Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.
To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.
Aleppo Today broadcasts are simple but relay crucial information — from tank movements to Internet connectivity — to the people who remain in the embattled northern Syrian town. It relies on a network of 70 correspondents to provide a 24-hour news stream.
Renee Montagne talks to Jason Stearns, author of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa, about the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Stearns is in the rebel-held city of Goma.
Protesters thronged to Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to protest the Egyptian president's recent decision to give himself and a committee drafting a new constitution unchecked power. It was the largest crowd at a demonstration in Egypt since Mohammed Morsi became president last summer and displayed a rare unity of the secular opposition in Egypt.
In Egypt, protests continue in reaction to President Mohammed Morsi's decree giving himself unchecked powers, even though Morsi has said the scope of those powers is limited. Questions remain over whether Morsi's powers are actually limited and whether he'll cede them if the country gets a new constitution, as he has promised. Renee Montagne talks with Tarek Masoud from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for insight into the political crisis in Egypt.
After an election in which Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill are making overtures about immigration reform.
House Speaker John Boehner says he's sure he can make a deal next year with the White House on a comprehensive bill. A steady procession of prominent GOP leaders are warning that Republicans won't win the White House again without improving their outreach to Latino voters. On Monday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio explained the problem this way.
Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep talks with Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss about the prospects of negotiating a bipartisan plan to avert the fiscal cliff and whether lawmakers can reach an agreement over how to raise revenue. Chambliss was a member of the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators that has tried in the past to reach a long-term deal to reduce the deficit.
People who know The Onion is a satirical newspaper got the joke when it named North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this year's "Sexiest Man Alive." Editors at China's People's Daily newspaper did not. They picked up the story with a 55-page photo gallery of the pudgy young dictator and excerpts from the Onion's spoof — like, "This Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true."
We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Amid the current federal budget debate, a handful of Republicans are breaking ranks. They say they're willing to consider tax revenue increases. That goes against a pledge written many years ago by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep talks with Florida Congressman-elect Ted Yoho about why, as a new lawmaker, he decided against signing the pledge.
A famous singer, a major general in the army and an AIDS activist, Peng Liyuan is expected to take on yet another role soon: first lady of China. Peng has been married for more than two decades to Xi Jinping, China's newly anointed leader.
Credit Lintao Zhang / Getty Images
Peng's husband, Xi Jinping, assumed the top leadership post in China's Communist Party earlier this month and is expected to become the country's president next year. The two met in 1986, when she was already a star and he was a deputy mayor.
Young supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin have staged several protests this month outside Mormon meeting houses, claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an "authoritarian sect" with connections to the CIA and FBI.
The protesters are members of the Young Guard, a youth organization of Putin's United Russia Party. They insist their actions have nothing to do with Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate and Mormon who called Russia the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the U.S.
Administrators at the adult education center are concerned that the GED overhaul will make it harder for many test takers to complete the exam.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR
Donald Desmond teaches Abdesa Bustina to use a computer at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center. The new GED will be offered only on computer, but many students here don't know how to use one.
When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.
"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."
A security guard walks along the edge of the reflecting pool, past the field of 168 empty chairs, at the Oklahoma City National Memorial in Oklahoma City.
Credit Kurt Gwartney for NPR
The Oklahoma City National Memorial sits on the site of the 1995 bombing. Some affected by the blast say they've been denied help from an assistance fund, even as millions of fund dollars remain unspent.
It has been almost two decades since a truck bomb blew apart the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. Almost immediately, donations poured in from around the world to help the community recover.
Today, millions of dollars remain in a private fund to assist victims and surviving family members. But some affected by the blast say that even with all that money available, they've been denied help.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:54 am
The holidays come in on a rush of cookies and snow (if you are so lucky) and parties and lists, and suddenly it's Jan. 1 and we're wiping the crumbs away and wondering where the year went. I'm currently tiptoeing into the season, my brain still basking in Indian summer despite the rain slated to descend on San Francisco in the coming weeks. "Ready" or not, the time is upon us.
Despite the Big Ten's expansion, Frank Deford says the conference will struggle to compete with pro football in the Northeast. The conference announced the addition of Maryland and Rutgers earlier this month.
What do anti-abortion beliefs, and patronizing Chick-fil-A, and a devotion to college sports have in common? Hmm.
Well, according to Trey Grayson, the former Kentucky secretary of state and U.S. Senate contender who is now the distinguished head of the Harvard Institute of Politics, those are the trio of giveaway markers to suggest that you are conservative.
Fikri Toros, a Turkish Cypriot businessman, says his family's company struggled for years because of embargoes and a weak Turkish lira. But its fortunes have improved with Turkey's economy.
Credit Florian Choblet / AFP/Getty Images
A man sells lottery tickets in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, last week. The island has been divided since 1974. Now, the once-poor north has strong economic growth while the once-wealthy south is set to become the fourth eurozone country receiving a bailout.
Credit Patrick Baz / AFP/Getty Images
A car drives past a billboard promoting a Russian bank on a main road in the southern Cypriot port of Limassol earlier this month. Russian and Ukrainian investors have a major presence in Cyprus.
Just a few years ago, Cyprus was considered a wealthy country, though that referred mostly to the Greek Cypriots on the southern part of the divided island. When Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008, analysts were wondering what would become of the much poorer north, which has been occupied by Turkey since a 1974 war.
Now, the Turks in northern Cyprus have the booming economy, while Greek Cypriots, crippled by exposure to ailing Greek banks, are waiting for final approval on what will be the fourth sovereign bailout of a eurozone country.
Mexico has a very high rate of school bullying. Many teachers, parents, and psychologists say it's connected to increased violence of the drug war. And it's not just that kids pick on each other more — the way they do it has changed, too, with children's games and bullying increasingly mimicking and glorifying organized crime.
We turn now to Confetti-gate. A student watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City found confetti dropping on him and his friends. That's to be expected. But then he took a closer look and saw on those strips of shredded paper Social Security numbers, names of police officers, license plates, even the route of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's motorcade.
The Miami Herald's old headquarters on Biscayne Bay have been sold to a developer who wants to tear it down. Historic preservationists are working to stop the demolition, saying the hulking, boxy building is a prime example of Miami modernism architecture from the 50's and 60's. Demolition proponents — which include some prominent architects — say it's a clumsy building with no sense of style and not a "MiMo" design worth saving.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to eliminate remaining barriers to women in combat. The military has been opening more jobs to women, but they are still barred from being assigned to combat missions even though many continue to face fire in Afghanistan.
Apple's new iPhone 5 may have been criticised for its glitch-ridden new maps program, but it may have inadvertently provided a diplomatic solution to China and Japan's ongoing row over disputed islands. When a user searches for the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing under the name Diaoyu, two sets of the islands appear alongside each other.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:30 pm
In the aftermath of the maps fiasco, the heads continue to roll at Apple. Today, there is news that one more employee has been let go. This time it was manager Richard Williamson, who oversaw the maps project, who lost his job.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with talk of immigration reform. Dealing with the estimated 12 million immigrants now in the U.S. illegally has long been a priority, primarily of Democrats. Three weeks ago, Latinos voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. As NPR's David Welna reports, Senate Republicans weighed in today, unveiling legislation that would give some undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.
Of the 50 million Hispanics in the U.S., nearly two-thirds are of Mexican origin. The second largest group - accounting for about 9 percent - are the nearly five million Puerto Ricans who live in the 50 states and the District of Columbia - that is, not on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. The island has been a U.S. territory since the Spanish-American War.