Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.
The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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We're following several developments in Iran's confrontation with the west. President Obama's administration is talking of even stricter sanctions against Iran's financial system. That's part of an effort to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The Greece debt crisis has forced the country to look to the eurozone for a bailout. But Greece is looking less and less like part of Europe. In the capital Athens, they are still cleaning up from the weekend riots. Even in its tourist precincts, the area is shabby and covered with graffiti.
The man who's expected to become China's president next year, Xi Jinping, is considered a princeling, the son of a prominent Chinese political figure. But the man who's likely to become premier, Li Keqiang, comes from very different stock.
The son of a minor party official, Li worked as a farmer for four years, before studying law at university.
There are college rankings and there are college rankings: the nation's top colleges, the best basketball teams, the top party schools. Here's another: a list of 20 institutions and the money they received in 2011.
Stanford topped the list, raising more money from private donors that anyone else in 2011 ($709.42 million). Harvard and Yale rounded off the top three with $639.15 million and $$580.33 million, respectively. The survey was released Wednesday by the Council for Aid to Education.
As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.
The military-backed government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has surprised many skeptics with the pace of its political reforms — releasing political prisoners, easing censorship and making peace with ethnic insurgents.
But none of these reforms have won it as much praise as its efforts to mend fences with opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. After nearly two decades under house arrest, Suu Kyi is now aiming to work for democracy within the system by running for a seat in parliament.
New York Fashion Week may be coming to a close on Thursday, but a cycle of fashion shows in cities around the world is just about to begin. Fashion editors and store buyers will descend upon London, Milan and Paris to inspect clothes that may appear in stores next fall. Sally Singer — editor-in-chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine — is one of those tastemaking jet-setters, and she joins NPR's Renee Montagne to talk about 2012's trends.
Syrian troops have fired rockets and mortars at neighborhoods in the city of Homs that have most fiercely resisted the government throughout the uprising.
Mainstream journalists are barred from entering Homs, so a team of activists decided to record the offensive themselves. The activists positioned their cameras atop buildings in the city. Each morning the view is blue sky, a minaret, a sea of rooftops. Then come the booms.
If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.
By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis' story of Moneyball — best-selling book or Oscar-nominated film — about the poor little franchise in Oakland that learned how to compete against the big-city rich teams by discovering overlooked players.
The maestro of this policy, Billy Beane, is an endearing character, but I've never been all that charmed by the story, because Beane was just employing cold statistics. Oh, he was right, but it was like rooting for a guy at the blackjack tables who counts cards.
Linsanity is buzzing through the sports world, as New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has come off the bench to emerge as a star. The unlikely story of an NBA player of Taiwanese descent who attended Harvard — and who, at 6 feet 3 inches, outscored Kobe Bryant to beat the Lakers — has won him many admirers.
There aren't many players like Lin. But in Utah, there's a man who knows something about what he's experiencing. Like Lin, Wat (for Wataru) Misaka is an Asian-American who became an unlikely star and played basketball for the Knicks. But he did it in the 1940s.
Every 10 years, about two dozen of this country's top astronomers and astrophysicists get together under the auspices of the National Research Council and make a wish list. The list has on it the new telescopes these astronomers would most like to see built. At the last gathering, they said, in essence, "We most want the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope."
Here's why. A synoptic survey is a comprehensive map of every square inch of the night sky. The Large Synoptic Survey — LSST — will do that multiple times.
The northern plains, especially the Dakotas, are home to about half of the country's honey bee hives during the summer. It's been a good place for bees because they can gather nectar and pollen from so many wildflowers. But the landscape of the area is becoming less bee-friendly, and the consequences could be felt as far away as the almond groves of California, which depend on those same bees for pollination.
If you've ever had a painful sinus infection, all you want is relief — fast!
So off to the doctor you go, and, as often as not, you get a prescription for an antibiotic.
Three days later, you start to feel a little better. "Thank goodness for amoxicillin!" you might say. Well, probably not quite like that, unless you're a nerdy health blogger, but you'd be saying something nice about getting a prescription from your doctor.
Melissa Block speaks with Eric Heginbotham — senior political scientist at RAND — about China's military capability today, how it's developed over time and what the Chinese make of ramped-up attention from the US.
Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.
If you live in the Northeast, this has been a wacky winter: It has been deathly cold in Eastern Europe, as flowers bloom in New York City and temperatures rise to the high 40s and even 50s.
I went in search of flowers in bloom and was not disappointed. There were bushes of red camellias, and gorgeous yellow flowering Adonis. Kristin Schleiter is the acting director of outdoor gardens at the New York Botanical Garden. She took me to an outdoor test garden.
Kabul's fourth snowstorm in the past month brought children out to play across the city, including those in the Charahi Qambar refugee camp in the western part of the capital.
Many of the children in the camp don't remember any other life outside of this mud-brick shantytown. Most of their parents fled the southern province of Helmand when the war heated up there four years ago.
The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.
This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.