Reporters interview Iranian Minister of Petroleum Rostam Ghasemi before the start of the 160th meeting of the OPEC Conference in Vienna, Dec. 14. The global market for oil complicates the issue of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The U.S. Congress has approved legislation that targets the Central Bank of Iran and is intended to make it more difficult for that country to sell its oil abroad.
But the latest sanctions could backfire. Reduced oil supplies on the world market could mean higher prices, and therefore Iran could actually make more money from its oil even if it sells fewer barrels.
It's a big night in Iowa: The Republican presidential candidates are holding their final big debate prior to the Iowa caucuses, which take place on Jan. 3. Melissa Block talks with Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad about various candidates' strengths and weaknesses. In short, he says there's a lot of excitement, and he's reserving judgment on who the winner will be.
There's a world of activity between the time online shoppers click the "place order" button and when a holiday package is delivered to their doorsteps. The National Retail Federation estimates that 38 percent of holiday purchases will be made online this year, which is keeping fulfillment centers large and small very busy.
Target.com runs five fulfillment centers. One of them, in Tucson, Ariz., stretches the length of 16 football fields.
A counselor (right) talks with a man about training programs at a nonprofit training and job placement center in Menlo Park, Calif. Seventy percent of the long-term unemployed and underemployed would like the government to offer more job training services, an NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found.
If you're unemployed, it can be painfully clear when you don't have the right skills to land a good job.
With unemployment at 8.6 percent, upwards of 13 million Americans are without a job and looking for work. A recent NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll surveyed hundreds of long-term unemployed and underemployed people, asking whether they thought they had the skills required to find a job.
Federal money for active duty students is particularly attractive to for-profit schools, which have been signing up members of the services in record numbers.
So, the Pentagon has developed new rules to ensure that service members are treated fairly when they use government money to attend college. Those rules are set to go into effect Jan. 1, but many of the nation's best-known schools say they cannot accept those requirements.
The dispute puts at risk millions of dollars in federal assistance.
President Obama doesn't have to worry about winning the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. He's almost sure to be the only Democrat in the first-in-the-nation contest. Yet that hasn't stopped the Obama campaign from organizing its own effort to get out the vote.
While Republican candidates have been hogging the Iowa spotlight, a small army of Obama volunteers has been busy behind the scenes. They've opened eight campaign offices around the state, hosted dozens of house parties, and logged tens of thousands of telephone calls.
Former President French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty of misusing public funds while he was the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. Chirac will serve a two-year suspended sentence after a court found that he had architected a system in which political allies were handed municipals salaries for fake jobs. The scheme, said the court, cost Paris about $1.8 million.
Joe Simon, who together with illustrator Jack Kirby created the iconic Captain America comic book hero in 1940, has died.
According to The Associated Press, "Simon's family relayed word of his death Thursday, posting a short statement on Facebook and telling The Associated Press through a spokesman that the 98-year-old Simon died Wednesday night in New York City after a brief illness."
The founder of a venerable literary institution in Paris has died at 98. George Whitman founded the Shakespeare & Co bookstore, across from the Notre Dame cathedral. The shop was a magnet for English speakers in the French capital.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
And I'm Lynn Neary.
The Republican candidates gather for yet another debate tonight. This one is in Sioux City, Iowa. It's the last debate before the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. And it comes as Mitt Romney and other candidates try to stop the surge of Newt Gingrich. Romney and his allies have been launching a furious assault on the former House speaker.
They're just everywhere. That's how a wildlife manager describes the mass casualties of Eared Grebes that crash landed in southern Utah on Monday night. Some 1,500 grebes died, another 3,000 have been rescued. The small water birds were migrating and apparently mistook a Walmart parking lot, highways and football fields covered with snow for bodies of water.
The Republican House and Democratic Senate pushed their game of chicken closer to the precipice Thursday, with a government shutdown threat looming at midnight Friday. Both maneuvered to be able to blame the other — should things fall apart and the government actually runs out of money to operate. NPR's Andrea Seabrook joins Lynn Neary with the latest.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 12:46 pm
Google's co-founder Sergey Brin unleashed perhaps the most stinging criticism of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act that is working its way through Congress.
In a Google+ post, Brin said if the U.S. passed either SOPA, the House version of the bill, or the Protect IP Act, the Senate version, it would put the country in same league as China and Iran as far as Internet censorship is concerned. Brin said the bills were a "threat to free speech."
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:56 pm
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.
PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.
SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?
"'The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country," Putin said on a marathon TV show that lasted 4 1/2 hours. "It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position.'
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 10:29 am
The U.S. Justice Department says Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a national figure thanks to his tough treatment of inmates and his tough talk on immigration, engages in "a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law," NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:44 am
They can't sit down. They can't eat. And they have to keep ringing their bells.
The Salvation Army says 24 of its volunteers will be going for a record starting at noon ET when they see just how long they can keep ringing their bells as they stand by collection kettles in cities across the nation.
For the U.S. military around the world, the enemy can be hard to pinpoint and even harder to defeat. Back at home, the Army has a tiny and vexing foe in its sights: the bacteria that cause food to rot.
In this bacterial battle, though, it's clearer who's winning, and the evidence is a humble pocket sandwich, which looks from the outside no different than your average hot pocket in the frozen foods aisle.
Updated 1:30 p.m.: The National Institutes of Health accepts the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report on chimpanzee research, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement. "We will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place," he said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama in July, during the negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling and reducing future federal deficits. Americans say they want pragmatic leaders who will worth together.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has forced inmates to wear pink and live in tent cities, gaining him a reputation as <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88002493">America's toughest sheriff</a>.