The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?
Almaz Acha sits with her baby Alentse at her home in the rural community of Sadoye, in southern Ethiopia. Families in rural communities, like this one, have benefited from Ethiopia's health extension program.
Credit Julien Behal / PA Photos /Landov
Community health worker Foos Muhumed Gudaal treats kids for malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea at her post in the village of Walgo Yar, Ethiopia.
Poor countries are starting to realize something that richer ones sometimes forget: Basic, inexpensive measures can have dramatic impacts on the health of a country. And they can save thousands of lives.
Take, for instance, the situation in Ethiopia.
The country used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Happy new year. Today marks the first day that millions of Americans will be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In a moment, we'll get the latest on the debate around one requirement of the law that most employers provide contraceptive coverage.
But first, some big change went into effect today. To run through them, here's reporter Sarah Varney.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Happy New Year.
We begin this hour with big change in New York City. As of today, it has a new mayor, its 109th. Bill de Blasio is the first Democrat at the helm of city hall in two decades. At his inauguration, de Blasio talked up his progressive agenda.
From member station WNYC, Brigid Bergin reports on the beginning of this new era in New York City government.
Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter. But Brazilian law is still in flux, and legislation is only just being created to deal with the rise of social media.
The use of social media is exploding in Brazil. It's the third largest market for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter.
The controversial women-only app Lulu recently launched here and quickly became the top downloaded app in the country, making Brazil Lulu's biggest market.
"I think it is cool because it's a social network for what all women throughout history have always done — talk about the guys we like, the guys we think are handsome," says 20-year-old Marcela, as she taps away at the Lulu app on her iPhone.
A November demonstration against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Designated Secrets Bill drew thousands of protesters. The Japanese Parliament has since passed the law, under which people convicted of leaking classified information will face five to 10 years in prison.
Credit Franck Robichon / European Pressphoto Agency/Landov
Students at the Oakland Military Institute took several courses offered by San Jose State and the online course provider Udacity this year. The university is now scaling back its relationship with Udacity.
One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.
In theory, students saddled by rising debt and unable to tap into the best schools would be able to take free classes from rock star professors at elite schools via Udacity, edX, Coursera and other MOOC platforms.
It's the last night of the year, a big night for party-hopping and, of course, some bubbly. And that also means it's the biggest night of the year for cab companies. The surge in demand starts right after the clock strikes 12 and quickly outstrips supply. That mismatch can send prices soaring, depending on who's doing the driving. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports several ride services have come up with some solutions to try to manage the crunch.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Both sides in the conflict in South Sudan agreed to meet tomorrow in Ethiopia to discuss a cease-fire. It's hoped that a speedy end to the power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ousted deputy Riek Machar can avert an all-out ethnic civil war. But even as both sides prepare to negotiate, a fierce battle was underway for control of the strategic city of Bor. NPR's Gregory Warner reports.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Residents of Casselton, North Dakota are starting to return to their homes. That's after yesterday's fiery crash of two freight trains, one carrying crude oil. From Fargo, Prairie Public's Todd McDonald reports.
Twitter made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in November. Both the social media giant and the relative newcomer Snapchat are valued in the billions, but neither company has yet turned a profit.
Zero. That's the total amount of revenue created by Snapchat in 2013. It's the total profit collected by Twitter. And it's roughly how much Apple's stock price has increased between early last December and now.
Which makes you wonder: With all these zeros piling up, how are so many people in Silicon Valley making so much money from technology?
This is one of the best times of the year to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California as they migrate south for the winter. But recently, there have been an unusually high number of sightings of other whales.
"We've had so many whales," Dan "The Whale Man" Salas tells the guests on his boat. "This is all in the last two weeks. We've had orcas, we had a sperm whale, we've got humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales. Yesterday we had a massive pod of gray whales, so we never know what we're going to see out here."
Every year, research firm CB Insights offers up a report on the fastest growing and most highly valued private companies in technology — basically, the ones most likely to go public. Audie Cornish speaks with Anand Sanwal, CB Insights' CEO, for a look at the top tech IPO's expected in 2014.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:58 pm
In a 7,000-word investigative report published by The New York Times on Sunday, David Kirkpatrick revisits last year's assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Kirkpatrick finds that — contrary to much commentary from mostly Republican members of Congress — al-Qaida was not involved. He joins Robert Siegel to talk about his reporting and the backlash against his conclusions.
In a Philadelphia courtroom today, a judge agreed to release a Catholic Church official who's serving prison time for his handling of sexual abuse claims. Last week, a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned Monsignor William Lynn's 2012 conviction. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
George Mitchell, the "father of hydraulic fracturing," passed away earlier this year. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold about Mitchell's invention and his somewhat progressive environmental views.
This year was lauded by many news outlets as an incredible year for black films. CNN heralded "Hollywood's African-American Renaissance;" The New York Times called 2013 a "a breakout year for black films." Shani Hilton, deputy editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, talks to NPR's Arun Rath about why she think those assertions are overstated.
From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
This year saw a major development in a story that NPR has been following since 2011. That's when a group of homeless disabled veterans filed a lawsuit seeking housing on a sprawling campus of the VA health care facility in West Los Angeles. The VA had taken no action on plans for housing homeless vets there. But NPR's Ina Jaffe found the department had made tens of millions of dollars renting out parts of the property to enterprises that had nothing to do with veterans. Hi, Ina.
We're going to check in now with the city of Moore, Oklahoma. Back in May, it was devastated by a mile-wide F5 tornado with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. The day after the storm, Mayor Glenn Lewis told MORNING EDITION that rescue crews were still searching for survivors.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
MAYOR GLENN LEWIS: We're still looking for, you know, hopefully that one extra person that we missed that we're going to find. We're very optimistic about that. We did have quite a bit of loss of life.
South Sudanese seek refuge at the United Nations compound in the capital, Juba, on Sunday. Though Juba is mostly peaceful now, growing numbers are seeking shelter at the compound in fear the ethnic killings will resume.
Credit Tony Karumba / AFP/Getty Images
South Sudan soldiers ride on a truck in Bor, about 100 miles outside the capital, on Wednesday.
The president of South Sudan spent Friday in a peace summit with regional heads of state, discussing the crisis that erupted last weekend after an alleged coup attempt. At the same time, the government warned of a shadowy rebel army, covered with white ash, marching through the jungle to re-attack the northern city of Bor.
It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.
The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.
North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than it can be shipped to refineries.
Rail car manufacturers can't make new tank cars fast enough, and new pipeline proposals face long delays over environmental concerns. So energy companies are looking for new ways to get the heavy crude to market.
One proposed solution is to ship the oil by barge over the Great Lakes — but it's a controversial one.
Utah's surprise decision to legalize same-sex marriage caps a landmark year for gay rights. The last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures, to Congress, to the Supreme Court.
When President Obama announced his BRAIN Initiative in April, he promised to give scientists "the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action."
An early version of one of those tools already exists, scientists say. It's a relatively new set of techniques called optogenetics that allows researchers to control the activity of brain cells using light.