The polar vortex chilled the U.S. so much, even a polar bear had to stay inside at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. In Brazil, it's been sizzling, so zookeepers in Rio brought in icy treats to help the animals beat the heat that reached 120 degrees. Primates cooled off with mango popsicles. The big cats got icy blocks of meat, and the zoo's brown bear chowed down on frozen grapes while lounging in his pool.
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Workers at Boeing were in a difficult spot last week. Their employer offered a new contract cutting back retirement and health benefits. It came with what looked like a threat. The company said it might have to move important operations out of Washington State and hire new workers. Union members approved the contract, barely, and Boeing is staying put.
Journalist Hedricks Smith written about the decline of the middle-class. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, he says Boeing just contributed to that.
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in National Parks and forests in the Civilian Conservation Corps. President Obama's Secretary of the Interior wants to bring back that spirit, to create jobs and a new generation of conservationists.
But as NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, it's not the easiest thing to do in tight budget times.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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This week, and in the coming year, we're marking the anniversary of a famous declaration. It's been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson called for an unconditional war on poverty in his first State of the Union Address after the assassination of President Kennedy.
This week we've been considering the fate of Edward Snowden. The former contractor at the National Security Agency is facing charges after he leaked classified details about surveillance programs. Yesterday we heard from a legal expert who believes that Snowden deserves clemency and that his actions inspired an important public debate about privacy and security.
NPR's business news starts with layoffs at Macy's.
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MONTAGNE: Macy's has announced it's letting go 2,500 employees and closing five stores as part of a major reorganization. The company says it will save $100 million a year with the changes. It will also move hundreds of employees to its other department stores and to the company's online operation.
It was a two-step move for Republicans at the Capitol Wednesday: to both praise the sentiment of the War on Poverty – but also to critique it.
"We are here to mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's declaration of the War on Poverty," said Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida. "And while this war may have been launched with the best of intentions, it's clear we're now engaged in a battle for attrition."
Ishmael Beah was just barely a teenager when his town became engulfed in Sierra Leone's civil war in the mid-1990s. In his 2007 memoir, A Long Way Gone, Beah describes how, after he lost his parents and brothers to the conflict, he wandered the countryside with a band of boys and was recruited as a child soldier by government forces. The memoir describes the hellish atrocities committed by child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
It is among the most troubling calls a police department can receive: the report of an active shooter. It could mean a domestic dispute, or a gunman on the loose. We all remember Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. Those events - mass shootings - have spiked in the United States, in recent years.
If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.
Dental coverage for children is one of the benefits that must be offered under the law. But, it turns out, a loophole in the law means that — in most states — families don't actually have to buy that coverage.
These rules are so confusing that they even tripped me up.
A new study of volcanic rocks suggests that an ancient mural may indeed depict an erupting volcano, adding new weight to a theory that this image is a contender for the world's oldest known landscape painting or map.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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Pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were Atlanta Braves teammates, Cy Young Award winners and, as of this afternoon, they are the newest members of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. Also making the hall was the slugger known as the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:56 pm
Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.
Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.
The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.
Forces allied with al-Qaida are battling to retake two major cities in Iraq's Sunni-dominated Anbar province: Ramadi, the capital of the province, and Fallujah, the city where U.S. troops prevailed after fighting two major battles.
There have been no American forces in Iraq since 2011, when President Obama ordered the last troops to leave. Now the man who lost the presidential race to Obama five years ago is pointing a finger at the president for al-Qaida's resurgence.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:51 pm
Tired of reading about intensely cold temperatures? Here's some news that might help take your mind off this week's deep freeze. It could even give you an excuse to hang around outside Thursday.
An intense solar flare is being blamed for disrupting a NASA mission and could force airlines to reroute some flights. That's the bad news. The good news is that the flare is also expected to expand the viewing field of the aurora borealis southward, perhaps down to Colorado and Illinois.
The relationship between the world's biggest two democracies is under strain over an incident involving a low-ranking diplomat. U.S. prosecutors are preparing to indict a government representative from India. She's accused of lying on a visa application for her housekeeper. That indictment and the diplomat's treatment by American authorities have ignited a furious response in India. And the Indian government is retaliating.
In Fort Worth, Texas, a tragic and unusual medical ethics case is making headlines. Five weeks ago, a man found his wife unresponsive in their bed. A brain embolism is suspected. She was 14 weeks pregnant. Since then, the 33-year-old woman has lain unresponsive. But the hospital says Texas law requires they keep her alive until she delivers the child.
The New York Times unveiled a major redesign of its digital offerings Wednesday. With a new scroll feature, readers will never again have to click to read the second half of a story, and the site is crafted to appeal to a mobile audience.
But the redesign has also embraced a controversial shift in journalism: Some posts on the site that look like articles are reported and written by people working for the paper's advertisers.
We've been marking the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty from a number of perspectives. Now, the Republican take. Republicans have long been critical of Lyndon Johnson's expansive approach to a federal safety net. Today, the Republican senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, proposed what he says is a better way forward. His way? Take power away from Washington and give it to the states. NPR's Don Gonyea is here to tell us more. And, Don, first, give us some context. What was the setting for Senator Rubio's speech?
Cold weather this week has boosted demand for heating fuels across the country. Natural gas prices are up, especially in the Northeast. At one point prices for natural gas into New York City jumped nearly tenfold from an average winter price of $5.68 per million BTU to $55.49, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics company.