Each January, the first bluefin tuna auction at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market commands some of the highest prices of the year.
This year's auction got off to an especially extravagant start when a sushi chain owner paid 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, for one 593-pound bluefin tuna yesterday, according to wire service reports.
For the past several years, a group of friends has gathered every week in the living room of a suburban home in Logan, Utah, to sing long-forgotten songs. It's a fun way to spend the evening, but it's also therapy for a dear friend.
Until several years ago, Barre Toelken was a folklorist at Utah State University. He'd spent much of his life preserving sea shanties and other antique songs, but then he had a stroke and was forced to retire.
"I used to know 800 songs," Toelken says. "I had this stroke, and I had none of these songs left in my head. None of them were left."
In Tuesday's primary, many of those showing up to vote will not be registered as Republicans. In New Hampshire, voters unaffiliated with either party can vote in the primary.
So-called "undeclared" voters outnumber both Republicans and Democrats in the Granite State, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electorate. That makes New Hampshire's independent vote a tempting, but elusive target.
This is the season of the presidential super PACs: They flooded Iowa with attack ads and now they are looking ahead to primaries in South Carolina and Florida.
Super PACs (political action committees) can solicit big, corporate contributions — something candidates can't do. And, according to the law, super PACs are barred from coordinating their ads with the candidates they support. But it's not nearly that simple.
Hairy-chested yeti crabs, seven-armed sea stars, white octopuses — all these creatures were seen for the first time by researchers in the Antarctic. Robert Siegel talks to biologist Alex Rodgers of the University of Oxford, who led the expedition.
One of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers from World War II has died. Keith Little, who transmitted codes in important Pacific battles such as Iwo Jima and Saipan, died Tuesday at 87. He led the Navajo Code Talkers Association in recent years and fought to get recognition for the Code Talkers, who were ordered to keep their contribution to the war effort secret for decades after the war ended.
Syrian authorities say a suicide bomber killed more than two dozen people in Damascus Friday, just two weeks after a similar attack in the capital left more than 40 dead. Opposition activists are questioning the government account of the bombing.
The Justice Department is redefining the criminal definition of "rape" for the first time since the 1920s. It will now include same-sex assaults and a definition beyond actual intercourse. This will change the way local police departments report crime statistics.
The NFL kicks off an exciting weekend of games Saturday when it starts its playoffs. Meanwhile, there's big news in the sport that most of the rest of the world calls football. Fox television is making a major play to air more soccer games in this country, including an English Premier League game before the Super Bowl. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks with Robert Siegel about the news in both kinds of football.
A U.S. Navy ship has rescued the crew of an Iranian fishing vessel from pirates. The Iranians had apparently been held for weeks. The U.S. ship, part of the USS Stennis carrier battle group, took some 15 pirates prisoner. The Stennis is the same ship that Iran threatened just a few days ago as it transited out of the Persian Gulf. Robert Siegel talks to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman for the latest.
Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times. They discuss the jobs numbers, Obama's recess appointments and presidential campaign developments.
Moroccan rapper Mouad Belrhouat — commonly known as "El-Haqed," or "the sullen one" (shown here on an album cover) — has been jailed for four months and is awaiting trial in Casablanca. His supporters say his case shows the limits of recent, post-Arab Spring political reforms.
Credit Abdelhak Senna / AFP/Getty Images
Young protesters in Rabat, Morrocco, demand political and social changes along with Belrhouat's release, Sept. 11, 2011,
Morocco has been called one of the winners of the Arab Spring. The country's young king, Mohammed VI, offered a new constitution and early elections, taking the steam out of the February 20th protest movement.
But the arrest and trial of an artist who writes provocative rap songs shows that the reforms have a long way to go.
The rap songs of 24-year-old Moaud Belrhouat are popular in Morocco, even more so after the four months he has spent in jail.
We thought the World Wide Web was supposed to make information fly.
But now we have to question that notion.
It's taken a year and a half for us to hear that Pepsi is defending itself against a lawsuit claiming that a mouse was found in a can of Mountain Dew by saying that the furry little creature couldn't have been there because:
Open any children's book with a scene set downtown and you'll see a picture of basically the same row of shops. There's a bookstore, a pharmacy, a florist, a post office and a bank, and maybe a bakery where the kids can hope for a free cookie.
Nearly all those businesses are under threat from the Internet.
The Obama administration said it is proposing a change for the way some apply to become legal, permanent residents of the United States. The change would affect American citizens who are married to or have children who are in the country illegally.
The current rule mandates that in order to apply for legal status, a person must return to their country and wait there while the long process continues. The rule tweak would allow those family members to stay in the country while the application works its way through the bureaucracy.
When it comes to unemployment reports in an election year, it's not just the data — it's also the spin.
Friday's jobs report could be seen as good news — at 8.5 percent, it's the lowest in three years. Good news for President Obama? Not according to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who lost no time in pointing out that the number is still above 8 percent — the figure that the president said would be the worst case under his 2009 stimulus package.
This could be "the year of the gas-pocalypse" analysts tell the Los Angeles Times, "because gasoline prices are the highest ever for the start of the year, and they're on the rise, supercharged by expensive oil and changes in refinery operations."
Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:05 am
Of all the good news in the December unemployment report, perhaps the most encouraging sign for the 2012 labor market was the increase in construction jobs. That sector has lost more than 2 million jobs as the housing market imploded 5 years ago, but increases in construction hiring and spending could be cautious signs of a turnaround, analysts say.
Overall, employers created 200,000 jobs last month, sending the U.S. unemployment rate down to 8.5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
Reporter Liz Halloran and I have been motoring around New Hampshire the past few days, chasing candidate events and taking the political temperature of the state.
On the way to a Santorum event Thursday we spotted a small lake dotted with ice fishing shelters — the first we'd seen all week. Apparently, the ice only became thick enough in the last two weeks or so.
The Labor Department announced Friday that 200,000 jobs were created in December, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent. The new hiring came largely in transportation and warehousing. Tens of thousands of other people found jobs in retail and manufacturing.