The White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect.
As NPR and others cover the story, we'll try to to point to interesting reports and analyses. Here are three of the latest.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:25 am
Protesters have streamed into Cairo's Tahrir Square again today, correspondent Merrit Kennedy tells our Newscast Desk.
She says they're there both to demonstrate again against President Mohammed Morsi's decree giving himself sweeping new powers and to express concern about a draft constitution passed early today by Egypt's constitutional assembly.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The holidays bring out the spirit of giving and giving back what you've pilfered. Recently, we told you about a 1930s teapot returned to the Waldorf Astoria. This morning: a tale of toilet paper. Eastern New Mexico University received a gift box filled with 80 rolls of toilet paper and a Christmas card apologizing for stealing rolls from a dorm years ago. Another inspiring holiday moment, or another TP prank? It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
"No substantive progress has been made." That's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say Thursday about efforts to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at year's end.
The administration's lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, met with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle Thursday, looking for an agreement on the hazard Congress and the White House created last year to focus their minds on deficit reduction.
Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe, and four other Native Americans led a class-action land use lawsuit against the U.S. government. Cobell is shown here in 2009 with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after an announcement on the settlement of the lawsuit. Cobell died last year.
Federal officials are working to send out $1,000 checks in the next few weeks to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. The money stems from a settlement of the Cobell case, a landmark $3.4 billion settlement over mismanagement of federal lands held in trust for Native American people.
The case was brought by Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe, and four other Native Americans in 1996.
<strong>Can You Tell Emotion From Faces Alone?</strong> A new study suggests that when people evaluated just facial expressions — without cues from the rest of the body — they couldn't tell if the face was showing a positive or negative emotion. <strong>Enlarge this photo to see the answers.</strong>
Credit Hillel Aviezer / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Photos of athletes in their moment of victory or defeat usually show faces contorted with intense emotion. But a new study suggests that people actually don't use those kinds of extreme facial expressions to judge how a person is feeling.
Instead, surprisingly, people rely on body cues.
Hillel Aviezer, a psychology researcher at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, wanted to see how accurately people can read intense, real-world facial expressions — instead of the standardized, posed images of facial expressions that are usually used in lab tests.
Back in 1984, Congress gave authorities the power to let people out of federal prison early, in extraordinary circumstances, like if inmates were gravely ill or dying. But a new report says the Federal Bureau of Prisons blocks all but a few inmates from taking advantage of "compassionate release."
Renee Montagne talks with Rep. Raul Labrador, Republican from Idaho and one of the congressmen who introduced the bill that's set for a vote Friday. The STEM Jobs Act allows people who are in the U.S. legally who are getting advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to stay and get their green cards, he says.
And in Egypt, a panel of Islamist lawmakers has approved a new draft constitution, but what should have been a welcome step in the country's transition to democracy is instead mired in controversy. NPR's Leila Fadel has our story from Cairo.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT MOHAMMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to make it a little harder for police to read your old emails. It's something privacy groups and tech companies have wanted for years. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, law enforcement groups are less pleased.
And a very different emotion on the West Bank, where Palestinians are reveling today in their new status as a non-member observer state in the United Nations. What that change means depends on who's talking. NPR's Philip Reeves was in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as the vote was announced.
For a second day, the Syrian capital, Damascus is cut off from the outside world, with the international airport shut, the Internet down and mobile phone lines working sporadically. There are reports of fierce clashes around the capital and heavy airstrikes in the capital's suburbs and in the northern city of Aleppo.
Fast-food workers staged protests Thursday at restaurants in New York. The workers said their low wages need to be raised. But with the economy still slow, restaurant managers are determined to hold down labor costs so they can offer dollar foods.
The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.
For more than 20 years, the Rev. Eric Williams has educated people about AIDS and helped those who suffer from the disease. But the focus of Williams' ministry isn't something he could have predicted back in 1991.
In those days, Williams was a young pastor who had only recently taken charge of his own church — Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. He had been ordained in 1988.
A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.
The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.
This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.
Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.
The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
There's a greenhouse boom around the country, thanks in part to the "buy local" movement. Paul Mock grows tomatoes, herbs and other veggies year-round in his Berkeley Springs, W.Va., greenhouse and sells to groceries and restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
"This is unprecedented, the level of opportunity," says Mock, whose business is booming.
It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.
But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.
Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.
So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."
Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:46 pm
Yes, he talked about the negotiations over taxes and spending cuts. Yes, it was a holiday photo op. But what really struck us about Vice President Joe Biden's this morning to Washington, D.C.'s first Costco store was how, once again, he just seems to have so much fun.