At this time five years ago, the white-hot U.S. housing market was starting to cool. Before long, it would slip into a deep freeze.
The thaw still hasn't come. The latest statistics show residential real estate prices are continuing to drop — a trend that could have a long-lasting impact on the net wealth of younger homeowners who bought property during the housing bubble.
Republican White House hopefuls criticized President Obama's handling of Iran, Afghanistan and the Arab Spring during a debate Saturday night in South Carolina. It was the first of this year's debates in which foreign policy was the dominant topic.
Although the candidates aimed most of their firepower at the sitting president, the forum did expose some fault lines within the Republican ranks.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: President Obama is in Honolulu this morning, where's hosting world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, or APEC. It's the first stop on a nine-day tour that will also take Mr. Obama to Australia and Indonesia. NPR's Ari Shapiro is traveling with the president.
ARI SHAPIRO: These are familiar stomping grounds for President Obama. He brings his family to Hawaii every Christmas, and as he told a friendly crowd of business leaders yesterday morning:
The Mexican government is launching an investigation into a helicopter crash that resulted in the death of one of the country's top officials. NPR's Mexico correspondent Jason Beaubien talks to host Audie Cornish about what prompted the probe.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been a difficult and emotional week at Pennsylvania State University. The scandal involving child sexual abuse allegations and a potential cover-up is entering its second week. And yesterday, the school's football team played its game without long-time coach Joe Paterno, and lost to Nebraska. NPR's Jeff Brady was there.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: A political dynasty is emerging in Northern Iowa. This past week, Jeremy Minnier was elected mayor of Aredale, Iowa, like his father before him. Jeremy says his dad was happy but nervous about his Election Day victory.
MAYOR JEREMY MINNIER: He was supportive of it. He didn't know that. He said, I think you are taking something under your hands that you're not going to be able to handle, because he knew what it was like.
CORNISH: He thinks his dad and others are getting too caught up on a number. Jeremy Minnier is just 18 years old.
Until now, a 250-year-old encoded text titled the Copiale Cipher baffled cryptographers and historians with bizarre symbols and seemingly random letters. Computer scientist Kevin Knight and two Swedish researchers have broken the code to the 105-page manuscript, and NPR's Daniel Hajek reports on what the Cipher revealed.
What Congress does, sometimes it later tries to undo. That's what happened a few days ago, when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Under DOMA, the federal government is bound to recognize only those marriages between a man and a woman. When the law passed 15 years ago, not one state recognized same-sex marriage. Six do so now, as well as the District of Columbia. But the effort to overturn DOMA faces stiff resistance from congressional Republicans.
In Billings, Mont., the land of the "Big Sky," there aren't many clouds. A city of about 100,000 people between Denver and Calgary, Billings is weathering the economic storm better than many other communities in this country.
In this sagging economy, homes can sit on the market for weeks or months. So, would-be sellers often move on, and instead of handing the keys over to new owners, they hand them to tenants. Sometimes that goes well — sometimes not.
"This is the new reality," says Chicago Realtor Frank Maguire. "Our market is, you might sell your home or you might not. There's a whole world of people who are unintentional landlords."
The Occupy Wall Street protests in several cities around the country have turned a spotlight on the growing frustration among the millennial generation, a group that has suffered crushing student loan debt and high rates of unemployment.
Lindey Loftin is part of that generation, but the 27-year-old is not unemployed. In fact, she says she loves her job, is well paid and has no college loan debt. Her employer actually paid for a portion of her education.
Round 7 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest attracted more than 3,000 story submissions. Tasked with writing an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, contestants had to include one character arriving to town and one character leaving town.
The judge for this round, writer Danielle Evans, has picked her favorite.
The Nazis marched into Paris in the early hours of June 14, 1940, leaving the French shocked at how quickly their country had fallen. Most of the populace watched and waited as swastikas went up on Parisian boulevards — but not everyone.
Journalist Caroline Moorehead's latest book, A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France, chronicles what happened to 230 women from all over the country who did not accept the occupation quietly.
Today marks the first day that Penn State's football team played a game without legendary head coach Joe Paterno since 1950. The long-time coach was fired earlier this week as a result of a university scandal involving Paterno's former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky who has been charged with 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Penn State on student and fan reaction after a bitter loss to 19th ranked Nebraska.
This week D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with the White House that the health care law does not violate the Constitution. The court's senior judge, a respected conservative voice, wrote the majority opinion. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about this story and others from the past week.
The Arab League voted today to suspend Syria's membership over its failure to stop a violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters. The move will increase the international pressure on President Bashar Assad.
The League said the suspension will remain in place until the Syrian government implements an Arab deal to end the violence, and called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition.
There's no mistaking the protagonist of "Be Brave," a song from the new My Brightest Diamond album, All Things Will Unwind. Shara Worden, the group's classically trained singer, songwriter, and main creative force, makes it clear in the refrain: "Shara, now get to work/Shara, this is going to hurt."
The stands were blue at Penn State University this afternoon, as students and fans of the school's football team showed their symbolic support for victims of child sexual abuse.
Most of the more than 107,000 spectators at the game against Nebraska were wearing blue and many gave money to organizations that battle sexual abuse — their way of responding to the allegations that a former assistant football coach at the school abused young boys for more than a decade, sometimes on campus.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: This WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Venezuela, officials have announced a dramatic end to the high-profile kidnapping of Major League Baseball catcher Wilson Ramos. Police commandos swooped in on a remote mountainous hideaway and rescued him. This was the sound at the Ramos home in Valencia, Valenzuela, when he returned there late last night.
Each weekend, Bill Desmarais ships his birds off on a truck and somehow, they find their way home. In his backyard in Massachusetts recently, he welcomed home birds from a race that started 250 miles away in Verona, N.Y.
Pigeons have fascinated people for centuries. Charles Darwin, Pablo Picasso and Walt Disney all kept the birds. Today, thousands — including Mike Tyson — are flocking to the sport of pigeon racing.
Racing pigeons aren't like the pigeons you see in a park. They're stronger, bred for endurance and brains. Some are worth thousands of dollars.
NPR's Don Gonyea normally reports on politics, but he finds other stories along the way, like this one about a touring bluegrass band from the Czech Republic.
The first time I heard Druha Trava play was April 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague, and the band was playing Czech versions of Bob Dylan songs.
I did a short radio postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows: You stumble upon a great band somewhere and never see them again.
Change is in the wind across southern Europe. The governments of Greece and Italy are collapsing under a mountain of debt and Spain, too, is on shaky financial ground. Spaniards go to the polls on Nov. 20 and are expected to turn the ruling Socialist Party out of power. Yet, as Lauren Frayer reports, people there are also uneasy about the alternatives.
After a week of child sex abuse charges that resulted in the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, Penn State University plays its final home game of the season on Saturday. Students are holding a vigil and fundraising events ahead of the game against Nebraska. NPR's Jeff Brady has the latest in the wake of the scandal.