In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.
Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.
And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.
"I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person."
That's how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman's choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 5:11 am
Details of the massacre of 16 Afghans by a U.S. soldier last spring are emerging in a courtroom near Tacoma, Wash., where survivors of that attack traveled to confront Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. A six-member military jury is hearing testimony at a sentencing hearing for Bales.
At least seven people made the trip from Afghanistan to Washington state to speak at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Bales' Army unit is based.
When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.
Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.
It's back-to-school season for college students — and President Obama plans to be right there with them.
The president will spend the next two days on a bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania that includes stops at three colleges and a high school. At each stop, he'll be talking about ways to make college more affordable.
The president's big black bus will make its first stop at the University at Buffalo on Thursday — the same day incoming freshmen will be moving in, hauling suitcases and mini-refrigerators.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And a radio confession here. We had a hole in our program right here. We didn't have a piece just the right length to fill out this segment. It happens occasionally. Well, all summer, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has been helping us get rid of these little holes with some short stories about holes.
JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Today, we're going to examine the question, what is a hole anyway? What's it made of?
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with other tech giants to pursue the goal of providing Internet service to five billion people in the developing world. The group, called Internet.org, says data can be used more efficiently and participating partners can work cooperatively to make access to the web affordable in emerging economies. Zuckerberg makes the case on his Facebook page for how a global Internet infrastructure can be created. But the document doesn't have tangible commitments from Facebook or other participating companies.
"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."
Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 7:53 am
A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.
The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:09 am
For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.
Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.
Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.
Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.