The Irish novelist John McGahern once remarked that his country stayed a 19th-century society for so long that it nearly missed the 20th century. But in the mid-1990s, Ireland's economy took off, turning the country from a poor backwater into a so-called Celtic Tiger with fancy restaurants, chrome-clad shops and soaring real estate values. The country was transformed — until things came tumbling down during the 2008 financial crisis.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:30 am
Business leaders involved in homebuilding, oil drilling or automaking are happy about the way 2013 has kicked off. Lower- and middle-income consumers, on the other hand, are feeling like the year has kicked them in the head.
"Consumers have not rebounded with the arrival of the new year," says Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Middle-income Americans were particularly hard hit this month and appear to be losing ground."
The Environmental Protection Agency's once-secret "Watch List" of allegedly chronic polluters is under review by the EPA's inspector general.
The existence of the list was first disclosed by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and NPR in 2011 during a joint investigation of EPA's air pollution regulation. CPI's Jim Morris discovered the list and a CPI/NPR Freedom of Information Act request prompted its public release.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 1:44 pm
The drummer Marcus Gilmore is coming off a major year in his career. In 2012, DownBeat magazine named him its top Rising Star Drummer in its long-running Critics Poll; pianist Vijay Iyer's trio, of which Gilmore is a member, also took the Jazz Album and Jazz Group of the Year categories.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:07 pm
Wednesday, Hasbro announced that it was welcoming a new member of the Monopoly-token family. And because it asked the Internet, it wound up with a cat. (For whatever reason, the Internet was not offered Gotye or a bacon cupcake.)
GREENE: The U.S. Postal Service has just announced the end of first class mail deliveries on Saturday. It is part of an effort to slow enormous financial losses. And NPR's Yuki Noguchi has come into the studio to tell us what all this means for customers and the Postal Service. And Yuki, so when will my Saturday deliveries stop?
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:17 am
Go to the doctor with an aching elbow, and the prescription may well be a cortisone shot. Ah, relief!
But that short-term gain may make for long-term pain. There's mounting evidence that cortisone shots, long the first response for the painful tendon problem known as tennis elbow, increases the risk of continued problems or relapse one year out.
That may come as a surprise to those who have availed themselves of this seemingly miraculous quick fix.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 6:41 pm
Joy can blindside you in the smallest, most unexpected moments. That's what happened when I watched this new video from Delaware's Spinto Band, for the song "What I Love." As a miniature paper cut-out of a gymnast dances and tumbles across a colorful breakfast table, I found myself filled with pure bliss.
A spiky, upright piano and bouncing rhythms from The Spinto Band propel the tiny dancer through her routine. Suddenly, something as mundane as drinking coffee and eating cereal seem like cause for celebration.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:42 pm
Author and teacher Essie Mae Washington-Williams died in Columbia, S.C. according to her family attorney, Frank Wheaton. Washington-Williams, who was African-American, came to attention in 2003, when she publicly disclosed her father's name: the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, (R-S.C.), a one-time devoted segregationist.
Monopoly players, your game will never be the same. Hasbro, which has been making the for some 80 years, is retiring a game piece. The iron will no longer be passing Go or stopping at Park Place. The company ran a Save Your Token campaign, and only eight percent of respondents fought for the iron. The winner? That little Scottie dog, who may prefer the old iron to the token replacing it - a cat - though players using the cat may get nine chances to win.
A Tunisian politician received death threats in recent days. Chokri Belaid was in a high-profile position. He was among the leaders of a group of politicians urging Tunisia to remain a secular state. That brought him into conflict with religious parties. Despite the death threats, his family says Belaid refused to limit his activities, and as he left home this morning someone shot and killed him.
Manti Te'o won't be tricked again - at least not on Twitter. Te'o's the Notre Dame football player who says he met his girlfriend online. The woman wasn't real, and Te'o says he was the victim of a hoax. He's now deleted his Twitter account. The page had included a quote from author Alexander Dumas: "Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 1:57 pm
(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)
Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.
From Swift to Orwell, political satire has played a major role in the history of European fiction. Much of it takes on an allegorical cast, but not all. The Fall of the Stone City, an incisive, biting work by Ismail Kadare — one of Europe's reigning fiction masters — refines our understanding of satire's nature. Kadare's instructive and delightful book takes us from the 1943 Nazi occupation of a provincial Albanian town, the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster, to the consolidation of communist rule there a decade later.
NPR's business news starts with a big cable buyout.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Liberty Global is the cable company owned by American media mogul John Malone. Malone is about to have a much broader reach. His company already operates in 14 countries. And now Liberty Global has reached a deal to buy the British cable company Virgin Media for about $16 billion.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's still hard to believe that Japan and China could ever go to war over a few specks of land in the East China Sea, but here's a reminder of how easily war could come. Japan has disclosed that one of its navy ships was recently targeted by the radar off a Chinese navy ship. That form of radar is used for targeting weapons.
Investigators in Ireland have been pursuing an excruciating question: It is how women came to be stuck in a modern day workhouse. That's a kind of forced labor camp we associate with some earlier age, yet these Irish facilities persisted almost until the end of the 20th century.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports on what an investigative panel calls secrecy, silence and shame.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Passing major legislation in the United States is a little like solving a Rubik's cube. If you don't solve everything, you've solved nothing, and all the pieces have to come together in the exactly the right way.
GREENE: And the puzzle gets even harder in a time of brutal partisanship. The big question in Washington is whether that Rubik's cube moment has arrived for immigration law.
Leadership of the Boy Scouts of America may take an important vote today. The organization's executive board is wrapping up a meeting in Dallas, and they're talking about whether to drop their policy banning gay leaders and gay scouts. Activists delivered petitions with more than 1.4 million signatures to the national headquarters this week calling for the Boy Scouts to open up the organization.
NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that the issue has ignited a passionate debate about what the 100-year-old group should do.
We're also tracking a story that federal authorities call one of the biggest credit card fraud rings in U.S. history. Eighteen people are alleged to have created an elaborate web of fake identities and sham companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.