After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this yearand the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo fields reporters' questions after meeting with residents of a Jakarta slum. Recent polls say Widodo is currently the most popular choice for Indonesia's president in 2014.
Credit Yosef Riadi for NPR
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (in white shirt, at left) examines the muddy waters of the Ciliwung River in Jakarta. The city government is planning to dredge the river and relocate residents away from its banks to prevent chronic urban flooding. His talk of providing more services has won him widespread popular support.
Residents give a boisterous welcome to Jakarta's newly elected governor, Joko Widodo, when he shows up for a town meeting with the residents of a Jakarta slum where residents' shacks overlook the muddy, garbage-strewn waters of the Ciliwung River.
The governor's administration plans to fix chronic flooding here by dredging the river and moving residents into subsidized apartments.
Mark Shoopman is into green beans. The Illinois chef is cooking 270 pounds of beans and 75 pounds of onions. His goal, according to WMBD in Peoria, is the largest green bean casserole in Central Illinois.