German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou speak during talks Tuesday in Berlin. Germany's lower house of parliament voted 523-85 to bolster the European bailout fund, which is designed to help Greece and other troubled countries.
Saudi men are expected to cast votes Thursday in the kingdom's municipal elections. King Abdullah has promised that women can vote in the next election in four years, but that pledge has been overshadowed by the case of a woman sentenced to 10 lashes for violating the ban on driving.
Plans by European politicians to introduce a tax on financial transactions are getting a cold reception in Europe's main financial center, London. On Wednesday the head of the EU executive branch said banks and other financial institutions should contribute to fixing Europe's economic problems ... but 80 percent of any income would come from London, and many British leaders reject the idea.
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How to handle illegal immigration has been a big topic on the presidential campaign trail and a big debate in many states. Alabama has what's considered to be the toughest law against illegal immigration in the country, and much of that law takes effect today. A Birmingham federal judge refused to block some of the most stringent provisions in the state's crackdown.
The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from a seven-run deficit Wednesday to beat the New York Yankees and advance to the playoffs. The win shuts out the Boston Red Sox, who lost a close game to the Baltimore Orioles.
Recently, I heard about a secret snack. Kayakers who paddle the waters near Washington, D.C., told me about a mango-like fruit that grows along the banks of the Potomac — a speckled and homely skin that hides a tasty treat.
A tropical-like fruit here, really? Yep. It's the only temperate member of a tropical family of trees. You can't buy the pawpaw in stores, so for years, the only way to eat them was straight from the tree.
California is days away from launching a dramatic shift in the way it handles criminal offenders: Starting in October, the state will redirect tens of thousands of nonviolent felons away from state prisons to local facilities.
The state's plan is called "realignment." It shifts certain functions from the state to the counties, says Barry Krisberg, who teaches criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley, law school.
U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen speaks during a press conference in Baghdad on Aug. 2, during a visit to press top Iraqi officials to make a decision on the future of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he would not change "a word" of the testimony he gave the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
"I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased," Adm. Mike Mullen said.
How much you are willing to pay for your favorite sandwich? If it has peanut butter in it, you may soon be recalculating. A looming shortage of U.S. peanuts is causing the price of peanut butter to soar.
"We have quite a peanut shortage this year," saysTiffany Arthur, an agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency — the folks who make emergency loans to farmers. "Things are snowballing and prices are sharply rising," she says.
Tomas performs at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 25. Since the end of the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Catalan nationalists have sought to cast off all things Castilian — referring to Spain's heartland.
Credit Manu Fernandez / AP
Spanish matador Jose Tomas performs at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain, in the final bullfight to be held in the Spanish region of Catalonia, Sept. 25. Lawmakers in the region voted to ban the practice last year.
Spain's northeast region of Catalonia held its final bullfight last weekend, after voting to ban the practice last year.
But it's a different story elsewhere in Spain. While relatively few Spaniards are real aficionados of bullfighting, many more see it as a national tradition, and don't want it banned.
On a recent day, Antonio Gutierrez and his friends puff on cigars and shuffle dominos on a folding table near Madrid's famed Las Ventas bullring. They're a bit suspicious of a foreigner asking about bullfights.
"Bullfighting is very, very good. OK?" says Gutierrez.
The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case that will decide on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul law.
"The department has consistently and successfully defended this law in several courts of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional," the Justice Department said in a statement. "We believe the question is appropriate for review by the Supreme Court."
In the past, Google Chief Eric Schmidt, shown this month, has expressed impatience with Internet anonymity. At the Techonomy conference last year, he said, "One of the errors that the Internet made a long time ago is that there was not an accurate and non-revocable identity-management service."
Social media companies don't like people creating accounts under fake names. That's long been the case at Facebook, but over the summer, Google's new social network, Google Plus, surprised users by making a point of shutting down accounts with names that didn't look real.
Some online activists refer to Google's action as the "nym wars" — short for "pseudonym wars." They see it as part of a worrying trend to force people to use their real names online.
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry attend a rally earlier this month in Newport Beach, Calif. Though some Republican voters have doubts about Perry, recent polls show it's not because of his stance on Social Security, which he's called a "Ponzi scheme."
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a kiss to 100-year-old Mary Canfield during the Blackhawk County Republican annual Lincoln Day Dinner last month in Waterloo, Iowa. Perry has sought to reassure voters that he won't scrap Social Security.
It's often been called the "third rail" of American politics. If so, many of those running for office this political season are living dangerously.
Social Security — what's wrong with it and how to fix it — has become part of the political debate in the presidential primary season. Most candidates say they have plans to reform it, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry has gone further, saying that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie."
Although Perry may be running into resistance from Republican voters, it's not because of his stand on Social Security.
By some counts, fewer than half of Americans have ever tried to calculate how much they'll need for retirement. And those who do? In one recent survey, half told pollsters they just guessed.
A new poll for NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds retirement is proving more difficult than expected for many Americans, in large part because they haven't saved enough. So we set out to ask: How much do you need?
A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., has blocked some provisions of a controversial immigration law in the state — most notably those that would "make it a state crime to harbor immigrants and make it a misdemeanor to work in the state" — the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
"Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors Wednesday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop superstar's physician entered its second day."
Reebok International Ltd. came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission over what the government said were "over-hyped advertising claims" by Reebok that a pair of its specialty shoes could tone leg and butt muscles better than regular shoes.
One TV ad, cited by the FTC, claimed that Reebok's EasyTone shoes tone "your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking."
Over the past decade, the number of roundabouts in the U.S. has increased dramatically, from the low hundreds up to the thousands. Modern traffic circles can cut down on commute time and pollution. Studies have shown that they even reduce accidents. And many American cities are planning to put in more. But there are still a few roadblocks in the way of a true roundabout revolution.
Near a traffic circle in West Los Angeles, a nexus of car culture, NPR put up a handwritten sign that said, "Talk to a reporter about roundabouts."
Picture this: An alternate-reality, suspended-in-space American metropolis where steampunk contraptions –- like propeller-driven dirigibles, squeaky trolley wires and clunky robotic creatures –- operate against a backdrop of clanging liberty bells, red, white and blue powder kegs and jingoistic posters warning: "Patriots! Arm Thyself Against the Foreigners and Anarchists!"
Greece's capital city was gridlocked Wednesday as mass-transit workers walked off the job for the third day this week over fresh austerity measures imposed by the government in hopes of securing crucial bailout funds.
The 24-hour strike left Athens without buses, subway trains, taxis or trams. Workers in customs and tax offices also walked off the job, and scores of retirees picketed outside the Finance Ministry to protest pension cuts.
Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 2:23 pm
UPDATE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said in a press conference today that officials "do anticipate a rising number of cases in days and weeks to come" in the cantaloupe-listeria outbreak, the deadliest in over a decade.
"There are suspect cases that are under investigation" in the state, says Sherri McGarry, a senior advisor in FDA's office of foods, who has been involved in the investigation.
Republicans in the Sunshine State have long been expected to throw the 2012 GOP presidential primary-and-caucus season into its usual chaos.
Reports Wednesday that legislators will schedule the state's primary on Jan. 31, a week earlier than the tentative date for the usual first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, would accomplish that.
Florida legislators are determined to have the state GOP primary go fifth in the contest order, behind only the national party-sanctioned early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
The fried egg — a massive star surrounded by a double, outer ring of gaseous dust — is the closest yellow hypergiant star found neighboring Earth to date. Yellow hypergiants are rare, massive stars living in a phase of a star's life cycle that generally only lasts a few hundred thousand years — a flash in the lifespan of the galaxy. They consume a lot of energy to burn so brightly.