Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:00 am
Talk about a fall:
"Prices of virtual currency bitcoin fell 20% Wednesday and are now down more than 50% from their record high hit two weeks ago amid worries that China is moving to block the purchase and use of the currency by its citizens," The Wall Street Journal writes.
Financial Times New Delhi correspondent Amy Kazmin speaks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about the case of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York for allegedly paying her maid below minimum wage. The diplomat was strip-searched and jailed, touching off an angry reaction in India.
University police, FBI agents and Cambridge, Mass., officers all responded on Monday when Harvard received messages claiming that bombs had been planted in four buildings. None were found and a student has been charged in the hoax. he allegedly wanted to avoid taking a test.
Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:37 am
In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.
There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. So a new boss comes in and wants to clean house. For Jersey City's new mayor that meant cracking some dusty old safes in City Hall. What would he find? Ill gotten gains? Sepia photos? Local pols were guessing a stash of cash. New mayor Steven Fulop hired a locksmith. The city spent about 1,000 bucks to open the safe to reveal - drum roll, please - an extension cord. At least it's useful. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Here's why most New York Mets avoid standing-in for Santa at the team holiday party. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Santa suit is cursed. Consider these former Santa Mets: Center-fielder Mike Cameron got badly injured, right-fielder Jeff Francoeur was traded, pitcher John Maine, career tanked. The list stretches back a decade.
Yesterday, Ukraine got a big holiday present from its neighbor, Russia, in the form of a multi-billion dollar bailout. And now everyone is trying to figure out what strings Russia attached, and whether this could be a sign that Ukraine, a country of some 45 million people, is aligning itself more closely with the East than the West.
A school board in Jacksonville, Fla., has decided that one of its schools should no longer be named after Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was also a general in the Civil War. Nathan Bedford Forrest High School received its name in the 1950s, and for decades the decision has been debated.
Federal Reserve officials end a two-day meeting on Wednesday amid signs that the U.S. economy is slowly mending. David Greene talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the Fed's last meeting of the year.
A coalition of churches and religious groups are trying to overturn a California law that aims to accommodate transgender students.
The law, slated to go into effect next year, allows students to use the restrooms and participate on the sports teams of their gender identity rather than their biological sex. But those who oppose the law see it as a threat to students' privacy.
Germans are serious about their beer. Serious enough for the European country's main brewers association to urge the United Nations to recognize that fact.
The brewers association wants a five-century-old law governing how German beer is made to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. It would join the Argentinian tango, Iranian carpet weaving and French gastronomy, among other famous traditions, that are considered unique and worth protecting.
Political innocent I may be, but I find great irony in that, while everybody agrees there is massive inequality in the United States today, it's in sports where the American dream still lives — more than ever.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:34 pm
That's the number the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers wanted to see this year. Having an annual inflation rate of 2 percent would confirm that the U.S. economy is strengthening — workers are getting raises and companies are seeing enough customer demand to mark up prices.
But the 2 percent target turned out to be too high.
Doctors talking up drugs to other doctors has been quite lucrative for pharmaceutical companies — and the physicians who moonlight as their salesmen.
Drugmakers learned long ago that deputized doctors were effective pitchmen. A doctor paid by a company to give a dinner speech or to chat over lunch with colleagues can go a long way toward changing their prescribing habits.
An auto worker tightens bolts on a Focus at a Ford plant in Michigan in October. Labor unions predicted in 1993 that NAFTA would send many U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and they continue to argue that the pact prompted a race to the bottom for workers.
Two decades ago, the strongest critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement were members of labor unions. They warned that the trade deal would mean the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and lower wages for U.S. workers.
Today, 20 years since NAFTA's passage, unions feel as strongly as ever that the deal was a bad idea.
As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. They're numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we live in.
This year, for the first time, national polls show a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Gallup has been asking the question for four decades, and now it says 58 percent favor legalization.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:17 pm
Were access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest span, closed as political retribution against a mayor who didn't publicly endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election?
The governor denies that politics played a role in the traffic-snarling decision, but the controversy has put an ever-growing stain on Christie's glossy November re-election victory. And the episode could have an impact on Christie's White House ambitions.
Today, one of the biggest drug companies in the world announced changes to its marketing practices. GlaxoSmithKline says the idea is to be more transparent about how it sells its drugs. Among the changes, the company will stop paying doctors to tout its products to other doctors.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the public interest community says this is a step in the right direction for an industry that's faced many legal problems.
In 2009, snowboarder Kevin Pearce was riding high, soaring skyward, twisting his body into breathtaking acrobatics. He was 22, one of the world's top halfpipe riders, and a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Nicholas Mevoli smiles while diving in Curacao in October. He died a month later following an attempted dive in a free-diving competition in the Bahamas.
Credit Charles Lane / WSHU
Polish free-diver Mateusz Malina (second from right), accompanied by judges and safety divers, at the Little Blue Hole free-diving competition in Dahab, Egypt, last month. Malina blacked out on this dive, but on the previous day he broke the Polish national record for free-diving without fins by diving 272 feet.
Dahab, Egypt, just north of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, is perfect for free-diving. A diver can have tea in a simple beach cafe and then take just a handful of steps into the Gulf of Aqaba, where the seafloor plunges more than 100 yards into a wine-glass-shaped blue hole.
A decade ago, President George W. Bush announced an unprecedented global health initiative: $15 billion over five years to fight HIV in developing countries.
"There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection," Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address. "Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims — only 50,000 — are receiving the medicine they need."