When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.
The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."
On its debut album, the L.A. band Fool's Gold presented an unusual marriage of influences, pairing African melodies with Hebrew lyrics. The record won over legions of fans and caught the attention of critics, who described it with words like "beguiling" and "joyous."
Fool's Gold's newest album is called Leave No Trace, and there's little trace left of Hebrew on it — the lyrics are mostly in English. In a conversation with NPR's David Greene, vocalist Luke Top and guitarist Lewis Pesacov, the band's two founding members, explain the new direction.
Republicans and Democrats quickly doled out blame to each other and China weighed in angrily after the first-ever downgrade in America's sterling credit rating — an expected but unsettling move that further clouds prospects for the recovery of the fragile U.S. economy.
There's no such thing as an uneventful week at the White House. Yet even by the climactic standards of this presidency, the past week has been a big one.
President Obama might have hoped the biggest news story of the week would be his 50th birthday. Not even close.
When Monday dawned, it was still unclear whether the U.S. would run out of money to pay its bills. With hours to go until the deadline Tuesday, Congress finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Obama announced the resolution in the White House Rose Garden.
People might be shaken to wake to the news today of the nation's downgraded credit rating. But yesterday's unemployment report reflects a much more personal impact for many Americans. Not having a job in the United States can feel like getting punched in your stomach every morning. It can literally ache and take your breath away.
There are lots of people who may disappear in the monthly unemployment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies 8.4 million Americans as "involuntary part-time workers."
If the monthly jobless numbers aren't saying much, the longer-term employment trends in the United States are speaking volumes about the economy.
Those trends aren't often mentioned. The number of people who are long-term unemployed remains unchanged — more than 6 million people. The number of "discouraged workers" also remains the same. Those are people who are not looking for work because they believe there are no jobs.
The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began this week in Cairo more than six months after the start of anti-government protests that ultimately proved to be his undoing. The ailing 83-year-old Mr. Mubarak was wheeled into court on a hospital bed. From behind the bars of a courtroom cage, he heard and denied charges of corruption and of authorizing the killing of protesters. NPR's Mike Shuster joins us from Cairo. Mike, thanks for being with us.
China, the biggest holder of U.S. treasuries, is reacting strongly to the downgrade of U.S. debt. China's official news agency says the country "has every right now to demand that the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets." NPR's Frank Langfitt is following reaction in Asia, and talks with host Scott Simon.
Thirty-one American troops and seven Afghans are reported dead in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. If confirmed, it would be the highest number of Americans killed in a single incident since the war in Afghanistan began 10 years ago. NPR Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman is following the story, and talks with host Scott Simon.
Standard & Poor's has lowered its long-term credit rating on the United States from AAA to AA-plus. It also says the outlook on the long-term rating is negative. The ratings agency says its action comes because of the prolonged controversy over raising the debt ceiling and other fiscal policy. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR business reporter Tamara Keith about the downgrade.