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Here's a way to look at the year 2013 for President Barack Obama: He began the year with two-thirds of Americas saying they approved of the job he was doing. He's ending the year with that number around 40 percent.
He began fresh off a hard-fought electoral victory, going into his second term with a pretty ambitious agenda. He's ending the year with many of his priorities stalled.
You might think underwear maker Hanes would be worried about competition from Jockey or Fruit of the Loom. In fact, Hanes seems far more concerned about being confused with chickpea dip. The American manufacturer has threatened to sue a Canadian company, Hanes Hummus, for trademark violation.
For Matthew and Brianne Wojtesta, it all started about a week after the birth of their daughter Vera. Matthew was picking up his son from kindergarten when he got a phone call.
It was their pediatrician, with some shocking news. Vera had been flagged by New York's newborn screening program as possibly having a potentially deadly disease, and would need to go see a neurologist the next day.
In 1907, the U.S. economy was in the grip of a financial crisis. Unemployment was up. The stock market was down.
People started panicking. They were lining up overnight to pull their money out of healthy banks. This can be deadly for an economy: Healthy banks have to shut down, businesses can't get credit, they lay people off, and the economy gets worse.
You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.
Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his tale.
A low, wet fog swirled across the field at Candlestick Park in San Francisco as the Giants opened a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 31, 1962.
Candlestick Park in San Francisco is closing after more than 50 years of sports memories. The San Francisco 49ers are about to play their last NFL game at the stadium they have called home since 1971. Candlestick Park was also home to baseball's Giants from 1960 to 1999.
Credit Eric Risberg / AP
Plants grow through cracks in the lower seating at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, the last Monday Night Football game of the NFL season is a significant moment for Bay Area sports fans. The San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons are playing the final regular season game at historic Candlestick Park.
The 49ers are moving south to a plush new home in Santa Clara next season. Candlestick is set to be demolished, leaving behind more than a half-century of memories. It is prompting goodbyes — and, for some, good riddance — to the weather-beaten stadium known as the 'Stick.
The California Public Utilities Commission has called on utilities and private companies to install about $5 billion worth of batteries and other forms of energy storage to help the state power grid cope with the erratic power supplied by wind and solar energy.
The need to store energy has become urgent because the state is planning to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade. And the shift in strategy could open up some big opportunities for small startups, including one called Stem.
Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.
The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.
Millions of Americans speak a language other than English at home, and many of them are young children. Picture books are starting to reflect this diversity.
Monica Brown has written more than a dozen children's picture books with text in both English and Spanish. Raised bilingually by a South American mother and North American father, she says her inspiration comes from her own upbringing.
Raed Fares, a pro-democracy activist from the Syrian town of Kafr Nabl, has helped lead that town's anti-government protests since the very early days of the Syrian conflict in 2011. This week, Fares is in the U.S., on only his second trip outside of Syria. Fares is attempting to rebuild support for the revolution among Syrian Americans. He speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about the conflict and the toll it has taken on his town.
Host Arun Rath talks with Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Faturechi about the troubles facing the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. More than a dozen current and former deputies face federal charges stemming from allegations of abuse and corruption.
As the U.S. recovers from the Great Recession, one fact that's emerging is that while jobs are coming back, most are either high- or low-paying. NPR's Kelly McEvers is reporting on the disappearing middle. Host Arun Rath talks with Kelly about her first piece of the project, a look at her hometown of Lincoln, Ill. They also discuss her upcoming work.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:36 am
The long-running debate over whether video games constitute art may finally be moot — at least as far as the Smithsonian American Art Museum is concerned. Last week, SAAM acquired two video games, Halo 2600 and Flower, for its permanent collection.
Burak Karan was a rising German-Turkish soccer player before leaving Germany to fight in the Syrian civil war. He was killed in northern Syria in October at age 26. Karan is shown here in Aachen, Germany, in 2008.
More than 240 people have left Germany to join the civil war in Syria — the largest reported number from a European country.
One was Burak Karan, a rising German-Turkish soccer player who died in northern Syria in October at age 26. Bild newspaper quoted his brother saying Karan had gone to the border region between Turkey and Syria to help distribute aid.
In the two-year, $2 trillion budget deal that cleared the Senate last week, one item, worth just one-sixth of 1 percent of that total, was the reason many senators said they voted against it.
That item would produce some $6 billion in savings by shaving a percentage point off annual cost-of-living adjustments, and it would apply only to military pensions. Not all military pensions — just the retirement paid to veterans younger than 62.
Volunteering while traveling isn't really a novelty anymore. But sometimes that work you're doing, say, in a developing country, well, it could be doing more harm than good. On this week's travel segment, Winging It, we look at what it means to travel ethically.
We're going to hear now from the woman charged with streamlining the Pentagon's roughly $700 billion annual budget.
CHRISTINE FOX: We have to curb the growth of the compensation of our force. It's grown 40 percent above inflation over the last decade. And it's fully half of our budget. So, we have to slow the growth.
In studying the connection between economics and yearly trends in what he calls "shark-human interactions," shark attack expert George Burgess spotted a pattern. NPR's Rachel Martin asks Burgess about going to the beach.
It was a year of turmoil in Egypt. After being democratically elected following Hosni Mubarak's ouster, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from power. The military-led government has since consolidated its power and cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood. NPR's Rachel Martin and foreign correspondent Leila Fadel review this year's tumultuous developments.