Tough as it is to find work these days, tens of thousands of jobs paying middle-class wages are going unfilled.
Open truck-driving jobs require little more than a high school diploma and a month or so of training. But not everybody wants to be a long-haul truck driver, and many who do find they just can't hack it.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Miami by Florida residents being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens — children who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants — and they say Florida's regulations violate their constitutional rights.
Wendy Ruiz, a 19-year-old sophomore at Miami Dade College with a 3.7 grade point average, has a plan. She expects to graduate later this year with a two-year associate's degree in Biology.
A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed barely 10 percent of the public trusts the government. But it doesn't stop there: Trust in public institutions like corporations, banks, courts, the media and universities is at an all-time low; the military is one of the few exceptions.
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an earthquake if international forces intervene in his country where anti-government protesters are calling for protection amid a crackdown that has killed thousands.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Assad said calls by the protest movement for a Libya-style no-fly zone over his country — or any other form of intervention — will cause chaos.
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
Qantas planes could be flying again within hours after Australia's labor relations tribunal ruled n favor of the carrier over the labor dispute that's seen the company ground its entire fleet.
Fair Work Australia ordered the three unions in contract negotiations with Qantas to terminate all of their rolling work stoppages and other industrial action that have been going on for months. That's the outcome that Qantas hoped for and the government wanted when it referred the dispute to the labor relations board.
Getting people to pay for news online isn't easy, but back in March, The New York Times gave it a shot. The pay wall was seen as a risky move at the time, but the Gray Lady's third-quarter profit reports are in, and the results are better than expected. The paper's profits are up, and the Times has seen a boost in digital subscribers.
Considering these results, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has this news tip: "If you only listen to the naysayers, you'll never succeed."
Efforts to solve the European debt crisis are sure to be front and center when leaders of the 20 big countries that make up the G-20 meet in France later this week. President Barack Obama arrives in France on Thursday for the summit meeting. And NPR's Scott Horsley joins us for a preview. Hey there, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. Good to be with you.
CORNISH: So, is there any relief at the White House that European countries appear to be getting a handle on the Greek debt crisis?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
In drought-stricken East Africa, Somali militants have vowed war on neighboring Kenya. It happened after Kenya sent hundreds of troops across the border to search out and destroy Islamist militants. The cross-border action followed a series of kidnappings and attacks in Kenya, targeting aid workers and Western tourists. Kenya now says its forces won't leave Somalia until the threat is over.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in Kenya's capital of Nairobi, and joins us now.
For many, losing a home is the definition of hitting bottom. But there are former homeowners finding themselves in an even tighter spot than they thought was possible. They've lost their homes and wrecked their credit ratings. Now lenders are pursuing them for the debt that remains.
Over the next few weeks, European leaders have a big task ahead of them. They have to begin fleshing out that big bailout plan unveiled to so much fanfare in Brussels this week. The plan represents the most comprehensive effort so far to resolve Europe's grinding debt problems, which have done so much damage to the world's financial markets this year, but some issues may require a global effort to solve.
For most of the year, Salem, Mass., looks like many other historic New England towns. Come October, though, the streets are packed with portable toilets, fried dough vendors and carnival rides. It's a major tourist attraction thanks to its infamous 17th-century witch trials.
Tourists line up for psychics' parlors, face-painters and wax museums, but haunted houses are the biggest draw.
Marshall Tripoli has been in the haunted attractions business in Salem for 21 years. He owns the five-year-old Nightmare Factory, where he says his motto is "Care how you scare."
The world is anticipating the birth of its 7 billionth person, as the United Nations predicts that the milestone baby will be born on Monday, Oct. 31. Demographers say the baby might be born in India, where an average of 51 babies are born every minute.
To get a feeling for the kind of world in which our 7 billionth citizen could grow up, it's worth a visit to the place that India's Census Bureau has identified as the densest place in the country.
The attractiveness, and simplicity, of Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan — a nine percent federal income, corporate and sales tax — has catapulted the Georgia businessman to the head of the Republican presidential field. But for some states, such as New Hampshire, which doesn't have a sales tax, 9-9-9 wouldn't be simple at all.
People in New Hampshire, to put it mildly, dislike taxes.
"New Hampshire is definitely an anti-tax state," says Andy Smith, director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced a plan to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.
The White House says it will help millions of people hold onto their homes through a government-backed modification program. But critics are skeptical the plan will be a success, in part because of the dependence on the good will of banks to voluntarily join up.
Every day for decades, engineer Phil Pressel would come home from work and be unable to tell his wife what he'd been doing all day.
Now, Pressel is free to speak about his life's work: designing cameras for a top-secret U.S. government spy satellite. Officially known as the KH-9 Hexagon, engineers called it "Big Bird" for its massive size.
Until the government declassified it last month, Hexagon had been a secret for 46 years.
A suicide bomb in Kabul Saturday killed a dozen Americans, making this the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan's capital since the war began a decade ago. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz gets the latest from reporter Rod Nordland of the New York Times.
The Congressional Budget Office released a study this week that revealed a huge shift in the nation's wealth distribution. The top 1 percent of the country's earners more than doubled their take of the nation's wealth in just 30 years. James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, joins weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz to discuss that story and others from the past week.
GUY RAZ, host: In Ohio, voters have been watching TV ads telling them which way to vote on Issue 2. That's a measure on the ballot that could overturn a law passed last spring that limits the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Organized labor, including the teacher's unions, are spending heavily to defeat that measure. But at the same time, there are other educators who back the law and are also campaigning.
GUY RAZ, host: For almost 50 years, workers have filed into the Whirlpool factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where they make refrigerators, dishwashers and trash compacters for KitchenAid and Maytag brands. But after months of layoffs and reductions, Whirlpool announced plans to close that Fort Smith plant altogether. And that means a thousand people will lose their jobs.
Mayor SANDY SANDERS: There's no good time for an announcement like this. And particularly with the economy and the situation it is now, it exacerbates the situation.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the gap between wealthy and poor Americans has become much wider than it once was. We'll have a story on how changes in the tax code may have contributed to this situation, and we'll look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. But first, we turn to NPR's Andrea Seabrook and Robert Smith for a seasonably appropriate analysis of how the income gap has changed over the last 30 years.
SCOTT SIMON, host: This week, New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission reminded cabbies that honking is against the law except when warning of imminent danger. They could be fined $350 for using their horns, just to snagged affair, vent steam over traffic or jolt pedestrians are looking up at the skyscrapers and lingerie billboards to move more quickly. Mike Castillo has been driving for 30 years.
MIKE CASTILLO: Human stupidity in New York traffic is huge.
SIMON: And says cabbies ho when they spot dangerous less street smart drivers miss.
SIMON: And seven in ten Americans are planning to get their screams this year through decorations, costumes or creeping into a haunted house. NPR's Allison Keyes visited some haunts and reports on the industry's multi-billion dollar battle for your souls.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: It's dark. The people in front of you are cringing. And, hey, what's that stuff hanging from the ceiling?
SCOTT SIMON, host: Libya faces many challenges as it grapples with life after dictatorship. Of course, Moammar Gadhafi is dead. His fugitive son, Saif al Islam, is reportedly in talks with the International Criminal Court to face charges of alleged crimes against humanity. The city of Bani Walid was the last place in Libya known to have him. It's also the seat of the largest tribe in Libya. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro travelled to Bani Walid yesterday and found a tribe that's aggrieved and city that is seething.
You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.
John McCarthy, the American mathematician known universally as the father of Artificial Intelligence, died last Monday at his home in Palo Alto. He was 84.
WEEKEND EDITION's Math Guy, Keith Devlin, knew McCarthy and has this remembrance.
KEITH DEVLIN, BYLINE: I first got to know John McCarthy when I arrived at Stanford as a visiting professor in 1987. He was 60 years old at that time, with a towering and, to me, somewhat daunting, reputation.
The Port of Entry at Nogales, Ariz., is in the midst of a massive upgrade to ease congestion caused by up to 1,500 Mexican trucks crossing each day. Nearly two-thirds of the produce consumed in the U.S. and Canada during the winter come through here.
These Mexican trucks stop at warehouses near the border to transfer their loads to U.S. trucks. That's the way it's long been done. Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says that adds cost.