All the instability in the global economy this year has been good for the United States Mint. People in search of a safe place to put their money have been buying gold and silver coins in record numbers.
"Precious metal coins were up $800 million dollars last year and that's approximately thirty some percent," says Richard Peterson, deputy director of the Mint.
According the the Mint's annual report, they sold 45.2 million ounces of gold and silver coins in 2011.
Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 7:00 pm
As Mount Washington calmly reigns over much of New Hampshire's geography, Mount Romney smiles down on the last day before the state holds the nation's first presidential primary.
The front-running former governor of neighboring Massachusetts spent the day getting chummy with crowds in Nashua and Hudson and Bedford, reciting his favorite lines from "America the Beautiful" and engaging in other behaviors just as risky. He came out in favor of free enterprise and job creation and got really cross with the Chinese for currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves as he is welcomed by Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua (at right, wearing glasses and tie) at the airport in Caracas on Sunday. Ahmadinejad is on a five-day tour aimed at shoring up ties in Latin America.
Isolated by the West because of Iran's nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is turning to close allies in the Americas for diplomatic support.
He kicked off his four-nation tour of Latin America on Monday in Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, accuses the U.S. of trying to dominate the world. Ahmadinejad's next stops are Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador — all sharply critical of Washington's foreign policy.
To life's many small irritations, you might add filling prescriptions.
Starting this year, many Americans may be surprised to find that their local Walgreens pharmacy is no longer in their network. That's because of a contract dispute between the nation's largest drugstore chain and a company that manages prescriptions for health insurance companies.
A Jewish settler wears his prayer shawl as he passes one of the structures demolished at the unauthorized Jewish settlement outpost in Ramat Migron, in the West Bank, on Sept. 5, 2011. Israel's radical Hilltop Youth have built numerous such outposts in recent years.
Credit Jim Hollander / EPA/Landov
Jewish settlers, known as the Hilltop Youth, gather at an outpost at Itamar in the West Bank on Sept. 8, 2011. The youths were standing watch to see if Israeli security forces were coming to demolish the outpost.
Israel's Hilltop Youth movement has been active for years, establishing Jewish settlement outposts on barren West Bank hills without bothering to get permission from the Israeli government.
The Hilltop Youth occasionally received attention, usually when they damaged Palestinian property in the West Bank. But now they are in the headlines after a group of Hilltop Youth raided an Israeli military base.
Premature babies have to endure to a lot of painful medical procedures, from blood draws to throat suctioning. Something as simple as a few drops of sugar water can ease that pain, but many preemies don't get that help. And adding the comfort of touch helps, too.
We're taking a break from the serious news for a bit of baby news: Hip-hop has a new princess. Blue Ivy Carter, the daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles, who are arguably the genre's king and queen.
Now, that was one of the worst kept secrets, since friends and family were tweeting about the birth over the weekend. But, as the AP reports, the couple's reps "repeatedly declined requests for comment."
The Obama administration just announced a 20-year federal ban "on new mining claims affecting a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves," as The Associated Press writes.
And "in doing so," the wire service adds, "the administration brushed off pressure from congressional Republicans and mining industry figures who wanted a policy change."
The magazine said that pastry chef Roland Mesnier, who worked at the White House for 26 years beginning with the Carter administration, said when President Bill Clinton came into the White House in 1993 he had a "scary" appetite. "He could eat five or six pork chops."
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tumultuous backlash over his decision to scrap fuel subsidies. Reporting from Accra in Ghana, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that major protests and a massive strike are putting pressure on him to reverse course. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer.
Ofeibea filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Nigeria's capital, Abuja, and the commercial capital, Lagos, have come to a virtual standstill with similar reports of thousands joining the demonstrations in other parts of the country.
Approximately 40 percent of U.S. voters identify as independents, giving them considerable clout with political candidates. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page and George W. Bush campaign strategist Daron Shaw discuss who makes up the independent electorate, and if its influence is sometimes overstated.
Operation Migration uses ultralight planes to guide whooping cranes in migration from Wisconsin to their winter home in Florida. But a Federal Aviation Administration investigation has grounded a flock of whooping cranes and an ultralight guiding plane.
The Obama administration has laid out billions in cuts to the U.S. military over the next decade. Some say the cuts will weaken the armed forces, while others argue it's time to reconsider the type of military presence the U.S. should maintain. NPR's Tom Bowman describes the proposed cuts and their potential implications for future military operations.
Politicians often reveal personal stories on the campaign trail. But those revelations often draw criticism from opponents. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says politicians can and should contest the critiques, but that many have lost the right to complain about them.
On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.