NPR's Planet Money team has manufactured a T-shirt. All this week we're following its journey around the globe. Today, the T-shirt makes a detour in the Pacific Ocean. Cotton from America gets shipped to a factory in Indonesia where it gets transformed into yarn.
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Let's turn to a country in the region that's been racked by violent protest in recent days. And now the capital, Thailand, is suddenly calm. Riot police have taken down barricades and left their defensive positions around Government House, which is the symbolic seat of power there. Protesters are now inside, moving about freely.
To get a better idea of what this all means in a country of nearly 70 million people, where the big industry is tourism, we turn to reporter Michael Sullivan in Bangkok. Good morning.
OK. So federal judges, in secret, have blasted the National Security Agency for years, for violating rules governing U.S. surveillance programs. Then the judges have gone ahead and approved those programs anyway. We know this because of leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and from documents released by the government. They have revealed new information about how the secret court works. NPR's Carrie Johnson has this report on whether it is possible for the court to control the NSA.
Outside the glittering new Perez Art Museum Miami, finishing touches were still being applied late last month to the spacious plazas and gardens surrounding the $220 million building. Next door to the art museum, a new science museum is also going up. When it's all complete, the 29-acre Museum Park will provide a focus and a gathering spot on Biscayne Bay for those who live in, work in and visit downtown Miami.
San Francisco has long been a desirable place to live — and that's even more true today as the city is basking in the glow of another tech boom. But the influx of new money and new residents is putting a strain on the city's housing market.
The city has the highest median rent in the nation, and evictions of longtime residents are skyrocketing.
Ground zero for San Francisco's eviction crisis is the Inner Mission District. Until recently, this edgy neighborhood was home to a mix of working-class Latinos, artists and activists.
Governments around the world have agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). That would require an 80 percent reduction in energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas, which emit carbon dioxide into the air.
Nations are far from that ambitious path. There are big political and economic challenges. But technologists do see a way — at least for the United States — to achieve that goal.
The World Health Organization has declared a polio emergency in Syria.
After being free of the crippling disease for more than a decade, Syria recorded 10 confirmed cases of polio in October. Now the outbreak has grown to 17 confirmed cases, the WHO said last week. And the virus has spread to four cities, including a war-torn suburb near the capital of Damascus.
"Crazy-generous" tips, as Gawker says, have been showing up on checks across the nation as some anonymous good Samaritans known only as "TipsForJesus" add hundreds or thousands of dollars to their restaurant and bar bills.
While lawyers dismantle many restrictions on political money, the rules affecting Morning Edition and Downton Abbey still stand tall. A federal court in San Francisco says public radio and TV stations cannot carry paid political ads.
The 8-3 decision Monday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling last April by a smaller panel of the court. NPR and PBS both joined the case as friends of the court.
Commemorating the 25th World AIDS Day a day late, President Obama announced an initiative Monday to find a cure for HIV infections that would be funded by $100 million shifted from existing spending.
"The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put people into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies — or better yet, eliminate it completely," Obama said at a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.
This week, a group of Seminole Indians in Florida is commemorating an important historical event — when a Seminole named Polly Parker organized and led an escape from federal troops more than 150 years ago.
It came at a time when Indians were being deported to the West in what became known as the Trail of Tears. Florida's Seminoles call themselves the "unconquered people" because, through three wars with federal troops, they resisted deportation to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.
More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.
An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.
The documentary Tim's Vermeer follows inventor Tim Jenison on a singular project — the attempt to paint in the way the 17th century Flemish master Johannes Vermeer painted.
Jenison was inspired by Vermeer's paintings and by the book Secret Knowledge, in which the contemporary English artist David Hockney theorized that Renaissance painters might have achieved photographic accuracy by employing tools that anticipated photography.
A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.
Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."
Transportation officials are investigating what caused a Metro-North Railroad passenger train to derail along the Hudson River in New York on Sunday morning. The crash left four dead and injured dozens more.
Thousands of Ukrainian protesters blockaded government buildings in Kiev Monday seeking to oust President Viktor Yanukovich. Demonstrations over the weekend drew as many as 350,000 people in the largest rally since the Orange Revolution. The protests came after Yanukovich decided to abandon a trade deal with the European Union and instead seek closer ties with Russia. Robert Siegel talks to Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, about the political landscape in the country and its relationship with Moscow.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:39 am
The holidays mean many things, among them: travel. Combine that with wild weather patterns and you often get some unexpected downtime in the world's weirdest corners. We're talking layovers and delays and canceled flights and the like.
But what if that wasn't all bad news? What if there were an airport that you actually looked forward to being stuck in? Is it possible? According to this list of favorites, it may be.
We're standing at the Port of Miami, where Sacco works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Our ship, the Hansa Kirkenes, left Cartagena, Colombia, about a week earlier carrying all 6,078 of the Planet Money women's T-shirts.