From 'Morning Edition': Yuki Noguchi talks with David Greene
Update at 8:41 a.m. ET.: Job Growth Slows Sharply, But Unemployment Rate Dips
Although economists had been expecting to hear that the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in March, the news is out and the number is far less. Just 88,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls, the Labor Department reports. The jobless rate still edged down to 7.6 percent — but only because nearly half a million fewer people were in the labor force.
The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tomorrow. Louisville plays Wichita State and Syracuse faces Michigan. On the women's side, it's Louisville again. They're playing California. Notre Dame is playing Connecticut. These quartets of teams, of course, are known as the Final Four, and this stage in the tournament is a resume booster for teams and coaches. NPR's Mike Pesca ponders the question of why college basketball, unique among major team sports, celebrates the semi finalists.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that's traded largely online. It was created in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as an alternative to currencies which are controlled by countries and central bankers. But Bitcoin has been on a wild ride lately, soaring in value during the anxious days of the Cyprus banking crisis.
We're going to look at the currency's history in today's Business Bottom Line. Here's NPR's Steve Henn.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced his new Brain Initiative. He said he wants $100 million to explore America's next great frontier in science: Mapping the human brain, to understand how the brains neurons and circuits communicate. But now that brain specialists have had a little time to reflect, some are wondering whether the president's announcement has more to do with politics and some good PR?
The computer maker's chairman Ray Lane has stepped down as executive chairman. He's been on thin ice with shareholders after his role in acquiring a business software company ended up hurting HP's bottom line.
The Labor Department on Friday reported the nation's unemployment rate inched down to 7.6 percent in March, the lowest rate in four years, mainly due to more people stopping their search for work. In February, the job rate was 7.7 percent.
Let's go now to the Great Plains, where farmers are preparing for what could be a tough growing season. They are scrambling to find irrigation water, which is scarce in the midst of the region's persistent drought. In eastern Colorado, thirsty cities have gobbled up water rights for decades, selling what they don't need back to farmers.
As Luke Runyon from member station KUNC reports, the agreement only works when water is plentiful.
Now former Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling could be released early from federal prison, as part of a reduced sentencing agreement under consideration at the Justice Department. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the collapse of the energy trading giant.
We have been hearing a lot about North Korea and nuclear weapons lately. Well, nuclear negotiators have just wrapped up a first day of talks on Iran's nuclear program. Tehran does not have nuclear weapons and insists it doesn't want them, but six world powers say the country must do more to assure the world that its program is entirely peaceful. We spoke earlier with NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the talks. Peter, good morning.
The United States has pledged to remain committed to Afghanistan beyond the year 2014. That's when the U.S. and its NATO allies are set to hand over the security mission to Afghan forces. But the U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, and that is causing concern among Afghans.
Every year 10 million people funnel in and out of America's jails and prisons. And every year some of them get lost. Recently there have been two high-profile cases of such inmates — one who got out years too early, and one who stayed years too long. Both had disastrous consequences.
In January, Evan Ebel walked out of a Colorado prison four years too early. Two months later, he allegedly rang the doorbell of Tom Clements, the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, shot him in the chest and killed him. Ebel was shot and killed by police two days later.
In Berlin's Jewish Museum, a new exhibit called "The Whole Truth" asks visitors uncomfortable and even absurd questions about Jews. One of the curators, Michal Friedlander, says it is intentionally provocative.
"The point is to get people talking about how they perceive Jews, particularly in Germany today," she says.
But some German Jews accuse the museum of going too far.
Mad Men comes back for its sixth season Sunday at an opportune moment for basic cable. Last weekend, 25 million viewers combined watched The Bible and The Walking Dead on basic cable channels. That's more than triple the audience for The Good Wife on CBS that same night.
Automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in March 1 have had little initial impact in many parts of the government. For a few programs, however, the effect has been real and painful, as the government begins cutting $85 billion from its spending through the end of September.
Many of the earliest signs of the cuts are being seen on the local level, in state programs like education that rely in part on federal dollars.
Ruben Aguilar, 85, was forcibly deported from the U.S. 80 years ago as part of a largely forgotten Mexican repatriation program run by the American government.
During the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of people of Mexican descent were forcibly deported to Mexico without due process, including many American citizens. Aguilar, an American citizen, was born in Chicago but was deported with his parents, who were undocumented. At the time, he was 6 years old.
Fast-food restaurants were a little bit slower Thursday in New York City. Hundreds of workers staged a one-day strike in what organizers are calling the biggest job action ever in that industry. It's a growing segment of the economy, but workers complain that fast-food jobs don't pay enough to survive in New York City.
It's life, but not as we know it. Researchers in the Netherlands have found that a microbe from deep beneath the ocean can breathe a major ingredient in rocket fuel. The discovery suggests that early life may have used many different kinds of chemicals besides oxygen to survive and thrive.
What comes to mind when you think of Chinese food? Is it takeout, thick sauces or deep-fried meat? Cookbook author Fuchsia Dunlop wants to change that.
"Really, the traditional diet is all about vegetables," she says. "In the past, most people couldn't afford to eat much meat, so they had to concentrate on making their everyday vegetarian produce taste sensational."
Think of Lord Huron as an imaginary world as much as a rock band. Bandleader Ben Schneider has created characters and stories that fit together within an entire narrative filled with mystique. It's a bit dreamlike. To get an idea of how many layers there are in Schneider's invention, look at this website for author George Ranger Johnson. According to the site, George Ranger Johnson lives in Tuscon, Ariz. and writes adventure novels whose titles are identical to the song titles of the band Lord Huron.
In theory, it's romantic to watch young couples struggling. We're used to seeing 'em in movies from the '30s, '40s and onward: He makes only enough money to put beans, not steak, on the table. She stretches the meager dollars he brings home by whipping up cheerful curtains patched together from fabric scraps. They may be poor, but they have love on their side, and if they work together, a comfortable and happy life — including the babies that will eventually come — will be theirs.
Let's just get this out of the way up front: Fede Alvarez's remake of Sam Raimi's horror classic The Evil Dead can't hold a candle, shotgun or revving chainsaw to the original.
Raimi's 1981 debut is a masterpiece of punk filmmaking, a bunch of young enthusiasts who barely knew what they were doing, going out into the woods and stumbling blindly into the creation of a ragged landmark — largely because they didn't know, didn't care or didn't have the money to do it the way it was supposed to be done.
If you want to tell a story, the professional tale-spinners say, make something happen.
That's true, but a happening can be defined as elastically as the teller needs it to be. Sometimes it's a shift in a character's inner landscape — a change in her responses to the common hurts and losses that she's lugged around from childhood — that moves us more than a third-act gunshot ever could.