Four years ago, Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. The country abandoned its own currency and switched to the U.S. dollar — a move experts say prevented a complete economic collapse.
But using American dollars has created a host of bizarre issues. The bills are filthy, crumbling and often in short supply. There are no U.S. coins to make change, so chocolate is handed out instead. There is, oddly, an abundance of $2 bills.
On May 27, 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened, connecting bustling San Francisco to sleepy Marin County to the north. The Oakland-Bay Bridge had opened six months earlier — but the Golden Gate was an engineering triumph. It straddles the Golden Gate Strait, the passage from the Pacific Ocean into the San Francisco Bay, where rough currents prevail and winds can reach 70 mph.
Nurses are the backbone of the hospital — just ask pretty much any doctor or patient. But a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds 34 percent of patients hospitalized for at least one night in the past year said "nurses weren't available when needed or didn't respond quickly to requests for help."
Since nurses provide most of the patient care in hospitals, we were surprised at the findings. We wanted to find out more. We wanted to know what was going on from nurses themselves. So we put a call-out on Facebook.
Booksellers know how important a good story is — one that reaches out, pulls you in and keeps you reading late into the warm summer night. As readers seek out recommendations for their summer travels, booksellers are scouring their shelves for the stories that shine.
During World War II, Harrison Wright served with the Army in Europe. And as he recalls during a visit to StoryCorps with his grandson Sean Guess, he was sent on a very special assignment to mark the end of the war.
Wright was drafted in March 1943.
"I was an 18-year-old boy," he says. "I blew the bugle in our outfit," he adds, largely because he had played the trumpet in high school.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. In New York City, a decades old missing child case may have been solved. In 1979, a 6-year-old boy named Etan Patz disappeared as he was walking to school. Thirty-three years later, almost to the day, police say they have a suspect under arrest and his confession. That suspect is Pedro Hernandez, now 51 years old.
English teacher Eleanor Terry started a Facebook page last fall for the High School for Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn. She uses it for the school's college office to remind seniors about things like application deadlines. The seniors use it to stay in touch with each other.
"There was a student who got into the University of Chicago," she says, "and the way we found out about it was that they scanned their acceptance letter and then tagged us in it."
The United States and International Olympic Committees have formally announced a revenue-sharing agreement that paves the way for the return of the Olympics to the U.S.
Details of the deal were not released but sources familiar with it say it guarantees the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) at least $110 million a year from international Olympic sponsorships and the American rights to televise the games.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was talking about education policy Thursday in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, is a frequent stop for presidential candidates. But, amid a campaign likely to focus on a handful of battleground states, some are starting to wonder if Pennsylvania is still a swing state.
At the Universal Bluford Charter School in a largely African-American neighborhood in West Philadelphia, Romney toured a computer lab, helped students with an assignment in language arts class and listened to the kids sing.
Harold Jackson was a pioneer of black radio. He was the first major African American play-by-play sports announcer, hosted numerous radio shows in New York City and co-founded Inner City Broadcasting. Jackson died Wednesday at the age of 96.
To physician Larry Shore of My Health Medical Group in San Francisco, it's no surprise that patients give doctors low marks for time and attention.
"There's some data to suggest that the average patient gets to speak for between 12 and 15 seconds before the physician interrupts them," Shore says. "And that makes you feel like the person is not listening."
One day last week, I was entering the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., where John Edwards is on trial, when a U.S. marshal took my local newspaper. A moment later, he told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff to hand over his morning paper.
"We can't have newspapers?" I asked.
"You guys know the rules," the smiling marshal said.
It came as no surprise to us when outrage over "pink slime," the catchy nickname given to lean finely textured beef (LFTB), went viral a couple of months ago.
Murky government rules, off-limits meatpacking floors, and a "gotcha" media mentality have created a fear and mistrust that's left the public highly opinionated but often woefully misinformed about where our food comes from.
In 2004, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor was a staple of the so-called anti-folk scene when she sat down for one of her first public-radio interviews with the now-defunct WNYC program The Next Big Thing. In the interview, she joked that she stayed up until 3:30 a.m. writing a song, trying not to wake the neighbors, but never wrote anything down.
We like when conventional wisdom is challenged. And during the past couple of days, we stumbled on two stories that challenged assumptions both the news media and Americans seem to make.
First, Reuters compares Americans to anorexics when it comes to taxes. Essentially, they say when Americans respond to polls, they see themselves as "fat with taxes." It's the one thing both political parties agree on. But taking a look in the global mirror, Americans are actually quite skinny.
Forgive me, if you're suffering from PSA policy fatigue.
But there are a few more things I thought you might want to know about the new guideline from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that says men of all ages should forgo routine blood tests to detect prostate cancer.
Research from Johns Hopkins suggests the chances that doctors will listen aren't great.
In its yearly report on Human Rights, the U.S. State Department noted that 2011 was tumultuous. Some countries — for example, Tunisia, which kicked off the Arab Spring — made strides while others fell back on their human rights records.
New York Police have reported a possible break in the case of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who vanished 33 years ago on his way to school. No one was ever charged in his case, and the episode was a deep personal tragedy for the Patz family.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. What makes some nations succeed while others fail? In his Pulitzer Prize-winner, "Guns, Germs and Steel," Jared Diamond looked back over thousands of years of human history and concluded that geography allowed Eurasia to get a big head start and develop agriculture, writing, bureaucracy and the military technologies that led to dominance over much of the globe.
A recent poll found only half of people who have spent time in a hospital in the past year were very satisfied with their care. The rest complained about mistakes, poor communication and unresponsive nurses. But to better serve patients, some hospitals are changing the way they do business.
"I just don't like seeing those signs and I kind of wanted to put a stop to that."
That's 9-year-old Josef Miles' simple explanation for why he held up a notepad that said "GOD HATES NO ONE" as supporters of the tiny Westboro Baptist Church staged another small demonstration featuring their signs that say God hates homosexuals.