It may never have been intended to play out in quite this way, but the automatic spending cuts set to take effect for most federal programs Friday leave little room for preserving the most visible and popular programs.
"The law basically says the cuts have to be across-the-board by 'project, program and activity,' " says Stan Collender, a federal budget expert with the communications firm Qorvis. "That was specifically written to take away flexibility from the administration."
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:15 pm
China isn't a good place to be a horse, if your goal is to avoid ending up as the Russian kabobs known as shashlik.
China exports the most horse meat to the global market, while Russia has the biggest appetite for horseflesh, according to a new infographic on the continuing European scandal over horse meat sold as beef.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:26 pm
Bruce Reynolds, the brains behind the Great Train Robbery of 1963, has died at the age of 81, nearly five decades after he and his partners in crime made off with 2.6 million pounds at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, England.
Reynolds was part of the gang that executed an elaborate scheme to swipe the cash from the Glasgow-to-Euston mail train. The clockwork nature of the crime, along with the fact that the bulk of the loot was never recovered and some of the robbers never captured, has made it a favorite subject of television and films, as well as popular music.
Should students who want to attend medical school have to slog through a year of physics, memorize the structures of dozens of cellular chemicals or spend months studying for the MCAT? Not necessarily.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:39 am
It all depends on how you interpret the phrase "you will regret doing this." That piece of advice coming from a parent might be taken far differently than it would as a line from a Joe Pesci movie.
Where it falls on a spectrum from friendly advice to outright threat is apparently a matter of opinion. Bob Woodward, The Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, and the Obama White House disagree on more than just the sequester story.
The "it" is sequestration — $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts that are due to start kicking in at the end of Friday unless Republican and Democratic leaders somehow bridge their differences.
(We last updated the top of this post at 2 p.m. ET.)
Precisely on time, under dark skies but with the lights of cameras from news outlets around the world illuminating the scene, Swiss Guards on Thursday closed the doors of the palazzo at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome — marking the official end of Pope Benedict XVI's time as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
For the first time in about 600 years, a pope has voluntarily stepped down. His final moment as leader of the church came at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).
The Obama administration will ask Congress for an additional $60 million in aid to help the Syrian opposition council provide basic goods and services in areas under rebel control, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday in Rome.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:25 am
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Queen of kink E.L. James told the New York Post that her next book "won't be nearly so raunchy" as Fifty Shades of Grey, and that she will "probably write it under another name." Her "inner goddess" is probably tired after all of that merengue-ing.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news for folks looking to acquire a new home. Princeton University is giving some houses away for free. They are fixer-uppers, offered as is, but did I mention they're free? The old houses, which have been used as offices, need to be taken off campus to make room for a new art and transit project. Prospective owners will need to pick up their new homes. So a free house, delivery not included. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with an economic indicator found under children's pillows.
The latest Tooth Fairy survey shows the average rate for lost teeth went up 15 percent last year. Illinois based provider Delta Dental says the gain is similar to the jump the S&P 500 saw last year. The average Tooth Fairy gift was just over $2.40. The real moneymaker is the first lost tooth, worth a full dollar more.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
A hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday included tears, cheers and a recording of bursts of gunfire. It was all part of a new push by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, a ban that expired nearly a decade ago.
Companies rely on software to search for new employees, especially when there's a large number of job applicants. But those seeking employment say it puts them at a disadvantage when the software hones in on key terms that don't fit on their resumes.
With unemployment still high, hiring managers continue to be inundated by job applications. Some big companies are coping with the deluge by using talent management software that winnows pools of job applicants before a human lays eyes on their resumes.
Human resources teams say in today's economy, the systems, which have been around for decades, are crucial. But job hunters like Tim Woodfield often find the software overly aggressive.
Woodfield is an information technology expert, but, ironically, computers became his nemesis during his job search.
Yahoo touched off a debate about the effectiveness of telecommuting when it told employees last week that they may no longer work from home. The policy change was made, according to the company's internal email, to enhance workplace collaboration.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who happens to be a new mother, drew fierce criticism from those who say she should embrace, rather than reject, flexible work arrangements.
What exactly is lost and what's gained when people work from home?
If you've ever shot the breeze, had a heart-to-heart or bent somebody's ear — in fact, if you've ever talked at all — odds are you've used an idiom. These sometimes bizarre phrases are a staple of conversation, and more than 10,000 of them are collected in the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, which came out this week.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (right) is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on June 25, 2012. His lawyer announced that Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.
Several states are rushing to establish a foothold in online gambling — an activity that federal officials were only recently trying to ban.
Just a while ago, the federal government actually viewed online gambling as a crime. Lately, the Obama administration has taken a more permissive stance. It now allows states to sell lottery tickets online.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had expressed reservations about online gambling a month ago and had vetoed an earlier version of the bill. But in the end, the pressure to sign the legislation was just too great.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media outside the White House after meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss the administration's proposals to reduce gun violence.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:17 pm
The victory of a pro-gun-control candidate in the Illinois Democratic primary race to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was also a political win for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose superPAC backed the winner over a candidate it linked to the NRA.
But Robin Kelly's victory Tuesday was, for Bloomberg, more than just another achievement on the gun control front. It was one more win in Bloomberg's unique assault on what he views as the public health problems of our time.
NPR's Steve Henn works from his Silicon Valley home. He says his fragmented schedule allows him to fit in time with his daughters. "It works for me because, in the end, the hours balance out — and I am in control of my time," he says.
Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: Beer Is At Full Strength, Tests Say
Samples of Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch InBev beers were found to be in line with their advertised alcohol content, according to lab tests conducted at NPR's request. We've rewritten portions of this post to reflect that new information.
Anheuser-Busch is accused of misleading beer drinkers about the alcohol content of Budweiser and other products, in a series of class-action lawsuits filed in federal court.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:18 pm
Feeling a little awkward? Consider skipping the alcohol and grabbing a pet instead.
As any dog walker knows, it's easy — unavoidable, even — to strike up conversations with strangers when accompanied by a canine friend. Smaller animals like rabbits and turtles can also lubricate social interactions.
If Congress and the Obama administration can't agree on a budget deal by Friday, the federal government will be forced to cut $85 billion from just about every federally funded program. Every state could lose federal aid, and a myriad of government programs could shut down or curtail services — and that includes the nation's public schools.
Secretary of State Kerry is in Rome for a meeting on Thursday with the leaders of Syria's opposition coalition. Ahead of the session, there are indications the U.S. is prepared to provide some direct aid to the coalition, including military hardware such as body armor and armored vehicles. The European Union is discussing similar aid.