press conference at a time when the country was in a rather precarious state economically and politically. Lately, however it seems that Obama has decided that the debt ceiling debate is the time to reengage — no doubt the looming campaign has something to do with this decision.
Originally published on Fri August 5, 2011 3:06 pm
The nations belonging to the euro currency zone have been struggling with a debt crisis for more than a year. The wealthier nations — notably, Germany — have helped bail out the troubled nations, including Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Yet these smaller countries have not solved their financial problems, and there is now a growing fear that the debt problems are spreading to the much larger economies of Spain and Italy.