International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Sunday singled out the U.S. Congress for failing to avert across-the-board spending cuts that slow down potential for growth. She called U.S. deficit reduction in 2013 excessively rapid and ill-designed.
The documentary Gasland inspired legions of "fracktivists" to oppose natural gas drilling booms across the country. Now the film has a sequel. Gasland Part II by director Josh Fox begins airing on HBO Monday night.
Rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans, which help low and middle-income college students, doubled on July 1. There is now pressure for a deal to undo the increase. NPR's David Greene talks to Matthew Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
U.S. and EU officials begin talks Monday on an ambitious free-trade agreement aimed at generating billions of dollars of new trade. But negotiators must overcome barriers created by cultural and philosophical differences over sectors like agriculture. In Europe, the cultivation of genetically modified crops is banned, while in the U.S., they are a central part of food production. NPR's Jackie Northam visited a farm in Delaware and NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited one in Burgundy, France, to look at those deep-seated differences. We hear from Jackie first.
Wildfires have already destroyed hundreds of homes in the American West this year. The insurance industry is once again poised to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to cover those losses, as it already has for homeowners who lost their houses during last year's fire season.
Defense manufacturers worldwide are facing tough times ahead, as tight budgets force Western governments to cut spending. But while the West is cutting back, developing countries around the world are spending more on defense — a lot more.
Last fall, defense contractors warned of massive layoffs if the U.S. government enacted the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Now, sequestration is in effect, but job losses are limited, in part because many Pentagon contracts were already in place and will keep assembly lines rolling for much of this year.
Gun stores around the country have had difficulty keeping up with demand for ammunition in recent months. Fears of government tightening of gun and ammunition controls have meant that retailers, from Wal-Mart to mom-and-pop gun shops, haven't been able to keep bullets on the shelves.
Cliff Poser's gun shop, Cliff's Guns, Safes and Reloading in Boise, Idaho, is one of them. Business has been so crazy lately that he has to keep a special stash of ammunition, just so customers who buy guns from him can also buy bullets.
The latest employment report is encouraging to many economists because the stronger job growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip. But some worry that it's so strong the Federal Reserve may pull back efforts to boost the economy.
The Labor Department's newest data released Friday shows the U.S. added 195,000 jobs in June. The prior two months were also revised upward — above 190,000 for both April and May.
Say you're in Midtown Manhattan at rush hour. You need to go a mile uptown, and you can't find a cab. A pedicab, a taxi-bicycle hybrid (like the one in the picture) may not be a bad option.
Riding through the middle of Manhattan on the back of a bike, dodging buses and cabs, feels like the Wild West of transportation options. The pricing feels that way too: Unlike buses or cabs, pedicabs don't charge a set fee. It's whatever the rider and the driver agree to. And, like in the Wild West, innocents often get fleeced.
The overwhelming and endless stream of electronic alerts and messages on our computers, phones and tablets is driving demand for a new kind of summer camp for adults. "Technology-free" camps that force their campers to surrender their gadgets, wallets and that nagging "fear of missing out" — FOMO — are booking up fast.
Former girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, who dated Jagger before he was a superstar, sold the hair. It went for about $6,000, which is more than four times what someone once paid for Rolling Stone bandmate Keith Richard's hair.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and its two largest unions have reached an agreement — sort of. The unions are ending the five-day strike that halted commuter-rail service throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. BART and the unions agreed to extend their contracts for a month while negotiations continue.
For at least a millennium, the heart of Britain's commercial and financial industries has been the City of London.
The City is not the large metropolis we know as London. It's much older and smaller. Many call it the Square Mile, though it's not square and a bit bigger than a mile. It's the home to big banks, medieval alleyways and St. Paul's Cathedral. And, for all those centuries, the area has had the same local government with an unusual name: The City of London Corporation.
Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?
Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.
And the Federal Communications Commission has apparently approved a deal giving the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank a controlling stake in SprintNextel, which is the third-largest wireless operator in the U.S. Experts say SoftBank's industry clout should help Sprint become a more robust competitor. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
Some people feel awkward about eating alone in restaurants but a new eatery in Amsterdam has only small tables with single chairs. It requires customers come solo. The restaurant is part culinary endeavor, part social experiment. As its creator says, she wanted to give people "food for thought."
And a remembrance, now. The, a computer visionary best known for inventing the mouse has died. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, the mouse was just one small piece of what Douglas Engelbart contributed to the development of personal computers.
The Obama administration's decision late Tuesday to postpone the requirement for employers with 50 or more workers to offer health coverage or risk fines has satisfied some key members of the coalition that supported the law.
But the one-year reprieve also raises new questions about the administration's ability to get the huge health law up and running in an orderly fashion. The deadline for the new health exchanges to begin enrolling individuals is Oct. 1.
The next couple of days will bring fireworks, hot dogs — and a new unemployment report.
At least the first two will be fun.
As for Friday's job-market assessment, the Labor Department report likely will show little or no change in the 7.6 percent unemployment rate. "There is still a general weakness in the labor market," says Daniel North, economist with Euler Hermes, a credit insurance company.
In Chinatowns around the country — in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York — a peculiar financial scam is targeting elderly Chinese women.
This so-called "blessing scam" isn't much of a blessing. By asking lots of personal questions, the scammers convince their targets that they face terrible tragedy that they can only avoid if they place their valuables in a bag — and then pray over it. Usually, the victims place their jewelry and money in a bag that the thieves swap out for an identical one. And then the thieves tell the women not to open the bag for days.