Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:40 am
This week's debacle on the Carnival Triumph is a setback that may cost the company as much as $80 million and hurt the industry's image. Carnival says passengers who were on the Triumph the last five days without power were miserable, but at least they were safe. Industry watchers say Carnival generally has handled the mishap well, but that the industry may need to rethink how it deal with events like power outages on floating cities than can carry more than 5,000 people.
NPR's business news starts with Europe's rocky economy.
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WERTHEIMER: It was a tough three months for the eurozone at the end of last year. The area fell deeper into recession.
And as NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's expected to remain in recession well into 2013.
JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The output of the eurozone fell six-tenths of a percent in the final three months of last year, according to a report from Eurostat. The decline translates to an economy contracting at a 2.3 percent annual rate.
Conventional wisdom says fewer airlines mean higher fares and fewer flights. But experts say the American Airlines-U.S. Airways proposed merger is a mixed bag. Past mergers haven't led to significantly higher fares, but will this time be different?
In Youngstown, Ohio, the owner of an oil and natural gas drilling company has been charged with a violating the Federal Clean Water Act. He's accused of dumping tens of thousands of gallons of drilling waste water into a storm sewer that eventually runs into a local river.
The Palestinian Authority is facing a severe financial crisis. Israel has restricted payment of tax revenues to the Authority. That's in response to the Palestinians' successful bid for statehood status at the United Nations, something Israel strongly opposed. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports from Jerusalem, the money shortfall is hurting pocketbooks throughout the West Bank.
This week's news that the International Olympic Committee has decided to drop wrestling from the list of core Olympic sporting events has caused acute pain in Turkey. Wrestling is revered there as an ancestral sport.
In this letter from Istanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon tells us that Turks plan to take the IOC decision to the mat.
PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The Turks don't claim either to have invented wrestling or to be the best in the world at it. They do love it though, and closely followed the matches at the London Games last year.
Valentine's Day saw women from around the globe take up the cause of ending sexual violence. From London to Los Angeles to Johannesburg, street exhibitions, dance performances and musical rallies were all held under the slogan "One Billion Rising."
In New Delhi, revulsion over the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student gave added significance to the international campaign.
Chuck Hagel will have to wait at least another 10 days to find out if the Senate will confirm him as the next secretary of defense. That's because Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 vote supermajority needed to break a GOP filibuster of the former Nebraska Republican senator's nomination.
The lives of the 26 people murdered by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December were eulogized and celebrated after the tragedy. But many discussions about Lanza's first victim, his mother, Nancy, were marked by both sympathy and suspicion, particularly as the news emerged that she had taken her son to shooting ranges.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has put the state on what he calls a "glide path to zero" income tax. But that glide path is far from being clear or smooth.
On the face of it, Brownback seems to enjoy a remarkably strong political position. He's a conservative Republican, flanked by GOP supermajorities in both legislative chambers. His allies helped purge moderate Republicans from the state Senate in last year's election.
"I think the road is open," Brownback says. "I think we do provide an alternative model. I think we do provide a red-state model."
The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.
"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."
Harriet and Louis Caplan's love story began 20 years ago in a college town in Kansas. Harriet was 48 and working at a bank. Louis was a 56-year-old physicist.
Both assumed they'd be single for the rest of their lives — until their paths crossed.
It began with Wednesday evening outings when a group would meet after work.
"We went to football games and concerts, and I still don't quite know how it happened, but instead of going in two separate cars, you and I would start going in the same car," Harriet remembers. "I don't think we ever had a date."
Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:21 pm
The potential Democratic Party contest for a U.S. Senate seat between 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg and 43-year-old Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had been shaping up to be a generational battle royale.
Alas, it won't happen now that Lautenberg has announced that he won't run for re-election in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race. In a statement, the octogenarian senator said:
Earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing he was resigning from his post as head of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the first time a sitting pope had stepped down in nearly 600 years.
As Mark wrote on Monday, Benedict cited his "advanced age (85) and diminishing strength," as reasons for his decision.
Los Angeles-based artist Ramiro Gomez Jr. displays his immigrant worker art on the Capitol's East Lawn in Washington, D.C.
Credit Lizzie Chen / NPR
Eva Aucapina, originally from Ecuador, has been a domestic worker for more than 15 years. She traveled from Los Angeles with CHIRLA, a pro-immigrant-rights group, to Washington, D.C., this week to attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration.
Credit Brian De Los Santos / NPR
Gomez works on a piece that he later removed after a man selling maps to celebrities' homes threatened to take it down.
Bryant Terry and Jidan Koon's relationship evolved over cooking. So much so that when they got engaged, they created a special dish: Afro-Asian jung, based on the savory Cantonese treat Koon enjoyed as a child in San Francisco's Chinatown. Koon shared the recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipe series.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey (from left), Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller Robert Hale wait for a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Military leaders are warning Congress about the effects of the sequester.
The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.
When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.
At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."
The proposed marriage of American Airlines and US Airways announced Thursday is likely the last in a series of industry mega-mergers, but history suggests combining two big carriers isn't easy.
"The history of airline mergers in the U.S. is good, bad and ugly," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at the consulting firm Hudson Crossing. He and many others point to the 2008 union of Delta and Northwest as the best merger in recent memory.
In 1988, Chile's brutal military dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was facing international pressure to legitimize his regime. Confident that the opposition was splintered, and that state-run media could control the political dialogue, his administration agreed to a simple yes-or-no vote on extending his rule.
It was a vote that even Pinochet's opponents expected to go his way — but it didn't, for reasons made both compelling and instructive in Pablo Larrain's rousing Oscar-nominated drama, No.
As Ugly Americans go, Manhattan corporate attorney Sam Chao (Daniel Henney) has a lot going for him. He's a handsome dude with perfectly symmetrical features, a toned bod we get to peek at all but naked, and facile charm to burn.
Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:31 pm
A cloture vote on the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary failed in the Senate, today.
That means Senate Republicans succeeded — with a vote of 58 to 40 — in keeping the Hagel nomination from coming before a final vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the cloture vote after Republicans refused to give unanimous consent to proceed with the final vote.
Don't you just love pointing out when others are wrong? In this game, contestants hear fictitious reports from actual NPR correspondents, and must identify which piece of information is inaccurate. This game is unpossible!
Audience, this is what we've all been waiting for. It's our Ask Me One More final round. This final elimination round will determine this week's ASK ME ANOTHER champion. So let's bring back the winners from all of our previous rounds.
EISENBERG: From "Happy and You Know it" we have Brice Gaillard. From "Forward and Backwards" Ken Stern. "Down at Downton Abbey," Tom Miller and "Spot the Mistakes" Sam Meyer.
Jonathan Coulton quizzes contestants on the lost verses of "If You're Happy and You Know It," in which the lyrics hint to certain things. The song should really be re-titled, "If You're An Inanimate Object And You Know It." Clap your hands.