A Syrian rebel fighter is shown in the northeastern Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 11, several days after the rebels captured it. The rebel takeover has created friction with the town's Kurdish population.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:49 pm
When Syrian rebels seized the border post at Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 8, they celebrated the victory and went on to "liberate" the town, a place where both Arabs and Kurds live on Syria's northeast border with Turkey.
But the Kurdish inhabitants quickly saw their "liberation" as a disaster. Within days, dozens were dead in clashes between Kurdish militias and the rebels.
U.S. households owe a bit less than they did at the peak of the bubble. But they still owe a lot: $11.4 trillion, give or take a few billion. Mortgage and home-equity debt is still by far the biggest chunk of that debt.
Congress comes back to work this week and the fiscal cliff is its top priority. Some Republicans have said they'll break a longstanding pledge not to raise taxes. Host Michel Martin talks politics with columnist Mary Kate Cary of U.S. News and World Report and The Root's political correspondent Keli Goff.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 10:15 am
(We updated the top of this post at 11:50 a.m. and 12:15 p.m ET):
Moving quickly after the announcement that Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro is leaving on Dec. 14, the White House just said that President Obama has designated SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to be her replacement.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:19 am
Horrific is a word that quickly comes to mind about the news from Bangladesh concerning a fire Saturday in a garment factory where clothes were made for retailers around the world, including some in the U.S.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with sad news for Beliebers. Justin Bieber's video for "Baby" is no longer the most viewed video on YouTube. The new record-holder is "Gangnam Style" by the South Korean rapper PSY, which topped 820 million views this weekend. And then this happened. Yesterday, Mr. Bieber gave a halftime concert at Canadian football's championship game and his home country crowd booed. Bieber called out coolly: Thank you so much, Canada. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with an example of home field advantage. The Miami Dolphins hosted the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. And with 1:40 to play in the third quarter, something strange happened: The sprinklers came on. A quick play-by-play announcer joked: This is just Miami's way of showing a little Seattle hospitality. But if that's what it was, the hospitality only went so far. Miami defeated Seattle, 24-21. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
NPR News business news starts with a shopping bonanza.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: American shoppers turned out in record numbers over the holiday weekend. The National Retail Federation says that since Thursday some 247 million people - that would be most of us - visited brick and mortar stores and retail websites spending more than $59 billion - up 13 percent over last year. And now, with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday behind us, online retailers get to take center stage with Cyber Monday.
Ahmed Jama was running a successful Somali cafe in southwest London when he decided it was time to go home. Against the urgent advice of friends, he returned to Mogadishu three years ago and started cooking.
Jama epitomizes the spirit of rebirth in the city that has been brutalized by 21 years of civil war. As expatriates return to take their homeland back from warlords, terrorists and looters, Jama is doing his part to revive Mogadishu one prawn at a time.
Lots of good business ideas have emerged from kids' play. Seattle-area resident Will Chapman could thank his youngest son. At the age of 9, he wanted to know all he could about World War II and was using Lego toys to act out history. But his son was stymied — he couldn't find all the pieces he wanted.
Each year Lego turns out 19 billion plastic bricks, figures and gears for building things. But sometimes, it seems, even 19 billion isn't enough.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:50 pm
First, there was the post-Thanksgiving sales spectacle Black Friday and then the online version, Cyber Monday. Now, charitable groups want to start a new holiday tradition — it's called Giving Tuesday and the first one is tomorrow.
It may seem a little surprising that no one came up with the idea before of designating a specific day to help launch the holiday charitable giving season.
A Hare Krishna distributes food gifts from a chariot during a festival in London in 2011. The religious group began distributing books, flowers and gifts to strangers in the 1970s, drawing on the rule of reciprocation to raise money.
Credit Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images
In 1974, Phillip Kunz, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, wanted to see what would happen if he sent Christmas cards to people he didn't know.
Credit Courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University
In 1974, Phillip Kunz and his family got a record number of Christmas cards. In the weeks before Christmas they came daily, sometimes by the dozen. Kunz still has them in his home, collected in an old photo album.
"Dear Phil, Joyce and family," a typical card reads, "we received your holiday greeting with much joy and enthusiasm ... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's. Love Lou, Bev and the children."
When you think of mental illness, you don't often think of comics; but for cartoonist Ellen Forney, the two came crashing together just before her 30th birthday. That's when she found out she has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that finally explained her super-charged highs and debilitating lows.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week takes up the question of who qualifies as a supervisor when the issue is harassment in the workplace. The court's answer to that question could significantly restrict employer liability in racial and sexual harassment cases, or, in the view of some business organizations, it could result in frivolous litigation.
The facts of the particular case before the court Monday are, to say the least, in dispute.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has granted himself almost absolute power, but has not been able to win anything like unanimous approval. The new president faces criticism for a decree stating he can do anything he thinks will advance Egypt's revolution, and that courts cannot review his decisions. Egyptians have taken to the streets in protest. Markets have reacted badly, and the country's top judges are paying Morsi a visit today to discuss this turn of events.
Now let's catch up on a vote in Catalonia, Spain's most economically powerful region. That region gave overwhelming support to pro-independence parties in elections on Sunday. This election is seen as a threat to Spain's political and financial stability, so we're going to talk about this with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli. She is in the most famous city in Catalonia, Barcelona.
And, Sylvia, we did say that there were pro-independence parties. Who exactly won these elections?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
College football's wild season was not so wild this past weekend. There were no major shifts at the top of the BCS rankings as there were the week before. That's mainly because Notre Dame beat the University of Southern California on Saturday and maintained its number one ranking.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
This is the season when political professionals try to make sense of the last election. Plenty of Republicans have been calling for their party to take a new approach to immigration after the Hispanic vote went overwhelmingly to President Obama.
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 3:33 pm
This is the time of year when people all over the country are coming together and getting food to needy families, but for one community in Manchester, N.H., private acts of charity aren't just a holiday tradition — they are a display of anarchist and libertarian principles.
On a recent day, about 50 people gathered in a converted office space with $6,000 worth of food and a list of needy families. Mike Ruff, with help from a couple of kids, filled shopping bags with food for the hungry.
More than $174 million in donations has been raised for those affected in New York and New Jersey by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the Atlantic coast in late October.
"The more affluent and well-insured people will figure a way to recover their lives, but there are a lot of people in New York who really won't have that capacity and can't speak out for themselves," says Stacy Palmer, the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
After Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, Norman Kansfield's daughter asked him to perform her wedding ceremony.
Kansfield, a respected pastor, scholar and lifelong member of the Reformed Church in America, agreed to marry Ann and her long-time girlfriend. He informed the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he served as president, of his plans.
"I had thought that there would be a request for my resignation," Kansfield says. "Nobody did that."
William Styron was one of the flamboyant literary figures of the 20th Century. He was a Southerner whose novel Lie Down in Darkness received immense acclaim when he was just 26 years old. He would go on to write the Confessions of Nat Turner, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968.
But for the last 27 years of his life, Styron did not write a novel. He battled depression, and wrote a seminal work about it, Darkness Visible, in 1990.
The mortar and pestle can be found in kitchens around the world, including Thailand. In the United States, chef Tanasapamon Rohman uses the tool to grind up chili paste and pulverize rice at her Thai restaurant.
Chefs these days stock all sorts of high-tech tools, from liquid nitrogen to $500 blenders. But in kitchens throughout the world, there's one piece of technology that's been the same since the Stone Age: the mortar and pestle.