If you walk through Congress when it's in session you'll see teenage pages wandering the halls. Pages have been in Congress since its inception, but this week the leaders of the House of Representatives announced the page program is no more.
The pages are exceptionally well-dressed, with blue blazers and conservative haircuts. Who are they?
Well, one former page is NPR's own Guy Raz, weekend host of All Things Considered. Raz, who was a page in the spring semester of 1991, was fascinated by politics, and he wanted to see government up close.
The U.S. economy is spooking investors. But every day, all around the world, foreign businesses are still eager to use U.S. dollars — even when their business has nothing to do with the U.S.
When South Koreans buy Chilean wine, they convert their Korean won to U.S. dollars, and send those dollars to the winery in Chile. The winery then converts the dollars into Chilean pesos. This kind of thing is routine in global trade, according to Barry Eichengreen, an economist at U.C. Berkeley.
In the 2009 film Crazy Heart,Jeff Bridges played a country singer named Bad Blake. The character was fictional, but Bridges' passion for country music is real. Now he has recorded an album with some of the people who helped him portray a musician on-screen. His studio album, Jeff Bridges, comes out Aug. 16 on Blue Note Records.
The Berlin Wall has now been torn down for nearly as long (22 years) as it stood (28 years). Yet it was such a powerful symbol of the Cold War that it still evokes a strong response today, a half-century after it was constructed in the summer of 1961.
George Robinson's parents never married, and he didn't know his biological father. Growing up, Robinson always wondered what his dad was like. It took Robinson more than 40 years to find him, eventually tracking him down on the Internet, and it turns out his father never knew he had a son.
Robinson recently told his 19-year-old daughter, Katie, about finally meeting his father.
Two young women are accused of looting during the riots that have taken over several British cities this week. How they came to the attention of the courts provides a glimpse into the unrest — and how far the fractured country has to go to heal itself.
Based on everything we've seen so far in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, what should we expect from the candidates at Thursday's debate at Iowa State University in Ames?
In the two-hour Fox News/Iowa GOP debate to start at 9 pm ET, Mitt Romney, the frontrunner, will likely stick tightly to his message, which is that President Obama has failed to lead, and his approach, which is to play it safe.
This week, an online petition concerning Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie started making the rounds. The Facebook petition asked that Sesame Street allow the two male Muppets, who share a house and a bedroom, to be married on the show.
"We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful," the petition read. "Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way."
North Korea used to be an industrial powerhouse. Not anymore. Today, the country can't feed its own people. Its cities go dark every night for lack of electricity.
Yet helplessness wasn't the original plan. The original plan for the country's economy had a name. It was called "juche," or self-reliance. The idea was that all North Korean problems should be solved by North Koreans.
James "Jimmy" Weekley has lived in Pigeonroost Hollow in West Virginia for 70 years. He grew up surrounded by family and friends, part of a tight-knit community in the state's southern mountain valley. Like his grandfather, father, uncles and sons, Weekley worked as a coal miner. And like most West Virginians, Weekley saw coal as the economic lifeblood of his community.
The turmoil in the stock market could curb the spending spree that's been underway in the tech industry, making it for start-ups to raise capital.
Money was on the mind of a group of about two dozen, carefully selected entrepreneurs gathered in Seattle this week.
They're all participants in TechStars, a boot camp and incubator for start-ups. By the end of the three-month program, most of them will be looking for funding from angel investors or venture capitalists.
Three years ago, the global economy was brought to the brink by a near meltdown of the international banking system. Now we're in trouble again, but this time our economic woes stem largely from the actions of governments. Escaping from this crisis is more of a political challenge than a financial one.
That doesn't necessarily mean it will be any easier.
Long before you reach the circle of women, you hear them and feel their exuberance and warmth. These are the "grandmothers," fondly called les grandes-meres and dressed in brightly colored boubous — the voluminous traditional gowns with dramatic matching head wraps worn by the women of Senegal.
On today's All Things Considered NPR's Kelly McEvers brings us an update on a story she reported in May. The story was about how the Bahraini government had started targeting women in effort to quell a rebellion that raged in the country since February.
Kelly reported on one women who agreed to be interviewed by NPR only if she could whisper and talk in English so the government could not track her down.
Banana peels don't get a lot of respect. Though we here at Shots have never actually heard of anyone slipping on one, it seems they're stuck in the cultural lore as a nuisance, or even a hazard.
But a Brazilian researcher, who also happens to be a banana lover, has taken an interest in the lowly banana peel and is helping to remake its image. The banana peel, it turns out, can take water dirtied by heavy metals from mining operations or other activities and turn it to clean drinking water.
Researchers have created a new thin flexible sensor that can be applied with water, like a temporary tattoo. Measuring activity in the brain, heart and muscles, the innovation could cut down on the number of wires and cables medical personnel use to monitor patients, among other applications.
The electronics can bend, stretch and squeeze along with human skin, and maintain contact by relying on "van der Waals interactions" — the natural stickiness credited for geckoes' ability to cling to surfaces.
As the Republican presidential hopefuls converge on Iowa this week for Thursday night's debate and Saturday's influential straw poll, we caught up with Republican strategist Marc Lampkin, deputy campaign manager for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential bid and a former staffer to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) years before he became House speaker. His thoughts on the unofficial kickoff to the GOP primaries:
People with osteoarthritis in their knees aren't getting much exercise, a new study finds, even though exercise actually helps reduce pain and stiffness and can prevent future disability. What kind of exercise would help beat the pull of the couch? Try walking and swimming, doctors say.
It's not a huge surprise that exercise doesn't appeal to people with arthritis. Who wants to run with aching knees? It's human nature to want to coddle aches, not exorcise them.
Switzerland is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. While much of Europe is swamped by debt, massive unemployment and political turbulence, Switzerland's economy has been humming along nicely.
That's starting to cause problems in the form of its super-strong currency. The Swiss franc has become like gold, with investors snapping up francs as a hedge against the debt crisis in the eurozone and the volatility of financial markets worldwide.
The 12 members of the Debt "Super Committee" are now official, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named her three appointees Thursday. She chose Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Xavier Becerra of California, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
Three lawmakers who are typically forceful advocates for a progressive agenda were picked by Rep. Nancy Pelosi to fill out the supercommittee that will propose more than $1 trillion in federal spending cuts meant to reduce federal deficits.
Pelosi, the House minority leader, chose representatives Jim Clyburn of S. Carolina, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Xavier Becerra of California to represent House Democrats on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
With world markets in turmoil, many investors are turning to an age-old safe haven: gold. While the price has fluctuated this week, it has flirted with record highs. But what, exactly, makes this precious metal so valuable? We decided to explore the issue, in verse:
Economic collapse, adrift without maps, lost in a sea with no rudder, Wall Street is jaded, the U.S. downgraded, financial reports make us shudder.
Japan is removing its nuclear regulatory agency from the control of its trade ministry, dissolving a relationship that was criticized in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. The new nuclear safety agency will be under the environmental agency, Kyodo News reports.
The move, coming exactly five month after a powerful earthquake and tsunami set off a nuclear crisis in Japan, may help ease criticisms that regulators are too cozy with pro-nuclear interests.
Any time you report on promising but preliminary results about a new therapy for a lethal disease, you worry that you might be raising false hopes. So be warned: Although this is a "good news" story, it's preliminary. Don't expect to find it at a hospital near you any time soon.