A season for being with friends and family can be hard on those who are lonely; a season of giving can be hard on those who go without. All the tinsel and lights can also make people blink, shudder and wonder about which of life's gifts they'll never find under the tree — or which they'll unwrap and find fleeting and fragile.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announces he will leave Washington in the new year. While NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving wonder if this will enhance DeMint's already-estimable influence in Republican circles, it also opens up the possibility of the appointment of an African-American GOP senator — only the second one since Reconstruction. Plus: Does Ashley Judd have a shot against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky?
Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 2:06 pm
Dozens of medical, women's health and reproductive health groups marked the first anniversary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision to maintain age restrictions on the sale of the morning-after birth control pill without a prescription by urging her to reconsider that decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that for the first time it will tackle the issue of same-sex marriage. Defying most expectations, the justices said they will examine two cases, presenting the possibility that the court could decide all the basic issues surrounding same-sex marriage in one fell swoop.
Welcome to the 21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home — and do homework at school. It's called classroom flipping, and it's slowly catching on in schools around the country.
When Jessica Miller, a high school sophomore in rural Bennett, Colo., sits down to do her chemistry homework, she pulls out her notebook. Then she turns on an iPad to watch a video podcast. Whenever the instructor changes the slide, Miller pauses the video and writes down everything on the screen.
A nurse at a London hospital who took a hoax call about Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge was found dead on Friday. Jacintha Saldhana let through a call from an Australian radio station purporting to be the Queen calling about the ailing Duchess.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:00 pm
Syrian rebels declared the Damascus International Airport a "military zone" on Friday as part of their push to seize important symbolic and strategic locations held by President Bashar Assad's government.
Rebels say the airport is a camp for Syrian government soldiers and is the main transit point for weaponry believed to be supplied by Russia and Iran.
United Nations climate talks ran into overtime on Friday night, as diplomats pressed for whatever small advantage they could achieve.
As usual, the talks, which are being held in Doha, Qatar, involve closely interwoven issues. They include the usual wrangling over money, as well as early efforts in a multiyear process that is supposed to result in a new climate treaty.
Part of that involves finding a graceful way to phase out the Kyoto treaty, which has not proved to be a successful strategy for dealing with a warming planet.
More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.
In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.
In the age of text messages, Twitter and Gchat, it's easy to consider the art of letter writing a lost one. But if you've got money to spare, why not lose yourself in the words of someone famous - like artist Vincent Van Gogh?
JOSEPH MADDALENA: (Reading) I myself believe that the annoyances one experiences in the ordinary routine of life do as much good as bad. The thing that makes on fall ill, overcome by discouragement today, that same thing gives us the energy, once the illness is over, to get up and walk to discover the next day.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
The nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, that's the lowest it's been in four years. The Labor Department's latest jobs report released this morning showed employers added more jobs than expected.
But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, economists warn these new numbers aren't what they appear to be.
Hollywood can make any actor look imposing by shooting from a low angle or building sets with short door frames. But the fact is that we want our heroes big and our villains bigger, and the average male actor is about the same size as the average American male — roughly 5 foot 9 1/2. And some very "big" stars have been a good deal less than that.
The remaining winner of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot has come forward to claim their share of the prize, according to lottery officials in Arizona, where the winning ticket was sold, according to ABC 15 TV in Phoenix.
The Nov. 28 drawing produced two winning tickets: one in Arizona, and one in Missouri, where Cindy and Mark Hill have already claimed their share of the prize.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:05 pm
The Supreme Court has decided to take up cases involving California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The justices' rulings on the cases are likely to be announced next June, after arguments are heard in the spring. Advocates on both sides of the issue were welcoming the news.