President Obama examines a K'NEX roller coaster on Nov. 30 at a Hatfield, Pa., factory that makes the toys. During the visit, Obama spoke about the economy, the middle class and his plan to raise taxes on top wage earners.
Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 12:33 pm
"Syria's most powerful ally, Russia, said for the first time Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country and the rebels might win the civil war, dramatically shifting the diplomatic landscape at a time of enormous momentum for the opposition," The Associated Press writes.
Here's what Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, according to the AP:
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Kristina Green knew she couldn't trump her next door neighbor's elaborate Christmas light display, so the Maricopa, Arizona woman decided to have some fun. Now pictured on her Facebook page is her neighbor's house covered, from driveway to roof, in 16,000 lights. And Green's house? It features a display of just 900 lights above her garage arranged to spell out the word ditto with an arrow pointing next door. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Now to a writer whose exact words may not be remembered, but whose stories have come down through the ages. Scholars in Denmark believe they have found a new tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It's a short story called "The Tallow Candle."
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
A Danish newspaper says it was discovered in a storage box near Andersen's hometown. Experts believe he wrote it as a young teenager in the 1820s.
CALM is an acronym for a new law that takes effect Thursday. It stands for the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, and it means you won't have to jump for your TV remote the second commercials air. The law says the volume of commercials needs to be the same as the programs they're coming out of.
Of the 535 members of Congress, not many appear to be in the loop about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. That makes the rest nervous about having to vote on a bill on short notice despite misgivings about what's in it. But this is often how major deals get accomplished in Washington.
In these budget negotiations, the names Boehner and Obama come up most often — and virtually all the rest are on the outside looking in.
As any cheese maker will tell you, it's not that hard to make cheese. You just take some fresh milk, warm it up a bit, and add something acidic to curdle it. Then, once it has cooled, you drain off the whey — the liquid part — and you're left with cheese.
If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him — give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy — there are some basic principles that seem to work.
The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.
But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.
In a closed-door meeting Thursday, lawmakers will consider whether to approve a secret report that chronicles CIA detention and interrogation practices — including methods that critics have compared to torture.
That report — along with the release of a new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden — is rekindling an old debate about whether those methods worked.
On Friday, Sotheby's is putting up for auction 44 letters and 35 drawings from Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, to a young woman he was courting.
The letters were written during an eight-month period starting in 1970 when Schulz's first marriage was deteriorating and before he met his second wife. During this time, Schulz, 48, wrote Tracey Claudius, 25, poignant, funny, even innocent notes in pictures and words, often using Charlie Brown to stand in for himself.
Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.
It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.
A woman with the Army Corps of Engineers documents a destroyed home last month in a residential area of New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City.
Credit Christopher Joyce / NPR
Who's Next? A boat displaced by Hurricane Sandy was dropped on Staten Island. Because of sea level rise, the storm surge was more intense than it would have been in a non-climate changed world, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says.
It will take tens of billions of dollars to repair the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But scientists who study climate change say repair is not enough. As the climate warms, ice sheets and glaciers will melt, raising the sea level. That means coastal storms will more likely cause flooding.
So New Yorkers, local politicians and scientists face a tough decision: How to spend limited funds to defend themselves from what climate experts call "the new normal."
Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.
"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.
Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.
Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, have spent the past year looking to adopt. To speed up the arduous process, the couple built a website about their lives to draw in interested birth mothers.
Credit Courtesy of Eric James
Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, have spent the past year looking to adopt. To speed up the arduous process, the couple created a website about their lives to draw in potential birth mothers.
When Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, decided to adopt last year, they signed on with Adoptions Together, a reputable agency close to their home in Maryland. They attended the agency's seminars to learn about the process, met other "waiting parents" and formed personal bonds with the staff. But there was just one problem.
Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.
Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.
California Gov. Jerry Brown is receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which his physician says was caught at an "early stage." The governor's office announced the news today, adding that Brown's work schedule has not been disrupted.
"The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects," the governor's office quoted UCSF oncologist Dr. Eric Small as saying. Calling the cancer "localized," Small said that Brown is undergoing a short course of radiation therapy.
Brown is expected to undergo treatment through early January.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 12:54 pm
No one can argue the setback to organized labor served up by Michigan's new law, which bars unions from requiring workers to pay dues even if they don't join their workplace bargaining unit.
Tuesday's passage of "right to work" legislation in a state dominated by the auto industry and the historically powerful United Auto Workers was a surprising "smack in the face" to unions, says labor expert Lee Adler, especially given President Obama's nearly 10-point win in the state last month.
Eighteen months ago Eden Full was finishing up her sophomore year at Princeton University. She was on the crew team as a coxswain. She had spent the previous summer in Kenya building an innovative, low-cost contraption to make solar panels more efficient.
Full was glowingly successful — the kind of college student who ends up profiled in alumni magazines.
A customer departs Total Wine of Towson, Md., with a gift pack of Belgium's Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale.
Credit Bill Chappell / NPR
For the first time, the vaunted Westvleteren 12 beer has hit U.S. beer store shelves in large numbers. The bottle's Latin inscription reads, "Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi," or, "I helped to build the abbey."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:39 pm
To many beer fans, the arrival of the Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale in American shops today is a chance to try a beer they've only read about on beer-geek blogs and sites — where it's often given a "world class" rating of 100.
But finding the beer can be tricky — it's not available in all states, and some stores sold out of their allotment within hours of opening Wednesday.
In the small town of Claxton, Ga., two bakeries make more than 4 million pounds of fruitcake each year. Both bakeries say Claxton is the fruitcake capital of the world, despite a similar claim made by a company in Corsicana, Texas.
A crowd seeks help applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles in August. Schools have been inundated with requests for the documents needed to qualify.
In the six months since a new law opened a path to temporary legal status for some young immigrants in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have applied — and have rushed to request qualifying documents from their schools.
The law, Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, offers legal status, renewable every two years, to people ages 30 and younger who were brought to the country as children. Applicants must prove they were in the U.S. for five consecutive years — something most easily achieved through school transcripts.
Cartoonists have found many clever ways to depict the conventional wisdom that complex life evolved in the sea and then crawled up onto land. But a provocative new study suggests that the procession might be drawn in the wrong direction. The earliest large life forms may have appeared on land long before the oceans filled with creatures that swam and crawled and burrowed in the mud.
The Syrian military fired Scud missiles on rebel positions in northern Syria this week, a Pentagon source says. Here, a rebel fighter takes a position last month in the northern city of Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting in recent months.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:58 pm
The Syrian military fired Scud missiles at rebel forces this week, launching them from near the capital Damascus and targeting opposition fighters in the north of the country, Pentagon sources tell NPR's Tom Bowman.
The development comes at a time when the fighting has been intensifying and the rebels appear to be gaining momentum in a nearly two-year-old battle against President Bashar Assad.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:31 pm
North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.