Sen. Kent Conrad has chaired the Senate Budget Committee since 2006. The Democratic senator from North Dakota is retiring in January 2013, but before leaving the Senate, he is a key player in the negotiations to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks with Sen. Conrad about the challenges to achieving a budget compromise.
It's widely known as the fiscal cliff, but some prominent Republicans have been calling it a "debt crisis." Economists agree such a crisis may be coming, but it's not here yet. Demographic changes are forcing a reckoning of how to pay for what people want from their government.
The Afghan construction industry has been one of the big winners since the fall of the Taliban. NATO and the international community have pumped billions of dollars into building roads, schools and bases.
With the drawdown of troops and NGOs, however, comes a drawdown in construction spending, and that has Afghan contractors scrambling to find new business.
Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 12:53 pm
The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. A patch to the alternative minimum tax. An increase in capital gains taxes.
As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, all of these are possible, but none certain. That uncertainty solicits many questions from anxious taxpayers. But, for accountants and financial planners, there are a few definitive answers.
Financial professionals who spoke with NPR say they are not strangers to uncertainty. When the Bush tax cuts were up for expiration two years ago, for instance, the feeling was similar.
Three years of euro-zone recession have badly hurt Spain's media sector, where some 8,500 journalists have lost their jobs. Dozens of newspapers have closed and the remaining publications are sharply cutting back as ads plummet.
That's led to warnings from journalists, who see a threat to press freedom at a time when Spaniards want to understand why their financial stability is unraveling.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a six-letter word containing "QU" somewhere inside it. You'll be given anagrams of the remaining four letters. You name the words (No answer is a plural or a word formed by adding "s.").
Last week's challenge from listener Adam Cohen of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Name two articles of apparel — things you wear — which, when the words are used as verbs, are synonyms of each other. What are they?
President Obama walks with his daughters Sasha, foreground, and Malia as they leave St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, on Oct. 28. An analysis of exit polls shows that those who claim no specific religious affiliation were a key Obama voting bloc in the presidential race.
The economic crisis in Greece is strangling the country's hospitals, where budgets have been slashed by more than half. As a result, nearly all doctors in both public and private hospitals have seen their pay cut, delayed or even frozen.
"On top of that, we lack basic supplies to do our jobs," says Vangelis Papamichalis, a neurologist at the Regional Hospital of Serres in northern Greece and a member of the doctors union here. "We run out of surgical gloves, syringes, vials for blood samples and needles to sew stitches, among other things."
Hear Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson And Guy Raz On 'All Things Considered'
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has annulled a decree that gave him sweeping new powers last month, an official announced overnight in Cairo. The referendum on the draft constitution is still set for Dec. 15.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says Morsi had been saying recently he would give up his expanded powers after the referendum.
The advantages to making products in the U.S. are starting to stack up — and companies are taking notice. Among them are Apple, which announced Thursday it plans to start producing some of its Mac computers here instead of in China, and General Electric, which is making big investments at home.
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been adapted for TV or film at least 25 times. It's a title role made great by screen legends Greta Garbo and Vivian Leigh, and now, it's Keira Knightley's turn.
Knightley reunites with Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright in a new adaptation of the book. Here, she talks to Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered,about bringing the title character to life.
In a startling move, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appears to have reversed a controversial presidential decree that granted him extraordinary powers and launched weeks of protest. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo. She's covering that story and joins us now. And, Soraya, tell us what's going on.
When Bayard Winthrop founded American Giant, he set up manufacturing in San Francisco. The sweatshirt company focuses on the details and skips over the distributors. Winthrop tells host Guy Raz how making the clothing in America actually helps his bottom line.
Hurricane Sandy wrecked hundreds of thousands of cars all along the New York and New Jersey shorelines, and could cost auto insurers around $800 million. That's not their only problem; disposing of these water-damaged vehicles is not so simple.
If you have comprehensive coverage on a damaged car, the insurance company gives you a check and the car disappears from your life. But then what?
Five years after Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as married couple Pete and Debbie. Now years into their marriage with two kids (played by Iris and Maude Apatow), Pete and Debbie approach 40 less than gracefully.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
An empty container ship waited near the Port of Los Angeles during the eight-day strike by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The stoppage put a halt to most of the work at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:04 pm
When clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reached an impasse in talks with management over job security last week, they took what has become something of a rare step: They went on strike.
Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about the week's news, of course. Maz, hold onto your hat, a shocking scientific discovery from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. According to psychology researchers, humans like what?
America is obsessed with Downton Abbey, the British series about a family so wealthy that they can't feed, clothe or care for themselves. Hugh Bonneville plays the patriarch of the family, and we've invited His Lordship to play a game we're calling, "Welcome to America, Lord Grantham."
Protesters gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians also gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo in demonstrations that turned violent as tensions grew over President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers.
Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 1:47 pm
Some outraged protesters remain around the Egyptian presidential palace in Cairo today, as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi defy his recent ruling granting himself executive powers that can't be questioned by a court.
Now there's word he may have signed a new order allowing soldiers to detain and arrest civilians, a right that's reserved for police officers.
Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 7:31 am
For the better part of this year, I haven't been able to shake a certain phrase from the back of my mind. It was written by the pianist and composer Vijay Iyer in the liner notes to his brilliant trio album Accelerando: "[T]his album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Tens of thousands of people were again protesting at the gates of the Presidential Palace in Cairo overnight. And yesterday, protesters broke through the barbed-wire barricades to climb on tanks that were stationed to keep them at bay.
In one of the greatest movies of all time, a World War I-era Englishman played by Peter O'Toole stops with his Arab guide at a well in the desert. As they drink, they look into the distance and see a lone figure in black, galloping toward them on a camel. The Arab man recognizes him and draws a gun. The lone figure brings him down with a single musket shot. Now that's an entrance.
The man on the camel was Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali.