The billionaire Richard Branson is happy this morning. His Virgin Galactic spacecraft successfully completed its first rocket-powered test flight.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Branson's high flying endeavor has been plagued with delays and technical problems, but on Monday, after an early morning flight from the California desert, the often flamboyant billionaire said history was being made.
Gen. Antonio Indjai (left), Guinea-Bissau's army chief of staff, at the funeral of the country's late president, Malam Bacai Sanha, on Jan. 15, 2012. The U.S. says Indjai has been involved in drug trafficking, an allegation he denies. He recently eluded a U.S. sting operation that led to the capture of other officials from his country.
A suspected drug kingpin from the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau was captured on the high seas by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency earlier this month, brought to Manhattan and is now awaiting trial.
The dramatic sting operation sheds light on what officials say is a growing national security threat: criminal networks teaming up with extremist organizations.
Willa Cather is one of America's greatest literary voices. Most notably, her stories of immigrant farmers in Nebraska are intimate windows into the lives that make up a greater history of American settlement and struggle.
Cather was also a pioneering female writer in a literary world run by men, and a driven businesswoman — meticulous about every detail of her work, down to the very design of a book jacket. And when she died in 1947, she left a will forbidding the adaptation of her works to theater or film and the publication of her personal letters.
It's one of the smallest law enforcement agencies in the federal government, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has sure had a busy couple of weeks.
Dozens of its agents raced to Boston, where they analyzed bombs left near the finish line of the marathon. Others went south to Texas, where a fertilizer plant exploded under mysterious circumstances. Members of the ATF's national response team are still on the scene in tiny West, Texas, sifting through rubble at the blast site, near a crater that's 93 feet wide.
Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.
The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.
Author Benjamin Alire Saenz writes about life on the U.S.-Mexico border. Here he holds his latest book, <em>Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club</em>, in front of "$26," a painting by Francisco Delgado (the presidents in the painting appear on American bills worth a collective $26).
Credit Mark Lambie / Courtesy El Paso Times
For almost a century, the Kentucky Club, just three blocks from the international bridge, has been a nightlife destination for residents of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
On a Saturday night, the bridge that links downtown El Paso, Texas, to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico is hauntingly still. Once, this was a border crossing flush with life; now, after years of brutal drug violence, it's like a graveyard. It's certainly not the border that American author Benjamin Alire Saenz recalls from his high school days.
"We'd all pile in a couple of cars. There'd be like 10 of us and we'd come over to Juarez," Saenz remembers. "We'd go to all these places like The Cave, the Club Hawaii ... the Kentucky Club ... and we would just have a good time and laugh."
With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi tried RescueTime to measure her productivity. Here are the results.
Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?
Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.
But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.
Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. There's a baby boom in Los Giles, Spain, consisting of one. Baby Inara arrived three weeks ago, the first child to be born there in 45 years. At last count, the village had about 60 residents, all aging. But the first-time parents of Inara had moved back to the village to raise their child near grandparents. Now thinkspain.com reports nearly everyone in town has held her. So it really does take a village. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Once Louisville won the NCAA men's basketball title, there was only one thing for Rick Pitino to do. He promised his players that if they won, he'd get a tattoo. We do not know if Pitino had second thoughts in the final seconds of the win over Michigan, but now the coach has done it. A Louisville spokesman tweeted a photo of the 60-year-old coach's back. It is now marked with the team record, 35-and-five, along with a blood-red letter L.
Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.
For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.
The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.