Some of America's biggest retailers announced new steps yesterday aimed at improving safety standards in Bangladesh's troubled garment industry. Wal-Mart and the Gap were among the companies that formed a group called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety after the deadliest accident ever in the garment industry.
Among the news organizations following every development in Egypt is Al Jazeera. And now they are making a bit of news of their own. Al Jazeera America went on air yesterday afternoon, entering the crowded and competitive world of cable TV news in the United States. The new network is available in about 45 million households.
But as NPR's David Folkenflik reports, there are many people inside the industry skeptical that its promise of thoughtful and serious news coverage will woo American audiences.
The crisis in Egypt has been devastating for that country's economy, and especially for businesses in Cairo. Shops that usually stay open late into the night are closing early because of a curfew imposed by the military. Many foreign companies have stopped operations altogether. For the time being, economists say that Egypt can avoid collapse with the help of a multi-billion dollar aid package from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.
NPR's business news starts with some home improvement.
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MONTAGNE: Home Depot says it had one of the best quarters in recent history. The number behind that claim, a 17 percent jump in earnings this past quarter. The company credited the recovering housing market in the U.S. and said spending by both contractors and regular customers was up.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 1:06 pm
Basil is a mega-celebrity of the herb world and has some of the same problems that come with fame. Known mostly for its starring role in pesto, it's recognized by many people primarily as an ingredient in other Italian dishes such as pastas and caprese salads. But if it were up to basil, it might prefer to be recognized for its work in lesser-known cuisines and recipes (the indie films and off-Broadway plays, if you will), where it shines in a different way and brings a new dimension to food.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:22 am
The notion that sport shoes and inserts should keep the human arch stiffly supported is a decades-old assumption that could use some rethinking, according to a British gait analyst who has closely studied more than 25,000 footsteps of healthy people.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:22 pm
It's time for mom and Clary to have the talk.
No, not that talk. Jocelyn (Lena Headey) needs to tell teenage Clary (Lily Collins) about angels and demons, vampires and werewolves, magic chalices and sacred blood — not to mention hidden sanctuaries, interdimensional portals, the identity of her father and the existence of an unknown brother. Plus something nutty about J.S. Bach.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:32 pm
The 2013 wildfire season hit a milestone Tuesday: Preparedness Level 5, an officious way of saying resources are stretched thin and it could quickly get worse.
Preparedness Level 5 is the highest on the national wildfire preparedness scale, which the National Interagency Fire Center uses to chart wildfire activity, the deployment and availability of firefighters and equipment and the likelihood that more big fires are coming.
If Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) really wanted to put some positive spin on his birth in Canada, he could point out that none of the first seven presidents were born in the United States either.
Of course, that was because the U.S. didn't exist when presidents from George Washington through Andrew Jackson were born. They were all technically British subjects at birth. Martin Van Buren, born in 1782 in Kinderhook, N.Y., was the first president actually born in the U.S.
During the 2011 uprising in Egypt, police disappeared from the streets and were replaced by neighborhood watch committees. The groups have re-emerged during the violent stand-off between Egypt's military rulers and Islamist supporters of deposed President Morsi and people are reporting incidents of theft and harassment at checkpoints.
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been charged with murder in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf is back in Pakistan after a self-imposed exile. He denies the charges. Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council, speaks with Melissa Block about the implications of the case.
Audie Cornish talks to Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger. Rusbridger says he agreed to destroy hard drives containing information provided by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to be able to continue to report on the materials rather than surrender them to the courts. He says the newspaper has digital copies outside of the UK.
In Mexico, as students head back to the classroom this week, their teachers will have extra work ahead of them. They're going to have to correct more than a hundred errors found in the free textbooks handed out to millions of students.
The percentage of U.S. undergrads who rely on the federal government for financial aid soared above 50 percent in the most recent survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. The data show that for the first time, a majority of students got federal help.
NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports for our Newscast unit:
"The new figures from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 2007 to 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students who depend on federal loans and grants jumped from 47 percent to 57 percent.
Amanda Shires makes her second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. A gifted fiddler and singer-songwriter, Shires got her start in Texas, where as a teenager she performed with the Texas Playboys, the backing band for the legendary Bob Wills. Shires eventually relocated to Nashville, where she found herself backing Americana heavyweights Todd Snider, Justin Townes Earle and, perhaps most notably, Jason Isbell.
Six seconds isn't a lot of time. If you were to read this sentence out loud, by the time you finished, six seconds would be up. But the brevity of Vine, the app that lets users make and share six-second video clips, has attracted 40 million registered users since its January 2013 launch.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:21 pm
*According to an economist.
In her new book Expecting Better, economist and new mom Emily Oster parses the evidence behind all the recommendations given to pregnant women. She argues that, as an economist, she's trained to both examine evidence and think about trade-offs.