NPR's Business News starts with rising computer prices. A component used to make computers has become more expensive. The reason why, is around the world in Southeast Asia. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
In Afghanistan, a media boom followed the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, but there have been problems. Watchdog groups report hundreds of cases of violence and intimidation against journalists, including murder. Afghan reporters have learned which topics are off-limits, and they take great care to avoid offending the country's powerful. NPR's Ahmad Shafi reports from Kabul.
China's "one-child" policy has repressed and stabilized the number of births, but the market for baby products has exploded. The growth is driven by rising incomes and the intense focus on the single child with interesting twists. For instance, baby formula sales have gone way up because people are now spending more money on foreign formula products because they no longer trust Chinese companies after the melamine poisoning of several years ago.
This week in New York Magazine, two writers from different political parties each critiqued their own side. On Thursday, we heard from conservative David Frum, who argues Republicans lost touch with reality. In the same issue, liberal writer Jonathan Chait also uses the word "fantasy" in describing liberals. He tells Steve Inskeep liberals have become unreasonable.
Rhode Island had one of the most underfunded pension systems in the country until last week. That's when an overwhelming majority of state lawmakers passed big changes, mostly affecting future retirees. Now those lawmakers are facing angry unions, which are preparing for a legal fight. As Catherine Welch of Rhode Island Public Radio reports, the unions are also hinting at a political battle against those who supported the plan.
Egypt's ruling military council and anti-government protesters are in a standoff. The military council has pledge to hand over power once a newly- elected president and parliament are in place next summer, but protesters have rejected the idea.
Flies are attracted to glycerol, a chemical in beer produced during fermentation. Understanding more about the genes responsible for taste and smell in flies could help make powerful insect repellents.
Scientists in California think they've figure out why flies like beer. That may sound a bit trivial, but in fact it could lead to new ways of combating plant and animal pests.
That flies like beer is well known. "The attraction of flies to beer was first reported in the early 1920s," says Anupama Dahanukar. She's part of an inter-disciplinary program involving neuroscience and entomology at the University of California, Riverside. She's been studying how flies recognize chemicals, so answering the question of why flies like beer is actually quite relevant to her research.
At NPR, we know a thing or two about promotional merchandise. After all, we invented the Nina Totin' Bag and the Carl Kasell Autograph Pillow. So, on this Black Friday, White House correspondent Scott Horsley presents the NPR guide to campaign swag.