Main Street in Webster City, Iowa, has so far survived the 2011 closure of an Electrolux factory. But retraining funds and unemployment are running out for former workers, leaving businesses worried that a serious downturn is ahead.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Electrolux's former warehouse and distribution center in Webster City, Iowa, is up for sale. The plant itself, across the street, will soon be demolished.
What becomes of a city of 8,000 people when its main employer leaves town? What does it look like, and what does it feel like? I set out to answer those questions on a trip to Webster City, Iowa, last month, as part of my report on the Swedish appliance maker Electrolux.
Electrolux's new plant in Memphis, Tenn., is the Swedish appliance company's most modern and high-tech facility. The factory will open this summer while an Electrolux plant in Quebec, Canada, is being shuttered.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton (left) with Jack Truong of Electrolux at the company's new plant. The city used a large incentive package to entice the company.
Credit Courtesy of Electrolux
Jerry Kloberdanz and seven family members were laid off when Electrolux closed its Webster City, Iowa, plant in 2011.
The United States lost close to 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. Now, slowly, some of those jobs are coming back. Over the past three years, the U.S. economy has gained a half-million manufacturing jobs.
But even with the manufacturing recovery, there are both winners and losers — and sometimes they're created by the same company.
Jean A. Stevens conducts the morning session's closing prayer during the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Salt Lake City.
There was no formal acknowledgment of the historic moment Saturday when Jean Stevens stood at a dark wooden podium framed by potted plants and colorful flowers in the cavernous Mormon conference center in Salt Lake City.
"Our beloved father in heaven," she began, as 20,000 faithful and silent Mormons in the building listened, and as millions of others (according to Church officials) watched on television screens around the world.
Buckle up — climate change could make this a bumpy flight.
That's according to a newly published study by two British scientists who say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make "clear air turbulence" — which can't be easily spotted by pilots or satellites — more common over the North Atlantic. That means the potential for gut-wrenching flights between the U.S., Europe and points east.
Picture a tiny town set along a creek in West Virginia. A mountain rises from the town's eastern edge, overlooking the 1,400 people living below. Then, July comes — and 50,000 people arrive on that mountain for the National Scout Jamboree.
The town is called Mount Hope. I've heard some call it "Mount Hopeless." The town went through the long, downward slump from the boom days of deep-mine coal, when it was a grand, small-town capital of coal mining.
Blooming magnolia trees are seen along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Saturday. This week, President Obama is speaking out on gun control, and will release his proposal for the nation's budget.
Congress returns from a two-week recess amid reports that a gun deal in the Senate may have gained late momentum; a focus on immigration to include a rally on Capitol Hill; and a budget proposal from President Obama that already has some in his own party fuming.
Margaret Thatcher, the iconic former British prime minister, died Monday at age 87 after suffering a stroke. Although she was a towering presence on the world stage in the 1980s, often standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow conservative President Ronald Reagan, some people may have forgotten her contributions.
We decided to highlight five things you ought to know about her:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Tensions between North and South Korea show no sign of abatement. Today the North Korean government officially suspended operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and withdrew all of its more than 50,000 workers. Many consider the complex the last remaining symbol of North and South Korean cooperation.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Margaret Thatcher spoke with utter conviction in her principles and absolute certainty in her actions. If she inspired passionate opposition, she couldn't care less. She reveled in her enemies and made them easily.
This is FRESH AIR. David Kuo died Friday of brain cancer at the age of 44. We're going to hear an excerpt of my interview with him. When President Bush created the office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in 2001, Kuo, a conservative, evangelical Christian, became its deputy director. When he left the office in 2003, he accused the Bush administration of manipulating conservative Christians to get the Christian vote.
As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crash, and Europe is buffeted by a series of banking crises, attention has focused on the presidents and prime ministers who've tried to cope with it all. Journalist Neil Irwin, an economics writer for The Washington Post, says there's an elite group of policymakers who can make enormously important decisions on their own, often deliberating in secret, and in many ways unaccountable to voters.
Around midnight ET Monday, we should know whether something that's only happened once might happen again.
If the University of Louisville's men win the Division I basketball championship — they play Michigan in a game set to start at 9:23 p.m. ET on CBS TV — then there's a chance that this year both the men's and women's trophies will go to the same school.
As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.
Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.
Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 12:18 pm
Editor's note: The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus and is not being further identified for safety concerns.
The major blast that rocked Damascus at midday Monday took place in what has come to be called the "Square of Security," an area of about a dozen urban neighborhoods or so that are under tight government security.
It's also home to major government buildings, including the Parliament, various ministries, major intelligence branches and foreign embassies, now mostly closed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (far left) looks on Monday in Hanover, Germany, as one of three women who stripped off their tops protests his appearance at a trade fair. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in the green jacket.
From the NPR Newscast: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on the protest in Hanover
At a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, on Monday, three women protesters got quite close to Russian President Vladimir Putin before stripping off their blouses and shouting expletives at the Russian leader.
Putin, who was joined at the fair by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, later sarcastically thanked the women for calling the news media's attention to the gathering.
"As to this action, I liked it," Putin said, according to a German translator. The Russian leader added that the protesters were "pretty girls" and said he couldn't hear what they were screaming.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We've been talking a lot about college readiness on this program. Often the focus is kids from tough backgrounds. Now, though, we're hearing that even some high achieving college students just aren't college ready. We'll talk about why that might be later in the program.
A new paper in the journal Nature says scientists have been seriously underestimating the amount of dengue around the globe.
The study says there could be as many as 400 million dengue infections worldwide each year making it more prevalent than malaria. This is four times higher than the current dengue prevalence estimate of the World Health Organization.