Troops from the EU Naval Force warship FS Aconit intercepting a group of suspected pirates off Somalia in March 2012. Multinational naval patrols in the area have been partly credited with reducing incidents of piracy.
The maritime watchdog says there were 264 strikes against shipping worldwide last year — a drop of 40 percent since attacks peaked in 2011. And there were just 15 attacks off the coast of Somalia; by comparison, that same area saw 75 attacks in 2012 and 237 the year before.
President Obama today heads to Raleigh, North Carolina to talk about the economy. He is expected to call upon Congress to try again to extend federal unemployment benefits. In Washington yesterday, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill that would have restored the benefits that ended last month for 1.3 million Americans. But in North Carolina, a state law has prevented people there from getting the benefits since last July. North Carolina Public Radio's Leoneda Inge examines the impact of shortened help.
In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.
Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:01 pm
Reports of white smoke from a battery compartment have temporarily grounded a Boeing 787 in Japan, nearly a year after all the new airliners were grounded owing to a problem with batteries overheating. Today's incident happened on an airliner at Tokyo's Narita Airport that had no passengers aboard.
It was during a preflight checkout that a mechanic saw smoke emerging from the underside of a Japan Airlines 787, according to Japan's NHK TV News
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, last week we talked with a former teacher who said that teachers of color are more likely to quit than others. And she offered some thoughts about why that is. This week, we get a different perspective from another teacher, also of color, who has 13 years in and is still going strong. And we'll hear from her in a few minutes.
Boeing just extended its contract in Washington, keeping more than 10,000 jobs in state, partly by adjusting employees' pension plans. Last week, we heard on this program how these kinds of deals can cripple the middle class as corporations shift benefit costs from their books into the pockets their workers.
Today, Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics offers a counterpoint to David Greene, beginning with a breakdown of what that means for workers.
The recent disclosure that a large trove of customer information was stolen from Target, and now also from Neiman Marcus, points to growing vulnerabilities in cybersecurity. And experts say the problem is becoming more difficult to combat.
Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:22 pm
For the first time in history, more than half the members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of financial disclosure reports conducted by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Of the 534 current members of the House and Senate, 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012 – up from 257 members in 2011. The median net worth for members of the House and Senate was $1,008,767.
Financial writer Tim Harford, author of the new book The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, says the poverty line for a single American in 2012 was $30.52 per day. But Harford, talking with NPR's David Greene, says it's also about how people view themselves and how they're viewed by other people.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. If you use a credit card - and most of us do - it's hard not to be a little concerned. Discount retailer Target continues to apologize for a massive security breach over the holidays. And just yesterday, the high-end retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed that shoppers at its stores have been compromised as well. Independent investigative reporter Brian Krebs was the first to report on both these security breaches. He joins us to talk more. Welcome to the program, Brian.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Yesterday's jobs report came as something of a surprise after several months of positive economic news. Employers added just 74,000 jobs. Economists had been expecting businesses to generate nearly three times that many. A few people were heartened by the fact that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008. As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, the numbers reflect that many of the long-term unemployed have simply given up looking for work.
Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus isn't yet saying how many customers might be at risk, but it is confirming that a breach of credit card data took place. The company says it learned of "potentially unauthorized payment card activity" before Christmas. The company says it is working with federal investigators, and a forensics team is trying to determine the size of the breach.
Large casinos in Nevada are continuing their losing streak, reporting more than a billion dollars in losses for the most recent fiscal year. Here, a view of Paris Las Vegas, a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.
Nevada's big casinos are on a losing streak. For the fifth straight year, the state's largest casinos are reporting net losses – in this case, a total of $1.35 billion in the most recent fiscal year. That's the news from a report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board Friday, which focuses on casinos that gross at least $1 million in gaming revenue.
Just as the Senate seemed to descend into another round of partisan gridlock, this time over extending emergency jobless benefits, the arrival of a surprisingly weak December jobs report raised the pressure on Congress to act.
The question is whether news that the economy created a mere 74,000 jobs last month — far fewer than the 200,000 forecasters predicted — delivered enough of a jolt to Capitol Hill, where what seemed like bipartisan progress on the issue early in the week had reverted to partisan nastiness.
Trish Gallagher holds a sign for passing motorists to read during a demonstration in support of a higher minimum wage near a Burger King in Boston on Dec. 5. Massachusetts is one of several states considering a minimum wage ballot measure.
You never know where you might find a volunteer with a clipboard looking for signatures trying to get a voter referendum on the local ballot – like Ed Flanagan in the town of North Pole, Alaska.
"I'm out in what's called the North Pole transfer station. This facility has about 50 metal dumpsters arranged in a fenced area. Folks back up and throw their household trash in there. This is a very busy place," he says.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Is it a bad economy or just bad data? That's the question today after a new round of disappointing employment numbers. The government reported the economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, well below expectations. The other surprise, the unemployment rate still dropped.
NPR's John Ydstie spent the day talking with economists about the report, and many say they just don't believe it.
When people talk about the Volcker Rule, they often mention JPMorgan Chase, the giant bank where a trader recently made a bad bet that lost $6 billion. The Volcker Rule is supposed to put an end to that sort of thing, by prohibiting banks from trading with their own money.
But some banks that are very, very different from JPMorgan Chase are struggling with an obscure provision in the rule. Specifically, footnote 1,861, which bars banks from investing in something called trust-preferred securities — a rather obscure investment favored by lots of small, community banks invest
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
The retail giant Target delivered more bad news today. The company was the victim of a massive security breach before Christmas, and today it announced that that cyber-attack was much worse than originally reported. NPR's Sonari Glinton explains.
Changes are coming soon to the way the National Security Agency gathers information about people all over the globe. President Obama is slated to speak next Friday about what action he'll take to revamp the NSA surveillance programs, which were revealed in news leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The president has been meeting with stakeholders for several months, including executives from some of the biggest technology firms.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:20 pm
Whether you had a job or were looking for one, December was a gloomy month.
The Labor Department said Friday that for December, employers added only 74,000 jobs — about a third as many as most economists had been predicting. That was the lowest level of job creation in three years — not exactly the news that 10.4 million job seekers wanted to hear.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. This week, we, like many of our colleagues, have been talking about poverty because this week marks 50 years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty. Later this hour, we'll speak with a minister who now preaches from the same pulpit where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once stood in Atlanta - Ebenezer Baptist Church. And he's asking whether the black church is still a force for addressing issues like poverty. That's later.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:52 am
The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.
Sign of the times? A "help wanted" sign in the window of a Philadelphia business last year.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP
This graph shows last year's employment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics generally issues initial numbers for each month followed by two revisions. The blue line represents the second revision for each month — except for November. For that month, the BLS so far has issued only one revision, which is included here. Since December's number hasn't yet been revised, it wasn't included.
Credit Krishnadev Calamur/NPR / Bureau of Labor Statistics
This week, we've been looking back at the legacy of the "War on Poverty," launched by Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago. The arsenal included government programs such as Head Start, food stamps and a push to increase the nation's minimum wage.
"We must extend the coverage of our minimum wage laws to more than 2 million workers now lacking this basic protection of purchasing power," Johnson said.
Low-wage workers actually saw their purchasing power peak while Johnson was in office. Adjusting for inflation, minimum wage workers earn less today than they did in the late 1960s.
Supporters of a minimum wage say it can be especially important at a time of relatively high unemployment, when workers have little bargaining power. This morning we'll get a fresh snapshot of unemployment in the U.S. when the government releases new jobs numbers. NPR's Yuki Noguchi came by to talk about what to expect. Yuki, good morning.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.
GREENE: So where does the job market seem to be going right now?
A federal government agency has taken and unusual step. They are suing the founder of a toy company over product safety concerns - and recently, he filed a countersuit. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Buckyballs - if you're not familiar with them - these are clusters of magnetized balls, are a serious danger to children.
Ilya Marritz from member station WNYC has the story.
ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: Call them brainteasers, amusements, or gifts for dad, just don't call these little magnetic beads a toy.