Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:04 pm
About 1.3 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment benefits today. This means anyone who has been out of work and getting benefits for than six months will stop receiving their weekly check.
As The New York Times frames the story, beyond drastically curtailing a safety-net for jobless workers, allowing the benefits to expire sets up a "major political" fight for the coming new year. The paper adds:
Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:57 pm
In the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life, a despondent George Bailey considers suicide on Christmas Eve, thinking that he will be worth more dead than alive to his family because of his life insurance. Suicide is widely thought to be an increased risk around the holidays. But there's plenty of data to show that's just not true.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:19 pm
Connecticut State Police have released an exhaustive report on last year's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, offering some new details on the massacre that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
Photographs taken by investigators of the home that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza shared with his mother show "numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it," The Associated Press writes.
On Feb. 21, Alexandra Wolff ate steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Later that night, sitting in her room, she spent 20 minutes scanning pictures in InStyle magazine.
She remembers those things, just as she remembers that on Aug. 2 she stopped at Target and bought Raisin Bran; and on April 17 she wore a white button-down shirt; and on Oct. 2 she went to TGI Fridays and spoke to the hostess, who was wearing black leather flats with small bows on them.
It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.
The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:56 pm
Thailand's army chief on Friday called for calm amid unrest between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but he refused to rule out the possibility of a military coup to restore stability.
Asked whether the army would seize the government for the second time in less than a decade, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said: "That door is neither open nor closed ... it will be determined by the situation."
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:30 pm
Egyptian security forces carried out widespread arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members just days after the government labeled the group, which supports ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a terrorist organization.
Three people were reported killed in Muslim Brotherhood-led protests and some 265 people were arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown, which came as the political group renewed calls for massive anti-government rallies.
This isn't our first live episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour: Almost exactly a year earlier, we recorded a show in an abandoned bank during an NPR merchandise sale. But this one, recorded Dec. 10 at NPR's Studio One, is the first live show we've recorded on an official studio soundstage, complete with a seated crowd, food and drink for sale, and tickets that had to be purchased in advance.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:51 pm
A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk gathering of the telephone records of millions of Americans is legal — less than two weeks after another federal judge ruled that the program violated the Constitution.
"The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. ...