The economy shrunk in the fourth quarter — for the first time in three years — and one of the critical reasons was a drop in defense spending. Apparently, contractors took precautionary steps and held onto money in case the federal government failed to avert the fiscal and tax crisis known as the fiscal cliff.
But there's now a new deadline — automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which may hit at the beginning of March.
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls delivers cartons of petitions to the Boys Scouts of America national board meeting in Orlando, Fla., last May, calling for an end to anti-gay discriminatory practices. Helping to carry the cartons are Mark Anthony Dingbaum and Christine Irvine of Change.org.
Years of criticism and even a U.S. Supreme Court challenge couldn't force the Boy Scouts of America to admit openly gay members and leaders. But money talks, and after the defections of major donors, the 103-year-old organization is poised to lift its national ban.
Just last summer, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the ban after a lengthy internal review. Several incidents since then have tarnished the organization's image and fueled an aggressive nationwide protest led by an Eagle Scout.
Secretary Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who came into office with high hopes. He was selected to help the president pursue his green energy agenda and fight climate change. It turned out to be a rocky road. Some of the green companies that got big government loans, like Solyndra, ended up going bankrupt, and the president had to drop his plans to get Congress to adopt climate change legislation. Still Chu helped the country make progress in becoming more energy efficient.
The Los Angeles Archbishop, Jose Gomez, has removed retired Cardinal Roger Mahony in the wake of revelations about how the Cardinal handled priest sex abuse cases. Mahony will be relieved of his remaining public duties.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
We're going to take a look now at some economic indicators, and here's one number to start, 14,000. Today, the Dow closed above 14,000 for the first time since 2007. It seems the market liked what it saw in this morning's report from the Labor Department. Employers added 157,000 jobs last month, another example of slow but steady growth in the job market.