From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.
In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 3:52 pm
People around the world want the same thing from their doctors. First, do no harm. Second, take a look at this weird bump and tell me if I should get worried.
The job is basically the same in many countries around the world. But the pay is wildly different. The median salary for U.S. doctors is about $250,000 a year. In Western Europe, it's less than half that. In developing countries, the salaries are even lower.
In Youngstown, Ohio, the owner of an oil and natural gas drilling company has been charged with a violating the Federal Clean Water Act. He's accused of dumping tens of thousands of gallons of drilling waste water into a storm sewer that eventually runs into a local river.
NPR's business news starts with Europe's rocky economy.
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WERTHEIMER: It was a tough three months for the eurozone at the end of last year. The area fell deeper into recession.
And as NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's expected to remain in recession well into 2013.
JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The output of the eurozone fell six-tenths of a percent in the final three months of last year, according to a report from Eurostat. The decline translates to an economy contracting at a 2.3 percent annual rate.
Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:40 am
This week's debacle on the Carnival Triumph is a setback that may cost the company as much as $80 million and hurt the industry's image. Carnival says passengers who were on the Triumph the last five days without power were miserable, but at least they were safe. Industry watchers say Carnival generally has handled the mishap well, but that the industry may need to rethink how it deal with events like power outages on floating cities than can carry more than 5,000 people.
Conventional wisdom says fewer airlines mean higher fares and fewer flights. But experts say the American Airlines-U.S. Airways proposed merger is a mixed bag. Past mergers haven't led to significantly higher fares, but will this time be different?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.
NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has put the state on what he calls a "glide path to zero" income tax. But that glide path is far from being clear or smooth.
On the face of it, Brownback seems to enjoy a remarkably strong political position. He's a conservative Republican, flanked by GOP supermajorities in both legislative chambers. His allies helped purge moderate Republicans from the state Senate in last year's election.
"I think the road is open," Brownback says. "I think we do provide an alternative model. I think we do provide a red-state model."
The proposed marriage of American Airlines and US Airways announced Thursday is likely the last in a series of industry mega-mergers, but history suggests combining two big carriers isn't easy.
"The history of airline mergers in the U.S. is good, bad and ugly," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at the consulting firm Hudson Crossing. He and many others point to the 2008 union of Delta and Northwest as the best merger in recent memory.
The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.
When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.
At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."