NPR's business news begins with credit card debt rising.
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MONTAGNE: Americans are running up more debt on their credit cards, and that could be a good sign. The average American had almost $5,000 of credit card debt in the third quarter of 2012, up almost 5 percent over the previous quarter.
And in Austin, Texas, after a five-year absence, Formula One racing returned to the U.S. A Formula One track called the Circuit of the Americas, was inaugurated over the weekend in a race won by Lewis Hamilton. Formula One is immensely popular in Europe and much of the world, but it's failed to win a big audience in the U.S., dwarfed by the homegrown culture of NASCAR and the Indy circuit.
Hostess Brands today begins the process of selling off its assets in a bankruptcy court in New York. That process has struck fear in the hearts of lovers of the sugary-sweet Hostess products, like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. Sensing a Twinkie panic and a possible shortage, over the weekend some entrepreneurs took to eBay, offering up many Hostess brands at some very exorbitant prices.
President Obama paid a historic visit to Myanmar today. The southeast Asian country, also known as Burma, is tiptoeing towards democracy after almost 50 years in military rule. Mr. Obama met with the former leader who is now the president of Burma and with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not a member of parliament after years of house arrest. The visit is the centerpiece of the president's three-day Asian tour, which is meant to underscore the United States' growing involvement in the region.
It's an anniversary that most Americans can celebrate — the birthday of the big-box store. Discount shopping as we know it began 50 years ago. In 1962, enterprising retailers invented Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart.
The White House and Congress continue to work on a deal that avoids the fiscal cliff and cuts deficits in the long run. One of the biggest hurdles is President Obama's proposal to raise tax rates for the wealthy.
Republicans think a better course would be to raise revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions for high-income people. The question is, could that method raise enough money.
President Obama is now about to enter into a series of difficult talks on the so-called debt ceiling and the impending fiscal cliff. Lawmakers have until Dec. 31 to come up with a deal to prevent $700 billion from being cut from the federal budget.
When the Northwestern grunge-rock scene suddenly gained national attention in the early 1990s, Soundgarden had already been around for years. But by 1997, both the band and the musical movement it had helped to define had atomized.
Back in the 17th century, right around the time when the ideas of great thinkers like Descartes and Newton and Hobbes began to shape the world, a Jesuit priest named Athanasius Kircher also tried to make his mark.
Kircher was something of a jack-of-all-trades. He wrote more than 30 books; he was a philosopher, an inventor, a historian, a scientist. Back in his day, everyone knew about him. But it didn't help his reputation that many of his theories and inventions just couldn't hold water.
There's a public middle school in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Intermediate School 318, or I.S. 318. Like others in the area, it's a Title I school, which means it has a poverty level that's more than 65 percent. But unlike other schools, it's got the highest-ranked junior-high chess team in the nation. In fact, Brooklyn IS 3-18 has won more than 30 national chess titles.
I.S. 318 is the subject of a new documentary called Brooklyn Castle. The film has picked up audience awards at the SXSW and Hot Docs film festivals.
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:45 am
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continued Sunday — with one missile strike flattening a two-story building in Gaza City, killing at least 11 people, including women and children; another hit a media building and injured six journalists. Israel says its actions have been prompted by a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, targeting Israeli cities. Meanwhile, diplomatic negotiations are under way, but Israel is continuing preparations for a ground invasion.
Fierce fighting has continued in recent days between the Syrian Army and rebels in the suburbs. The Syrian Opposition has been fragmented, but this month its factions reached a new understanding and appointed a leader. Host Rachel Martin discusses latest developments in the Syria crisis with NPR's Deborah Amos and Kelly McEvers.
The election has also triggered some soul searching among evangelical Christian voters. Now, one of the movement's top leaders says it's time to stop the war rhetoric and start reaching out for compromise. Host Rachel Martin talks with Jim Daly, the president and CEO of Focus on the Family, about the post-election direction of the conservative evangelical movement.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with British writer Tessa Hadley about her new collection of short stories, Married Love and Other Stories. Hadley teaches creative writing at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and her stories regularly appear in The New Yorker magazine.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Shankar Vedantam about the psychology behind the fiscal cliff negotiations. Vedantam says humans evolved as short-term thinkers, which makes dealing with the long-term problem of the national debt particularly difficult.
Isaiah Sheffer, host of public radio show Selected Shorts and the driving force behind Symphony Space in New York, has died. In the late 1970s, Sheffer turned an abandoned theater in New York City into a thriving arts complex. He died after a stroke at the age of 76.
An unusual list of words popped up recently on China's Twitter equivalent, Weibo. The words are in English, but they've gone viral on the Chinese Twittersphere. Chinese "netizens" have come up with satirical misspellings of "democrazy" and "freedamn."
At nearly 80, Willie Nelson remains impressively prolific: lots of songs, lots of kids and, fittingly, lots of autobiographies. The country singer's latest memoir is called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, after a song on his Heroes album, released earlier this year. Nelson says those seeking earth-shattering revelations about his life should look elsewhere; that wasn't his intention in writing the book.
Vegetarians don't need your sympathy on Thanksgiving, says Dan Pashman, host of a food podcast and blog called The Sporkful. Pashman is an omnivore, but he spoke to vegetarians and found "it actually makes them feel uncomfortable when a host goes to extreme lengths to make something special just for them."