It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
At first blush, it might seem like good news from the Labor Department this morning: The unemployment rate that has been dropping in recent months fell again. It fell to 7.6 percent in March. But job growth was much weaker than expected. And the main reason that the rate went down is that a large number of people decided to leave the workforce. NPR's Yuki Noguchi joins us now. Hi, Yuki.
The forced budget cuts known as the "sequester" have not yet started to trickle down to the local level. But that hasn't stopped politicians from talking about what those cuts will mean. But business leaders in a city with strong aviation ties aren't looking at only the conversations in Washington as they plan their futures.
California's economy is a study in contrasts. The state's unemployment rate — 9.8 percent — is tied with Rhode Island for the highest in the country. Parts of the state are still suffering mightily from the housing collapse. But there are also large pockets of job growth and revival.
We're going to hear now about this year's big final four matchup, but not in basketball. This weekend Webster University of St. Louis, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Illinois square off outside Washington, D.C. in the Final Four of College Chess, the President's Cup. Those schools emerged in a tie at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship last December.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are tracking changes in the Philadelphia accent. Reporter Zack Seward dips into archives that include more than a century's worth of Philly natives. The researchers say most regional accents are alive and well, even in the digital age, but they're always changing.
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 2:36 pm
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.
The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.
"This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions," the FAA said in a statement. "Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System."
Authorities are looking into the possibility that white supremacist prison gangs may have been involved in a series of shootings of public officials in Colorado and Texas. If so, criminologists say, this would be part of a larger pattern of prison gangs extending their reach.
"Increasingly, these prison gangs are spilling out onto the streets," says Mark Potok, an editor with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Pope Francis told his staff to take "decisive action" when it comes to cases of clerical sex abuse of minors.
In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff ordered the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty."
Brian Johnson (L) and Angus Young of AC/DC in 2000. Johnson's first album with the group, 1980's Back In Black, is one of the best-selling albums of all time, despite never reaching No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.
Industrial cities like Detroit have high levels of lead in the aging housing stock and in soils. Researchers found that the amount of soil lead in Detroit that gets suspended in the air correlated with the levels of lead in kids' blood.
Lead poisoning in kids is hardly the problem it used to be, now that we've stopped using lead in house paints and gasoline. But the lead that lingers outside and in old homes is still dangerous if kids are exposed to it.
Lots of people are surely looking at today's jobs headlines somewhat puzzled, asking one significant question: How can it be that hiring was much worse than expected in March and the unemployment rate still fell — to 7.6 percent?
The answer isn't a happy one. There are a couple of ways the unemployment rate can fall.
Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 10:42 am
The first day of the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group about the Persian nation's nuclear ambitions has ended with reports of a "shaky" start and Western diplomats saying they are puzzled by what Iran brought to the table.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we will speak with a Christian leader who's led his church to rethink both its politics and its worship. It's the Reverend Cecil Williams of San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church. He and his wife, who's also a church leader, will join us for a Faith Matters conversation in a few minutes.
Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for abusive actions towards players on the practice court. Did he go too far, or should people toughen up? Host Michel Martin asks the Barbershop guys for their take.
Fresh Air remembers the film critic and bon vivant Roger Ebert, who died Thursday, with a roundup of interviews from our archive.
In one, from all the way back in 1984, host Terry Gross talks with Ebert alone; in a second conversation, from 1996, Terry interviews both Ebert and his late partner Gene Siskel onstage at Northwestern University.
In two very special conversations, Ebert himself interviews iconic directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.
And finally, critic-at-large John Powers discusses Ebert's 2011 memoir Life Itself.
On this week's extremely punchy round-table podcast, once we cover our most important landmark of the week, Stephen Thompson gets through some preposterous claims loosely connected to this video and we get on the topic of
Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:17 pm
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:15 p.m. ET.)
The abusive actions of the men's basketball coach at Rutgers University, who was videotaped physically and verbally abusing his players during the team's practices and was fired after the scenes were broadcast by ESPN, have now also cost the school's athletic director his job.
Tim Pernetti submitted his resignation Friday morning.
The 11.7 million Americans searching for work got discouraging news Friday morning when the Labor Department said employers created only 88,000 jobs in March. The weak job growth comes at the same time benefits for the long-term unemployed are shrinking.
The smaller-than-expected increase in payrolls was a big disappointment, coming after a long stretch of much better results. Over the past year, employment growth has averaged 169,000 jobs a month.
A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ruled that the morning-after pill for emergency contraception must be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under.
The ruling could end a more than decade-long battle over how easy or difficult it should be for teenage girls to obtain emergency contraception. The ruling would also make it easier for older women to obtain the drug because it wouldn't have to be kept behind drugstore counters anymore.