Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 5:04 pm
Five years ago, BP's out-of-control oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Eleven workers were killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig. But it was more than a deadly accident — the blast unleashed the nation's worst offshore environmental catastrophe.
In the spring and summer of 2010, oil gushed from the Macondo well for nearly three months. More than 3 million barrels of Louisiana light crude fouled beaches and wetlands from Texas to Florida, affecting wildlife and livelihoods.
Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 4:33 pm
It's been 20 years since a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.
As Oklahoma City prepares to look back on the bombing, one thing is clear — downtown is a far different and much better place than it was in 1995. And it's hard to deny the role the bombing played in the area's resurgence.
Even on a weekday, visitors line up in downtown Oklahoma City to take a tour of the area.
In the music world, today is all about bricks and mortar. It's the annual Record Store Day, when music fans are urged to get out to support their local shop.
From new releases to vintage finds, people have been posting photos of beloved albums and record stores Saturday.
Music companies are putting out dozens of limited-edition releases for the occasion. One example: Johnny Marr doing a live version of his old band The Smiths' song "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want."
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 10:27 pm
Hillary Clinton made a surprising move this week. It wasn't running for president — she'd already set the stage for that — but embracing the idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money in politics.
The notion of amending the Constitution this way has been discussed, literally for decades. But Clinton is joining a new, if small, chorus of prominent politicians who are talking it up.
Saturday is Record Store Day, when independent music retailers around the country host parking-lot concerts and sell limited-edition pressings of vinyl records, which have made a small but forceful comeback in an age dominated by digital listening habits. But if there's one problem with the vinyl resurgence, it might be this: The machines that press vinyl records are decades old, and no one's building new ones, so keeping up with increased demand is hard.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 3:51 pm
It has been a decade in the making, but when completed, it will be a free trade agreement to beat all others — representing 40 percent of the world's economy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, agreement would bring together the economies of the U.S., Japan, Australia and nine other Pacific Rim nations, allowing the free trade of everything from agriculture to automobiles and textiles to pharmaceuticals.
President Obama said Friday that the deal is critical for the U.S. market.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 2:26 pm
After 53 years, Don Francisco will finally put down the mic. Univision says it will stop making the legendarily unpredictable variety show Sábado Gigante in September, ending a run that began in 1962 when Chile's Mario Kreutzberger started entertaining viewers as Don Francisco.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 9:03 am
Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET
If there's one piece of hardware that can be found on nearly every trader's desk, regardless of time zone, it's the Bloomberg data terminal.
So when the terminals experienced a global outage lasting hours, it sent chaos through markets where the "screens" are relied upon to analyze and interpret financial data — and to exchange market gossip with traders around the world.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:35 am
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
How are you feeling seems like the kind of question you might get from a psychiatrist, not an economist. Then again, Stacey Vanek Smith, from NPR's Planet Money team, reminds us about one vitally important economic indicator.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 6:17 am
The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.
The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:58 am
Life has suddenly gotten easier for the sardine. Federal regulators are not only closing the commercial sardine fishing season early in Oregon, Washington and California, but it will stay closed for more than a year.
The decision to shut down the sardine harvest is an effort to build up depleted stocks of the small, oily fish. The conservation group, Oceana, says that sardine populations have crashed more than 90 percent since 2007.
Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 6:01 am
You may not know it but most of today's smartphones have FM radios inside of them. But the FM chip is not activated on two-thirds of devices. That's because mobile makers have the FM capability switched off.
The National Association of Broadcasters has been asking mobile makers to change this. But the mobile industry, which profits from selling data to smartphone users, says that with the consumer's move toward mobile streaming apps, the demand for radio simply isn't there.
Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 6:29 pm
The Los Angeles Unified School District is demanding that Apple Inc. refund millions of dollars for Pearson software that had been loaded onto iPads for the district's 650,000 students.
If an agreement on the dispute cannot be reached, the nation's second-largest school district could take Apple to court.
Two years after the district launched the most expansive school technology initiative in the country, its attorney said it is "extremely dissatisfied" with the work of Pearson, the publisher of the Common Core learning software.
Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 10:54 pm
China says 57 countries have signed on as charter members of the new China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They include some of the United States' closest allies, which added their names despite pressure from the White House not to join.
The Obama administration is concerned the new bank will compete with Western-led institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but leaders of those institutions don't seem to be worried.
Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 10:17 am
In drought-stricken California, golf is often seen as a bad guy — it can be hard to defend watering acres of grass for fun when residents are being ordered to cut their usage and farmers are draining their wells.
But golf is a $6 billion industry in the state and employs nearly 130,000 workers, according to the California Golf Course Owners Association. So while the greens are staying green, some golf courses are saving every drop of water they can.
Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 10:17 am
You may have heard by now that it takes one gallon of water to produce just one almond. And those are considered fighting words in drought-stricken California, which produces 80 percent of the world's supply of the tasty and nutritious nut.
So when almond grower Daniel Bays hears that, he just shakes his head.
Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 4:13 pm
The U.S. will reach a new balance in energy trade "sometime between 2020 and 2030," says the Energy Information Administration, which predicts the U.S. could become a net energy exporter in the near future.
The federal agency's prediction cites a rise in domestic natural gas production and changes in energy demands. If it happens, the shift would end a streak of more than 50 years in which the U.S. has been a net importer of energy.