Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:38 pm
On Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered aired an interview with Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman. He talked about the $94,000 that a buyer recently paid at auction for one bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 55 Year Old whisky.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:18 am
As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."
As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:25 pm
If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.
Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.
Good morning. I'm David Greene, with news that Noah's Ark has docked in the Netherlands. Well, sort of. Johan Huibers built a full-scale replica of the ark on a river, staying as true as he could to God's instructions to Noah. The giant floating hulk opened to the public with some real animals: rabbits and parakeets. The bison and tigers are life-sized sculptures. There are modern creature comforts, like two cinemas and a restaurant. And on opening day, by God, it rained. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The spirit of Hanukah is aglow in the desert. For the seventh straight year, a man in Phoenix is lighting up the tips of a giant cactus to celebrate the holiday. Mel Kline's cactus is called a saguaro. It has a middle trunk and eight arms, perfect for a menorah. And at 30 feet tall, it attracts hundreds of visitors. The Arizona Republic reports that Kline bought the cactus 35 years ago. His wife wanted a maple tree. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 6:35 am
Some books paint pictures with words; others use pictures to render us speechless. No matter the method, you'll lose yourself in the best possible way leafing through the volumes in this year's list of recommended gift books. If pages were like musical notes, these titles would produce a pretty great mashup. Envision one of photographer Cindy Sherman's crones in the forest of a Brothers Grimm tale. Set one of graphic novelist Chris Ware's "building stories" inside, say, the curvaceous contours of an architectural masterwork by Frank Gehry.
A right-to-work protester walks past Michigan state police at the capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. The Michigan Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP
Thousands rally at the state capitol grounds in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday. The crowd is protesting right-to-work legislation.
Michigan's Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The proposed right-to-work law has infuriated union leaders in a state considered the heart of the union movement.
Republican leaders pushing the bill closely watched the fights over labor rights going on across the Midwest, but it wasn't Ohio or Wisconsin that prompted them into action. Many leaders in the public and private sector looked to their neighbor to the immediate south.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
British banking giant, HSBC, will pay 1.9 billion dollars to the U.S. to settle allegations of money laundering. In a statement released overnight, the bank said it accepts responsibility for past mistakes. U.S. officials will have further details of the settlement later today. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.
The Federal Trade Commission has released a report taking to task the makers of mobile apps for children. It says apps are not transparent enough about the personal information they collect. It's the latest sign the Obama administration is concerned about children's privacy online.
Let's take that idea of playing out a little further now. The budget standoff has been described in all sorts of dramatic terms. So we decided to look into what the great works of the stage can tell us about this debate over tax hikes and spending cuts, and how it will play out. Think of it as "The Fiscal Cliff for English Majors."
NPR White House correspondent - and English major - Ari Shapiro has this take.
As we head into the holiday season, political leaders are un-merrily locked in a battle over how to cut federal spending and raise revenue - and this could mean meddling with tax deductions that many Americans hold dear.
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So this week and next, we're taking a closer look at individual deductions and tax credits that might be on the chopping block.
A new report out this morning finds women are still not making much progress moving up the corporate ladder. Only a small number of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies are women, and the nonprofit group Catalyst shows the number has not changed much in years. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
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The warnings have come from the White House, Western capitals and the U.N. Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, must not use chemical weapons against the rebels and his people.
Publicly, Syrian officials deny having a chemical stockpile. They insist they would never use one if they had one. But U.S. officials have said there are signs that the Syrian army is readying its chemical arsenal for use.
President Obama and House speaker John Boehner have been holding private conversations about how to avoid the fiscal cliff, but still no deal. That has many in Washington talking about how it wasn't always so difficult to get things done. For some insight, we called John Danforth. He's a former Republican senator from Missouri and spent decades forging deals across the aisle, including the 1986 tax reform law under President Reagan. As he sees it, lawmakers aren't approaching the current problem from the right angle.
Lines of communication remain open in an effort to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," according to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner.
If no deal is reached between now and the end of the year, would the consequences be that drastic?
To answer that question, let's imagine it's January and the nation has gone off the "fiscal cliff." You don't really feel any different and things don't look different, either. That's because, according to former congressional budget staffer Stan Collender, the cliff isn't really a cliff.
Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey announced an updated version of her popular book club, this time called Book Club 2.0. Her first pick, Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, experienced best-seller list success thanks to what some people are calling the "Oprah bump." And last week Winfrey announced her second pick, a novel called The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a first-time author.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks about expanding Medicaid during a speech to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 14. The federal government hasn't set a deadline for states to decide on their Medicaid expansion plans.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing delivers his State of the City address on March 7. If Bing and the City Council can't agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power over Detroit's finances.
Detroit officials face a tough vote Tuesday as they try to keep their city from going over its own "fiscal cliff." If the mayor and City Council cannot agree on a plan to reduce the city's budget deficit, state officials are poised to take away their power and assume total control over Detroit's finances.
It's been a continuing vicious cycle: Detroit's population exodus, lost tax revenue and chronic mismanagement have left the city burning through cash to the point where the state of Michigan has to provide funding to help the city meet payroll for the next few months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who was recently fired, review military officers on Moscow's Red Square in May. Putin's decision to sack Serdyukov has touched off widespread speculation on the motive.
In a statement on Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department said it will launch an underwritten public offering to sell its remaining 234,169,156 common stock shares in insurer American International Group Inc., better known as AIG.
The U.S. government bought the controlling stake in the company as part of the $182 billion bank bailout in 2008. The sale would bring an end to the government's run as the company's largest shareholder, which represented a 16-percent ownership in the company.
By the year 2030, for the first time in history, a majority of the world's population will be out of poverty. Middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector. Asia will enjoy the global power status it last had in the Middle Ages, while the 350-year rise of the West will be largely reversed. Global leadership may be shared, and the world is likely to be democratizing.