4:59am

Thu July 28, 2011
Your Money

The Debt Standoff And Your 401(k)

iStockphoto.com

The stock market has been sliding lower all week as the debt-ceiling standoff in Washington continues. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 200 points, or 1.6 percent, on Wednesday.

Most analysts still predict that a compromise will be reached before the government defaults on its debts. But many Americans saw what happened to their retirement savings and stock portfolios in the financial crisis just three years ago. And some are getting nervous about their 401(k)s.

Read more

4:59am

Thu July 28, 2011
National Security

National Guard Members Keep An Eye On Day Jobs

More than 1,300 soldiers are deploying to Iraq this month for the Kentucky National Guard's final mission there: helping to shut down U.S. military operations. But some soldiers are coping with not only the pressure of deployment, but also the stress of putting their civilian jobs on hold.

The Kentucky National Guard's 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade will primarily be in charge of convoy security in Iraq, making sure U.S. equipment gets safely to Kuwait and onto ships. They represent half of the 2,600 troops they'll be joining from Oregon, Virginia and Utah.

Read more

4:59am

Thu July 28, 2011
Around the Nation

Somalis In America Strive To Help Those Back Home

Iman Warsame (left) and Fardosa Ahmed drum up business for their car wash; proceeds from the event (below) went to help drought victims in Somalia.
Sasha Aslanian Minnesota Public Radio

As drought engulfs the Horn of Africa, Somalia is among the hardest-hit nations because of the ongoing civil war there. With few international aid groups or media on the ground, many Somalis living in the large refugee community in Minneapolis feel they must be the voice for famine victims. After all, many say, they have their own memories of the hunger and violence they escaped.

Sultan Aliyoow is consumed by the suffering in his homeland. In this afternoon, he's going door to door to Somali-owned businesses in South Minneapolis.

Read more

4:57am

Thu July 28, 2011
School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis

Why Dropout Data Can Be So Unreliable

Accurate dropout figures are very hard to find because most states don't adequately collect or analyze the data.

Part of the problem is that every state has had a different definition for dropout. In some states, for example, students who leave school aren't counted as having dropped out if they enroll in adult education classes like night school.

Many schools don't count kids as dropouts if they enroll in a GED program. The U.S. Department of Education says GED recipients should be counted as dropouts but that rule isn't uniformly applied.

Read more

4:54am

Thu July 28, 2011
School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis

A High School Dropout's Midlife Hardships

Kenny Buchanan, 44, dropped out of school as a teenager. He lost his job when the economy collapsed.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Fifth in a five-part series

Today, the people who seem to be hurting the most in our sputtering economy are dropouts in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Despite their work experience, some can't even apply for a new job without proof that they completed high school. One man has thought a lot about his education and the decisions he made as a teenager.

Read more

4:52am

Thu July 28, 2011
Politics

States Warily Watch Debt-Ceiling Impasse

The debt-ceiling debate in Washington is being watched closely in state capitals, as a U.S. default, or a lowering of the country's bond rating, will have a ripple effect in states and communities across the nation.

In states and localities, the sometimes-abstract debate in Washington over the debt ceiling hits closer to home. Although almost every state must balance their budgets, they also rely on borrowing — selling bonds to investors for everything from meeting day-to-day cash-flow needs to funding major capital improvements.

Read more

4:00am

Thu July 28, 2011
Business

Obama To Announce New Fuel Economy Standards

Automakers and the White House have reached agreement on a new fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks, sources tell NPR. The new standard would be phased in beginning with model year 2017 and fully implemented by 2025. The president is expected to formally announce the agreement tomorrow.

4:00am

Thu July 28, 2011
Around the Nation

A Year Later, Michigan Oil Spill Cleanup Continues

One year after an oil spill, workers are still cleaning up the bottom of the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan. An estimated 840,000 gallons leaked from a broken pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy. Life for those living near the accident site in Michigan has not returned to normal yet, and it probably won't for some time.

4:00am

Thu July 28, 2011
Africa

Aid Trickles In To Famine-Ravaged Somalia

The U.N. has begun airlifting emergency food relief supplies into the Somalia's capital after an initial delay. Families fleeing hunger and conflict in other parts of the failed state continue to arrive in droves in Mogadishu, seeking refuge and food.

With a famine declared in two areas, Somalia is hardest hit by a devastating drought affecting 11 million people in the Horn of Africa.

Read more

4:00am

Thu July 28, 2011
NPR Story

House GOP Debt Plan Faces Make-Or-Break Vote

Congress is still scrambling to vote on a deficit plan that could solve the current debt ceiling crisis. On Thursday, Speaker John Boehner is expected to present his plan for a vote in the House of Representatives. The Republican leader has called on his GOP brethren to get in line and support the proposal, while Senate Majority leader Harry Reid waits in the wings with a plan of his own.

Pages