Europe's economy, the world's largest, is in the midst of economic turmoil. A growing debt crisis has already forced the resignations of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou as well as Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. And forecasts from the European Union suggest the 17-nation Eurozone could be facing possible recession next year. Some analysts are considering the possible collapse of the Eurozone. The Institute for Policy Studies recently published an article titled "Is Europe Over?"
Italy and Greece, two European countries mired in debt, are pinning their hopes on technocrats. It got us wondering, what exactly is a technocrat? For some answers, we first turned to former technocrat Ricardo Hausmann. He's an economist by trade and currently teaches at Harvard. But for a brief moment, starting in 1992...
RICARDO HAUSMANN: I was a, yeah, I was a minister of planning in the government of Venezuela.
WERTHEIMER: Hausmann left the post the following year. Politics, he says, has never been his calling.
It's a politics-filled Saturday as Republicans hold a presidential candidate forum and the Democrats have their Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. This year's dinner features Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the keynote speaker; four years ago the dinner launched then-Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy into high gear. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with NPR's Don Gonyea about the events.
The bipartisan supercommittee enters the final weekend prior to its Nov. 23 deadline with little tangible progress to show for over two months of work. NPR's Andrea Seabrook tells guest host Linda Wertheimer that several of its members are huddling in Washington this weekend, trying to come up with a way to reduce the government's budget deficit.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 10:38 am
In the crowded race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney may be the tortoise, but Newt Gingrich is the newt. And newts are highly adaptive salamanders that regenerate limbs when wounded and emit poison when challenged.
Conventional — and up-to-the-minute contemporary — wisdom pegs Gingrich as the ascendant favorite, knocking other candidates off their posts and platforms like an Angry Bird.
The congressional supercommittee has only a few days left to come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. One of the areas on the chopping block is the nation's defense budget, and Pentagon officials are pushing back against any cuts beyond the $450 billion they've already been asked to make.
The defense budget is an easy target when it comes to cutting the deficit, because it makes up half of the federal government's entire discretionary budget, says Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The Sense of an Ending, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, might be — paradoxically — Julian Barnes' slenderest and most emotionally forthcoming book to date. In his previous novels and short stories, emotion has been stifled, concealed or tucked behind technical devices (as in Flaubert's Parrot). In this latest book, feeling is laid bare and imbued into Barnes' longstanding intellectual preoccupations with authorship, authenticity and mortality.
According to HRL Laboratories that is an "ultralight metallic microlattice" sitting atop a dandelion. The material was developed by scientists at HRL, The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine.
The material is 99.99 percent air and 100 times lighter than styrofoam.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 8:00 am
Paul Simon's music can feel timeless even when it's filled with new ideas. In his interview with World Cafe host David Dye, Simon reflects on his friend Bert Jansch, who recently died, and discusses their friendship, which lasted more than 30 years.
There's no Peggy Sue — or even a Margaret or a Susan, for that matter — in the British folk-rock band Peggy Sue. There is, however, a hard-driving group that has just released its second album, Acrobats. Peggy Sue is the trio of singers and guitarists Rosa Slade and Katy Young, and drummer Olly Joyce.
At an Aravind hospital in Madurai, a city on India's southern tip, the waiting room is packed. A clinical assistant calls out the names of patients, and they're escorted to examination rooms. This hospital alone screens around 2,000 patients a day — and tour guide Shawas Philip says this day is busier than usual.
"We might break that record today — of the number of patients that are seen on a particular day. That's exciting," he says.