In Greece, caroling season runs through the Orthodox Christian holiday known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Traditionally, children go door-to-door, playing the triangle and singing songs of the season. In return, people give them a few euros for presents.
But this Christmas, Greek retailers say sales fell 30 percent from last year. The unemployment rate is at record levels, crime is rising and austerity is dampening everyone's spirits.
If you're a fresh vegetable lover, it's hard to get excited about what's available in the supermarket produce section in the dead of winter. Whatever is there often has made a long journey from a field in a distant, sunny locale and been sprayed with something to keep it looking fresh. It's usually a little worse for the wear.
Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:26 am
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:
"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"
But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).
The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The Department of Labor has proposed regulations that would limit the kinds of work children can do on farms. Opponents feel the rules would hurt family farms and fundamentally alter farming life, while proponents say the changes would help keep kids safe.
In more than 30 U.S. states, it's illegal not to inform sexual partners if you're HIV-positive. Here in Iowa, it's a Class B felony that carries up to 25 years in prison, even if there's no transmission of the virus. Proponents say to knowingly expose someone to a potentially lethal virus is equivalent to attempted murder. Critics argue that these laws single out people with HIV to the exclusion of other dangerous STDs, and they hope to see legislation to change the law so it doesn't target those with HIV, many of whom are gay men.