Next up, who didn't, at one time or another, now think about it, who didn't want to be an astronaut when they were growing up, especially those of us, the children of the space-age space race? Well, for those of us whose lives are a bit more Earthbound, we've got a fun edition to our Ask an Expert series. How about Ask an Astronaut? Everything you wanted to ever ask an astronaut, Flora.
Indian leftist activists rally in front of a Best Price store, owned by Wal-Mart and its Indian partner, Bharti, in Hyderabad in November. The rally was organized to protest foreign direct investment in India's retail sector.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we'll crack open the mail bag to hear what you have to say about stories we covered this week. That's Backtalk and it's coming up. But first, we want to talk about the latest unemployment numbers which are now out. The Department of Labor says that unemployment is down to its lowest level since December 2008.
Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon.
Credit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The total number of weeks of benefits available in any particular state depends on the unemployment rate and unemployment insurance laws in the state where the person worked. This map shows the maximum number of weeks of benefits currently available in each state.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:49 pm
The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.
That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: We're ending this hour into the sea, Ira. Could you tell?
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
Ooh, yeah. I like it.
LICHTMAN: The noise you're hearing comes from a blue whale; that's an animal that can reach 90 feet in length, which is longer than a tennis court. Biologist...
JEREMY GOLDBOGEN: Hands down, these are largest animals of all time. And so one of the questions we're interested in is how do they sustain such an extreme body mass and why don't we see anything bigger than a blue whale?
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, more spacey news.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
All right. Can't get enough?
LICHTMAN: Earlier this week, NASA announced plans to launch another rover to Mars in the year 2020. And there's some buzz, there's some speculation that this one could have a wheel up on Curiosity. Maybe it wouldn't just analyze samples there but could shift them back to Earth.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:03 pm
In Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare", director Matthew Heineman exposes what he sees as flaws in the U.S. healthcare system, such as a doctor who can spend just minutes with her patients to a soldier addicted to painkillers. Colonel Chester 'Trip' Buckenmaier III, of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, describes the military's efforts to swap pain pills for alternative therapies, like acupuncture and yoga.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:22 pm
Bag-in-the-box wine doesn't have the classiest of reputations. It's usually cheap and in the past at least, has been aimed at less sophisticated consumers. But in recent years, boxed wine has tried to buck the stereotype, whether by gussying up the product packaging or simply putting higher-quality wine in the box.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:11 pm
A prank call by two Australian DJs pretending to be Queen Elizabeth has ended in tragedy this morning: The nurse who transferred the call that led to the divulging of information about a pregnant Kate Middleton was found dead in an apartment today.
The Guardian reports that the woman, Jacintha Saldanha, worked at the King Edward VII hospital, where Middleton was admitted, suffering from severe morning sickness.
If President Obama and Congress fail to reach a deal on tax and spending changes, the nation would feel a lot of fiscal pain. But it also may benefit from the long-term fiscal restraint that would come from keeping tax hikes and spending cuts in place.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:11 pm
It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the country.
If President Obama and Congress can't come to agreement on new tax and spending policies by the end of year, the U.S. could slip into recession, defense and domestic programs will see damaging cuts, and the American people may become convinced that Washington can't govern the nation.
On the other hand, the lack of a deal would do a lot to help erase the federal deficit.
This interview was originally broadcast in 1999. Brubeck died on Wednesday at age 91.
In 1954, polls in the leading jazz magazines Metronome and Downbeat selected Dave Brubeck's band as the year's best instrumental group. That same year, Brubeck was the second jazz musician ever featured on the cover of Time Magazine (the first being Louie Armstrong).
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:17 am
The bottom line on the fiscal cliff negotiations on Capitol Hill is that things seem far from resolved. As Politico put it, the last we heard is that White House congressional liaison Rob Nabors went to Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers that President Obama is not budging.
If Congress does not come to an agreement, the country is facing steep spending cuts and tax hikes that economist warn could send the economy back into recession.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:14 am
For the first time since his exile in 1967, the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, returned to the Gaza Strip today. He arrived through the border with Egypt, kissing the ground in celebration and as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, Meshal received a hero's welcome as well as military one.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The publishing industry isn't doing too hot, except Random House, where things got downright steamy this year after it published "Fifty Shades of Grey." That bestselling tale of kinky passion has sold over 60 million copies, which is why Random House employees are now seeing green. The big announcement at the publisher's Christmas party: a $5,000 bonus for every employee, from editors to the mailroom. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
The Austrian press reports after his shift in Vienna, the driver was inspecting his bus and found a bag of cash. Stacks of euros worth $500,000. He gave the money to police, and they tracked down the owner, a 77-year-old woman.
Republican Senator Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he is resigning his seat from South Carolina to become president of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank. What will his departure mean for the Senate and for South Carolina?
Protests in Egypt rage on, despite President Mohammed Morsi's offer in a televised speech last night to meet with his opponents. Demonstrators filled Cairo's streets again today. The opposition in Egypt is confident and they're displaying a newfound unity, something Egypt hasn't seen since the early days of the revolution that ousted Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. But as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, many question whether this unity will last beyond the ongoing political crisis.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:42 am
The Michigan House and Senate have passed the legislation in different versions, and may take final action on the bills next week. Michigan could become the 24th state to say workers cannot be forced to pay union dues even if they work for a business or government employer with union representation.