President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark's Prime Minister, Helle Thorning Schmidt, during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa. First lady Michelle Obama is on the right.
You've probably seen the photos by now; they've certainly been circulated enough. They are pictures of three world leaders and one exceedingly grim-looking first lady taken at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.
At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?
STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.
House and Senate negotiators said late Thursday that they reached a budget deal. The agreement would restore some of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and includes some relatively small deficit reduction over the next two years. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hammered out the deal, which they characterized as a step in the right direction that would avoid another government shutdown in mid-January if both the House and Senate approve the budget.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:07 pm
Congressional negotiators announced Tuesday that they'd reached a budget proposal to restore about $65 billion worth of sequestration cuts in exchange for cuts elsewhere and additional fees.
If approved by both the House and Senate, the plan — hammered out by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington — would avoid another government shutdown on Jan. 15.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday evening, Ryan said the budget plan doesn't raise taxes and that it's a "step in the right direction."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at a November hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. A recent op-ed critical of Warren's brand of economic populism sparked an intraparty dispute among Democrats.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:09 pm
The fight over taxes, entitlements and income inequality has clearly been reignited in the Democratic Party, sparking questions about whether, and how hard, to push economic populism as the party approaches the 2014 midterm elections and beyond.
The latest flare-up came between centrist Democrats at the Third Way think tank and liberals who view Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as their champion.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., during a Dec. 4 break in negotiations on the farm bill. On Tuesday, Stabenow said the bill likely won't pass Congress until January.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:14 pm
House and Senate negotiators working to finish a farm bill say it is unlikely their work will be completed before the end of the year. The House is only in session for the rest of the week, and according to one of the negotiators, this week's snowy weather has delayed some numbers-crunching needed to figure out how much elements of a possible deal will cost.
"We're going to pass it in January," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., as she left a closed-door meeting to negotiate details of the five-year farm bill.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:36 pm
A former actress who sent ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pleaded guilty in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, as part of a deal to limit her sentence to no more than 18 years.
Shannon Guess Richardson, a mother of six from Texas, had minor roles in The Walking Dead and The Blind Side. She mailed three ricin-laced letters from New Boston, Texas, near Texarkana, and then contacted police to say that her estranged husband had done it.
All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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It's been a big week for General Motors and it's only Tuesday. Yesterday, the Treasury Department sold off its remaining shares in the auto giant. That ends one of the most tumultuous periods in company history. Now, GM turns a page with a new CEO, Mary Barra.
As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, she will become the first woman CEO of a major automaker.
This undated family photo provided by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office shows Shelby Fitzpatrick (left) and Chloe Glanton, two of the children who were found "alive and well" after an extensive search in northern Nevada.
Snow is also critical for another winter sporting event, though this one has yet to qualify as an Olympic sport, that's snowball fighting. In January, St. Paul, Minnesota, hopes to set a new Guinness world record for the largest snowball fight. Seattle holds the title set this past January with 5,834 throwers. Joe Alton, the event organizer, joins me from St. Paul to talk about his snowball ambitions. Mr. Alton, welcome to the program.
JOE ALTON: Thank you so much for having me, Melissa.
The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.
Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?
Not if you've had to drive through it.
So what is it?
Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.
Mandela was celebrated for bringing reconciliation to South Africa. That theme was embodied today in a handshake. At the service, President Obama greeted Cuba's president, Raul Castro. The U.S. and Cuba have not had formal diplomatic relations in more than 50 years and some are seeing this as a small step towards a new relationship. NPR's Ari Shapiro has that story.
French President Francois Hollande attended today's memorial service for Nelson Mandela. We're going to hear now about the next stop on his schedule. On his way home from South Africa, Hollande stopped in Central African Republic, or CAR. The former French colony has been descending into chaos since a coup in March. A French-backed African force is trying to re-establish order there, and two French soldiers were killed in fighting overnight. The U.S. is offering logistical support.
Tens of thousands of South Africans and dozens of world leaders and dignitaries came to a rainy soccer stadium in Soweto, South Africa today to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. President Obama took the stand to laud him as the last great liberator of the 20th century. People danced, sang and cheered to mark this occasion. NPR's Gregory Warner was in the bleachers and sent this report.
President Hasan Rouhani has presented a draft budget for the coming Iranian fiscal year, which begins in March. It stands in stark contrast to the rosy revenue estimates and big-spending budgets of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Economists say in real terms, accounting for Iran's still-high inflation rate, the Rouhani budget is a whopping 70 percent smaller on the spending side. And despite the optimistic talk from Iran's oil minister, the budget does not assume any significant rise in oil and gas revenues. Analysts say Rouhani's clear-eyed fiscal approach is a welcome change.
A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.
Democrats who control the Senate invoked the so-called "nuclear option" to make it easier for them to approve President Obama's nominations several weeks ago. On Tuesday, they put that option to use, ramming through approval for a new appeals court judge and unblocking the nomination of a new director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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Federal regulators today approved a tough new set of restrictions on the kinds of trading that banks can do. The so-called Volcker rule largely prohibits FDIC-protected banks from trading securities for their own financial gain. It's part of the Dodd-Frank overhaul passed three years ago.
For more on just how the Volcker rule will work and how it will be enforced, we're joined by Simon Johnson. He's professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and he's a member of the FDIC's systemic resolution advisory committee. Welcome to the program.
SIMON JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.
CORNISH: So let's talk more about proprietary trading. Give us some specific examples of this.
Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.
Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.
In Russia, organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics have called on dozens of shamans to pray for snow. But the centerpiece of the Olympic snow strategy is man-made: a massive system that features more than 550 snow-making machines.
Sochi, Russia, which is hosting the Olympics, is a resort town on the relatively warm Black Sea. There are beaches and palm trees. The Alpine events will be held on a mountain just 30 minutes away, where last February it was raining, not snowing.
A woman and her child are barred from a supermarket that was closing its doors to ration milk products in Caracas on Nov. 15. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected after the death of Hugo Chavez in March, is facing growing criticism over economic problems that include shortages of basic goods and inflation that's topped 50 percent this year.
Credit Miguel Gutierrez / EPA/Landov
Venezuelans line up outside a branch of an electronics store in Caracas on Nov. 11. President Maduro ordered electronics stores to lower their prices as a measure against inflation, causing masses of people to queue outside stores in hopes of grabbing bargains.