The Beige Book is weird. It's an economic report released by the Federal Reserve every few months, but it doesn't have many numbers in it. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories gathered by talking to businesses around the country. A Fed economist once described it as the "Ask Your Uncle" approach to figuring out what's going on in the economy.
Anger spilled onto the streets of the Indian state of Bihar today.
This after more than 20 children died after eating a free government-sponsored school lunch. Doctors say the victims show symptoms of insecticide poisoning. Today, protesters attacked police vehicles in Chhapra, a city near the children's school. From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.
And moving on now to a mystery in Panama. A North Korean ship was stopped there as it was cruising through the Panama Canal carrying military supplies from Cuba. Missile and aircraft parts were hidden beneath bags of sugar in the cargo hold. North Korea is subject to a U.N. arms embargo and the North Korean crew is said to have violently resisted an effort to inspect the ship. NPR's Tom Gjelten has the latest.
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One month ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke introduced the idea of winding down the Fed's massive stimulus programs. On that announcement, the markets tanked. Today, Bernanke said pretty much the same thing. But this time, the markets yawned.
As NPR's John Ydstie explains, the Fed chairman appears to have finally found the formula to ease Wall Street's concerns.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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Three months after the Boston Marathon bombing, money continues to roll into The One Fund, that's the charity set up for victims of the attack. More than 200 claims have already been paid out, but some victims are questioning the methods used to divvy up the funds. And as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, they're asking the state attorney general to intervene.
Here's another question Congress took up today: Do secret courts always have to be secret? The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decides whether wiretaps and other surveillance methods used by the intelligence community are legal. It's staffed by federal judges, but their work takes place in the shadows.
A water main crisis has been averted in Maryland, but the crumbling of water infrastructure is a common story. How did we get here? Melissa Block speaks with Greg DiLoreto, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Bipartisanship at the Senate may be seemingly in short supply, but an unlikely alliance has been forged over one issue, sexual assaults in the military. Republican senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, two stars of the Tea Party, announced yesterday their support for a measure sponsored by a Democrat, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Queens Of The Stone Age is one of the best rock bands working today, with a diverse and unpredictable catalog dating back to the '90s. Southern California native Josh Homme and his talented collaborators recently treated a small studio audience in Santa Monica to a full-on assault of sweat-inducing guitar riffs and head-banging drums from their new hit album ...Like Clockwork.
National Geographic is less reserved and gets right to the obvious point: "Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur, a Triceratops relative with a supersize schnoz that once roamed present-day Utah."
Blackfish, a movie opening Friday in New York and Los Angeles, takes aim squarely at theme parks like SeaWorld where captive dolphins, including orcas or killer whales, perform in entertainment shows for the public.
This is a big year for mayor's races. And it was supposed to be "the year of the woman" for mayoral candidates.
When 2013 began, there was a fair amount of hope that women could make up for their relatively measly representation in local offices nationwide by capturing the mayoralty in three of the nation's five largest cities.
At Philz Coffee in Palo Alto, Calif., a kid who looks like he should still be in high school is sitting across from me. He's wearing Google Glass. As I stare into the device's cyborg eye, I'm waiting for its tiny screen to light up.
Then, I wait for a signal that Google Glass has recognized my face.
This is the kind of opportunity most classical musicians can only dream about: to be invited to spend part of the summer with an orchestra touring the world — Washington, Moscow, St. Petersburg and London — with two of the biggest names in classical music, conductor Valery Gergiev and violinist Joshua Bell.
When singer-songwriter Jason Isbell used to get drunk, he'd sometimes tell his then-girlfriend, the musician Amanda Shires, that he needed to quit the bottle — and that if it was going to take, he'd have to go to rehab. Eventually, she said the next time he told her that, she'd hold him to it. And she did. And he went. And, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "The jury is still out on whether or not it worked, but it worked today and all the days leading up to this."
Initially, he says he was scared about what sobriety would do to his personality and his creativity.