You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea.
The holiday season will come to an abrupt end this weekend for people who have been unemployed for more than six months. Saturday, benefits expire for 1.3 million Americans who've been on the Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefit Program, which picks up where state systems usually end. That has people worried, people like Allison Gwyn(ph), a professional music teacher and actor in New York, who lost her job early in the summer.
It's been a long year since Republicans vowed to rebrand their party as friendlier to women, minorities and younger voters. Even if its longer term problems remain, the party finds itself in surprisingly good shape going into the 2014 midterms.
Two decades after NAFTA created a giant North American free trade zone, the U.S. is negotiating more big trade deals that would span the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Obama has embraced the potential agreements as a way to improve the U.S. economy.
A third of the NBA season is complete and the Portland Trailblazers are on a surprising run. Last night they beat the L. A. Clippers 116 - 112 in overtime. Portland has the league's best record - 24 wins, five losses. Now the tepid pre-season forecasts are turning into talk of how far the Blazers can go in the post-season. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
The recent data security breach at Target got us thinking about the plastic cards we use to pay for so many things. Just how safe are they really? And how can we protect ourselves from fraudulent charges?
To get some advice, our colleague, David Greene, called Chi Chi Wu of the National Consumer Law Center, which recently put out an advisory to consumers.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
So every time we use a credit card or debit card when we're shopping are we opening ourselves up to some kind of risk?
In these last days of the year, we're airing conversations about the future. Today, we turn to David Kilcullen, who imagines future wars in his book, "Out of the Mountains." Kilcullen served in the Australian Army then went on to advise U.S. General David Patraeus in Iraq. Kilcullen told my colleague Steve Inskeep that warfare is chanting in three ways. First, it's becoming more urban. Second, technology is changing warfare; he notes how quickly news spread of Moammar Gadhafi's death in Libya in 2011.
Following the popularity of companies like Airbnb, which rent out a client's house or apartment to people visiting the area, more companies are trying the idea with cars. Companies like Uber help find someone to drive you around like a taxi. Another will let you rent out your car like a Zipcar while you're at work.
As a middle-school student in the 1980s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might become a neurosurgeon someday.