<p>This steel plant in Weirton, W.Va., was idled in 2009. The United Steelworkers union worries that a trade deal signed this week could result in more jobs lost.</p>
Credit Rick Gershon / Getty Images
<p>Chevy Volt electric vehicles and Opel Amperas go through assembly at General Motors' Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant on Tuesday. In contrast to the steelworkers, the auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea.</p>
President Obama had a rare bipartisan economic success this week when Congress passed three trade deals.
Obama is going to Detroit on Friday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to take a victory lap. But some important parts of Obama's base are not fans of these deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — which could have political consequences for the president.
Friday's event is at a General Motors plant. The auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea, so they're sure to give the world leaders a warm welcome.
Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.
Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.
Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.
<p>Bank of America's headquarters towers over the city center in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte has long been one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, but now nearly one in 10 residents is out of work.</p>
Charlotte, N.C., is perhaps best known as the home of Bank of America, the country's largest financial institution. So now, with Bank of America struggling to revive its stock price, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and widely criticized for charging customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, what's the mood in Charlotte?
<p>Syrians walk in the Hamidiyah market, decorated with portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian flags, in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 5, 2011. The European Union has intensified economic sanctions against Syria, but the crackdown against anti-regime protesters is unlikely to stop, Syrians say.</p>
Credit Bassem Tellawi / AP
<p>In this photo taken during a government-organized visit for media, Syrian army soldiers shout slogans in support of Assad as they enter a village near the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Syria, June 10, 2011. Ongoing military operations to crush anti-government protest is draining money from the national budget.</p>
Every Syrian is feeling the economic pain of a seven month uprising and western sanctions to end a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.
But shopkeepers tell a different story along a street of open-air shops in the Midan neighborhood in central Damascus. A government escort accompanies an NPR reporter for interviews about the sensitive subject of tightening economic sanctions against Syria.
Hassan Shagharouri runs a sweets shop. When asked if prices are rising, he responds that the prices are the same and that everything is perfect.
A Gallup poll released today found support for the death penalty in the United States is at a 39-year low. As Gallup reports, "this is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia."
<p>Volunteer Dean Ford prepares bags of food to be distributed at the First Baptist Spartanburg's food pantry program. </p>
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
<p> The Occupy Wall Street protests spread Thursday to Spartanburg, S.C. About 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!" </p>
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
<p>Rosa Sherbert, 68, worked in textiles for about 30 years. Now she's studying to take the GED exam.</p>
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.
One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.
On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"
<p>Protesters with Occupy Wall Street march along New York's 5th Avenue, where prominent heads of major business and financial institutions live, on Tuesday. The movement has expanded, along with media coverage.</p>
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
<p>Police arrest two Occupy Wall Street demonstrators after they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1. Media coverage spiked after the incident.</p>
An Australian court issued a temporary injunction that bars Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the country. The judgement is a big win for Apple, which has filed lawsuits worldwide alleging that Samsung had copied its iPhone and iPad.
The Australian court ruled Samsung could not sell its device if included certain features such as a touch-screen.
Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 4:31 pm
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has surged to the top of some national presidential preference polls, told NPR's Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday, that his fundraising has increased 20-fold in the past few weeks, and he is hiring more, much-needed staff.
In fact, he told Scott in an interview Thursday that will air on NPR Saturday, that he just "brought on an entire team" of about 10 new people to help his campaign ramp up.
On Capitol Hill, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been very quiet. Also known as the supercommittee, it was created by Congress this summer and is tasked with finding at least 1.2 trillion dollars in cuts over the coming decade. But, so far, its members are keeping their ideas for doing that on the down-low — and that may be a good sign.
It's been weeks since the committee had an open hearing. In fact, it's only had three meetings total — the first of which was to set up its rules.
The latest edition of the federal government's annual reviews of private Medicare health plans came out Wednesday, just in time to help seniors choose plans during this year's open enrollment period that starts Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.
One rival said he thought it was "the price of a pizza" (Jon Huntsman's quip). Another said you need to turn it upside down because "the devil's in the details" (Rep. Michele Bachmann's 6-6-6 reference).
<p>Thousands of anti-government protesters in Yemen demonstrate against President Ali Abdullah Saleh last month. Saudi Arabia wants Saleh to step down, but also worries that his departure could lead to chaos.</p>
Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein is leaving his hometown team to take the reins of the Chicago Cubs. He departs after a disastrous season, but he will be remembered for making history. The youngest ever general manager in major league baseball designed the teams that won two World Series, Boston's first since 1918. Now he'll try to make Wrigley's loveable losers into champions.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Next week, Israel and Hamas are expected to swap more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners for one captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. It will likely happen on Egyptian soil. Egypt helped broker the deal and had been working on it for the past couple of years. There were occasional reports of progress that didn't pan out.
So, how was it that success came through the new Egyptian military regime, which replaced Israel's old ally, Hosni Mubarak? And at a time when Israeli-Egyptian relations are worse than they've been in decades.
Robert Siegel speaks with Lucia Virostkova, a Slovak journalist based in Bratislava. She blogs for the EUobserver.com. She describes how the Slovakian parliamentary vote to join the eurozone bailout of banks brought the Slovakian government down — and caused the 2014 elections be moved to March.
After a major service outage this week, Research In Motion, or RIM, the company that makes Blackberries, faces major problems. The outage, which left millions of customers all over the world without service for up to three days, comes on the heels of a tablet flop and an embarrassing role in this summer's U.K. riots. Guy Raz talks with Chip Cummins of the Wall Street Journal about the future of the company.
Thursday is opening night for Katori Hall's Olivier Award-winning play about Martin Luther King Jr. and his encounter with a chamber maid in Memphis the night before his assassination. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, The Mountaintop is probably the most anticipated play of the fall season.
<p>Anti-Gadhafi fighters point their guns at a carpet depicting Moammar Gadhafi after taking the village of Abu Hadi, the deposed Libyan leader's birthplace, on Oct. 3. Regime loyalists who fled to the village find themselves grappling with the realities of a new nation.</p>
Many civilians have fled the fighting in the besieged Libyan city of Sirte in recent days and have ended up in a nearby village, which has one distinction: It's where deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was born. But Sirte residents are not the only ones finding shelter there.
Michael Gill is the proud owner of a bicycle. It's not new, and it's not flashy — in fact, right now, it's just a frame. But it's tied to Gill's past, when he rode the Peugeot bike for thousands of miles in the 1980s. That's when he had to part with the elite machine — until last month, when he found it again.
Back in the early 1980s, Gill trained on the Peugeot PX-10 and rode it in races. He calls it "my first serious racing bike." On it, he covered an average of 200-300 miles each week.
<p>A truck stop near Hesperia, Calif. To address a shortage of truck drivers resulting from a mismatch of skills in the labor market, some trucking companies have started free driving schools with the promise of a job upon completion.</p>
The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department reported Thursday that 404,000 more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, a number that's essentially unchanged from the week before.
Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S., but at the same time there are still job openings around the country.
<p>Some of the computers controlling America's fleet of drone aircraft are reportedly infected by a persistent virus. In this file photo, a senior airman remotely operates an MQ-9 Reaper during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev.</p>
Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 12:06 pm
In a story today, the Associated Press talks to an anonymous Air Force official, who said the virus that attacked the Pentagon's drone program last month was common malware and wasn't designed to specifically infect the aircraft.
Food fresh from the farm is undeniably appealing. Raw milk enthusiasts take it one step further: They like their milk fresh from the cow — skipping pasteurization.
But it's illegal to sell raw milk in stores in most U.S. states, and fans have been known to go to great lengths to buy dairy in its purest form. Last year, we told you about one Maryland mom who regularly drives almost two hours to a farm in Pennsylvania to buy unpasteurized milk for her family — paying $5 to $7 per gallon.