The Senate gets back to work Monday after a two-week holiday break. Just as Majority Leader Harry Reid promised, the first piece of legislation getting a vote will be a three-month extension of the long-term unemployment benefits that ran out a week ago for 1.3 million jobless Americans.
Though the Senate unemployment measure is bipartisan, it's not clear it has enough votes to beat a GOP filibuster. Regardless, Democrats are banging the drum on the issue as a midterm election year begins.
That's according to Dr. Zeev Rotstein, the head of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv where Sharon is being treated.
At a news conference this weekend, Rotstein said Sharon's condition was still critical, and that his organs weren't functioning. But, he added, doctors had stabilized the former leader's blood pressure and pulse.
Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:09 am
A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker is sailing to Antarctica to rescue more than 120 crew members still aboard two ships trapped in the frozen continent. That's after the news that 52 scientists and paying passengers trapped aboard one of those vessels — the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy — were on their way home.
It's a near-perfect morning on Venice Beach in Southern California, temperatures in the 60s, with a breeze. You can hear the waves of the Pacific crash against the sand. Only a layer of clouds mars the scene.
Scott and Sue Nolan, visiting from Houston, play kickball in the sand with their son. They are grateful to be in this mild, if not perfectly sunny weather, but Sue Nolan has noticed something's not right.
"One of the thoughts, when we were driving through town was, how are they sustaining all this with what you see so dry everywhere?" she says.
What do you get when you add Jay-Z's 'Problems' to Three Dog Night's 'Loneliest Number'? In this Season One bonus round, titled "Replacement Math," puzzle guru Art Chung challenges contestants to solve simple arithmetic problems using numbers found in pop culture. Calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band.
Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 9:42 am
When former South African President Nelson Mandela died last month, he was celebrated around the world, lauded in this country by politicians who range as far apart on the ideological spectrum as President Obama and Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
The nation's crime labs are no strangers to scandal. Last year in Massachusetts, bogus testing by former chemist Annie Dookhan called into question tens of thousands of cases and led to the release of more than 300 people from the state's prisons.
Phil Everly, half of the whole that was the Everly Brothers, died on Friday at the age of 74. The brothers were rock pioneers, and their style, including those close, unmistakable vocal harmonies, influenced a generation of musicians.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE")
THE EVERLY BROTHERS: (Singing) Wake up little Susie, wake up. Wake up little Susie, wake up. We've both been sound asleep. Wake up little Susie and weep...
These days, the middle aged gamer who enjoys Call of Duty after putting the baby to bed probably grew up on the games of the Atari - or maybe even maybe the Apple IIe. Nostalgic? Well, there is a cure out there. The Internet Archive is an archive of historically important software. And it's made hundreds of classic video games available for free play right in your browser. Casey Johnston writes for Ars Technica. It's an online tech news magazine. And she played some of these games. She's here to chat with us about it. Hey, Casey.
MARTIN: And it is coach firing season in the NFL. A new year brings in a batch of new head coaches. More on who's gotten the axe and who's signing shiny new contracts in a moment, but first we have some of last night's games to talk about.
NPR's Mike Pesca joins us to run through them. Hey, Mike.
The GED test is getting an overhaul. The exam has historically served adults who have fallen through the cracks of the educational system. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, about the impact of the new GED exams.
Anjan Sundaram had all kinds of options in the late summer of 2005. He had a master's in mathematics from Yale, a lucrative job offer from Goldman Sachs; and he was just about to begin a Ph.D. But he left all that behind and made a dramatically different choice. He headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the worst conflict zones in the world, to try to start a career in journalism. At the time, the death count in that war was more than 4 million people. That number continues to rise.
After a short delay, peace talks between mediators and delegates for the warring parties in South Sudan have opened in Ethiopia. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with The New York Times' Nicholas Kulish about the violence there and prospects for the negotiations.
As we just heard, jobless benefits are a top priority for Congress when lawmakers get back to work tomorrow. But of course, there are more big issues to resolve. And joining us to run through the rest of the 2014 congressional agenda is NPR's political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hi, Mara.