Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:00 pm
Syrian rebels declared the Damascus International Airport a "military zone" on Friday as part of their push to seize important symbolic and strategic locations held by President Bashar Assad's government.
Rebels say the airport is a camp for Syrian government soldiers and is the main transit point for weaponry believed to be supplied by Russia and Iran.
United Nations climate talks ran into overtime on Friday night, as diplomats pressed for whatever small advantage they could achieve.
As usual, the talks, which are being held in Doha, Qatar, involve closely interwoven issues. They include the usual wrangling over money, as well as early efforts in a multiyear process that is supposed to result in a new climate treaty.
Part of that involves finding a graceful way to phase out the Kyoto treaty, which has not proved to be a successful strategy for dealing with a warming planet.
More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.
In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:33 pm
Lianne La Havas has toured with Bon Iver, sung with Willy Mason and recorded her debut album with producer Matt Hales, better known as Aqualung. More than most, she can attest to the benefits of knowing the right people, but La Havas also has heaps of talent on her side.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
The nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, that's the lowest it's been in four years. The Labor Department's latest jobs report released this morning showed employers added more jobs than expected.
But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, economists warn these new numbers aren't what they appear to be.
In the age of text messages, Twitter and Gchat, it's easy to consider the art of letter writing a lost one. But if you've got money to spare, why not lose yourself in the words of someone famous - like artist Vincent Van Gogh?
JOSEPH MADDALENA: (Reading) I myself believe that the annoyances one experiences in the ordinary routine of life do as much good as bad. The thing that makes on fall ill, overcome by discouragement today, that same thing gives us the energy, once the illness is over, to get up and walk to discover the next day.
Hollywood can make any actor look imposing by shooting from a low angle or building sets with short door frames. But the fact is that we want our heroes big and our villains bigger, and the average male actor is about the same size as the average American male — roughly 5 foot 9 1/2. And some very "big" stars have been a good deal less than that.
A nearly complete picture is emerging of the money chase that shaped the presidential election. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney each raised more than a billion dollars, according to new reports filed at the Federal Election Commission. But in the new era of unregulated outside groups and seemingly endless TV ads, that was only the beginning, as NPR's Peter Overby reports.