France and Germany are trying to persuade other European countries to sign onto a package of reforms aimed at shoring up the embattled euro. They're hoping to win agreement in time for Friday's big summit of European leaders in Brussels. A failure to reach agreement could send the wrong signal to the financial markets, which are already deeply worried about Europe's fiscal problems.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe's economic turmoil is the continent's greatest crisis since World War II. But critics say she has been doing too little and lacks a bold vision for solving Europe's problems.
In an undated photo from the early 1990s, Merkel, then Germany's minister for women and youth, is shown beside Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Unlike Kohl, Merkel did not live through World War II and was not shaped by history in the same way as her predecessor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's approach to the debt crisis currently roiling Europe has been calm, logical, methodical and — according to detractors, especially outside Germany, too slow and unimaginative.
Critics are seething that she insists on austerity as the main medicine for debt-ridden southern neighbors while she offers no new ideas for growth and fiercely resists efforts to let the European Central Bank intervene more.
What is it with kale? That's what one of our producers asked this week, after hearing about the "Eat More Kale" standoff between Vermont t-shirt maker Bo Muller-Moore and the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. (Check this story on last night's All Things Considered for more details.)
It's true that kale seems to be enjoying a certain limelight these days, and not just because Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin was willing to say publicly, "Don't mess with kale."
We've reported on the stories Bloomberg has released about the Federal Reserve. We also noted the story that is under the microscope currently in which Bloomberg said that over the course of less than two years, the Federal Reserve had guaranteed about $7.77 trillion in order to rescue the financial system and that it did not disclose the specifics of some loans to Congress.
In terms of weather, 2011 has made it into the record books. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that during this year, there have been 12 different weather disasters that cost more than $1 billion. The previous record was nine in 2008.
A few more facts from NOAA:
-- "These twelve disasters alone resulted in the tragic loss of 646 lives, with the National Weather Service reporting over 1,000 deaths across all weather categories for the year."
A couple of years ago, NPR's Robert Siegel had a 5-year-old kid moment.
He was in the new wing of a hospital watching a workman put up drywall and, as drywall installers are wont to do, the workman reached the top of the wall by walking on stilts.
The 5-year-old inside the radio host was suddenly enchanted by the thought of stilts, so Siegel set out to learn more; first through Google, then from Joe Bowen, who walked more than 3,000 miles across the country on stilts in 1980.