Small business owners say they're getting more optimistic about the economy, and about their own prospects. That's according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an influential business group. And this is among several recent reports suggesting the economy is continuing to improve.
NPR's Chris Arnold has more.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Small businesses are getting more confident. And that's a good sign, says John Silvia, the chief economist at Wells Fargo.
Under heavy pressure from his rivals, front-runner Mitt Romney defended his record as a venture capitalist. He also insisted he bears no responsibility for attack ads aired by his allies, and grudgingly said he might release his income tax returns this spring.
The Republican presidential candidates gathered last night In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a debate. Myrtle Beach is also the site for the first convention of the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition.
The brewer of Yuengling based in Pottsville, Pa., is now the largest American beermaker. Other popular beers like Bud are now owned by foreign companies. Yuengling shipments grew last year to about 2.5 million barrels, edging out the maker of Samuel Adams.
Two Southwest Airlines jets are seen in front of a taxiing Delta jet at Philadelphia International Airport in 2004.
Credit George Widman / AP
Delta planes line up at the terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Southwest Airlines will begin serving the city next month, and hopes to lure passengers away from the hometown airline.
Immigrants from Senegal protest against racism in Florence, Italy, on Dec. 17, 2011. Four days earlier, an Italian man killed two African street sellers and wounded three others in a shooting spree in Florence.
Credit Maurizio Degl'Innocenti / EPA /Landov
Two Africans were killed and three wounded in a shooting at a street market in Florence, Italy, on Dec. 13. The Italian man who carried out the shooting committed suicide.
Pierre Jean Nelson (left) has lived at Champs de Mars, a camp for displaced people, since the quake hit.
Credit Marisa Penaloza / NPR
Last year, the Annex de Martissant area of Port-au-Prince was a camp for displaced people. The area was filled with tents. Today, locals are building sturdier shelters with funding from the American Red Cross.
After Haiti's devastating earthquake two years ago, Americans donated large sums of money. This helped charities and aid groups save lives immediately after the disaster. But it's been much harder for them to help Haitians rebuild their devastated country. In the second of two stories, NPR's Carrie Kahn and Marisa Penaloza report that its difficult to get detailed information about how organizations spend their money.
Last fall, wealthy Chinese gathered at a Beijing hotel to hear a pitch by Patrick Quinn, the governor of Illinois. He wanted them to invest in a convention center project at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
"You can't have capitalism without capital," Quinn said to the group of potential investors. "So we really are interested in encouraging people from everywhere, particularly here in China ... to consider the state of Illinois as a place to make investments."
The required minimum investment: half a million dollars.
Opponents of Wis. Gov. Scott Walker will deliver a truckload of petitions to the state's elections board Tuesday in an effort to force a recall election. Thousands of volunteers have spent the past two months canvassing the state collecting signatures.
Organizers are confident Walker will need to face an election this year in order to keep his job. Talk of recalling the governor began nearly a year ago, after he signed a bill into law that strips most public unions of collective bargaining rights.