The Occupy Wall Street movement has directed much of its anger at giant banks, which are no strangers to customer complaints. Some of those who have been burned by high fees in recent years are now satisfying their banking needs with a giant retailer instead, as Wal-Mart surges into the financial sector with a pre-paid, reloadable debit card called the MoneyCard.
In rural India, deep in Punjab — about 90 minutes from the Pakistani border — getting clean drinking water is a challenge. Well water often has high levels of dangerous chemicals. Surface water is contaminated with pesticides and agricultural waste.
Getting adequate health care is equally challenging. Government hospitals are often far away, and lines are long.
Here, in places like a dusty rural town called Rajiana, a 2-year-old company called Healthpoint Services is trying to figure out how to bring clean water and health care to rural communities on a global scale.
Director Michel Hazanavicius met me at the Bradbury building in downtown L.A. It's the location of a key scene in his audacious new movie The Artist, which takes place just at the moment when talking pictures supersede silent films.
"It's mythic," said Hazanavicius of the era during which Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were stars.
In the scene shot here, a dashing film star reminiscent of Fairbanks bumps into his lovely young protégé on the building's remarkable staircase. He's on his way down; she's on her way up.
President Obama Monday put the blame for the supercommittee's failure squarely on congressional Republicans — and their unwillingness to consider higher taxes on the wealthy. Obama also threatened to veto any effort to escape from the automatic spending cuts agreed to in August without a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Scott Horsley for more.
When the bipartisan supercommittee on the federal debt was formed four months ago, there was more than a little skepticism that the 12-member group could come up with $1.2 trillion in savings and avoid a severe round of automatic government budget cuts.
On Monday, with the deadline fast approaching and no plan in sight, it looked like the skeptics were on the verge of being proved right.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 10:04 am
Got a mouthful of metal and stack of orthodontic bills? You can thank your farmer ancestors for them.
That's according to an anthropologist who says the switch from chewing wild game to eating corn, rice and wheat could have shortened the human jaw so that teeth don't fit in it as well.
When agriculture took off in some parts of the world, it had a lot to offer people: Farmed foods are a more reliable source of calories, and are easier to chew and digest. But they also may have helped transform the jaw bone before the teeth could catch up.
The next presidential election in Iran is scheduled for 2013, but doubts are emerging about whether it will actually take place.
A conservative member of Iran's Parliament recently claimed that a secret committee convened by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been working on a plan to do away with the office of the presidency.
Meanwhile, the conflict between the supreme leader and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to sharpen.