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President Obama has nominated Stanley Fischer to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. Fischer trained outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and he spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank. If confirmed, Fischer would take over the position being vacated by Janet Yellen, who was recently confirmed as Bernanke's successor.

The prime minster of Thailand says she plans to go ahead with next month's elections, despite opposition protests that have blocked much of the center of Bangkok. The anti-government demonstrators want the current, caretaker prime minister to step down, to be replaced with an unelected "people's council". The political turmoil is also impacting the local economy.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the buffer zones that are often established around abortion clinics. In the courtroom, Chief Justice John Roberts' silence seemed to indicate that he likely will be the deciding vote in the case.

Officials say that more than half of the households and businesses affected by last week's chemical spill in West Virginia now have access to safe tap water. But some residents in Charleston, where the ban has been lifted in most areas, are wary of using tap water and are still stopping by bottled water distribution sites.

Under a shroud of secrecy, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on Jan. 7. In Nigeria, the law has become known by many as the "Jail the Gays" law. Melissa Block speaks with Michelle Faul, the Associated Press Chief Africa Correspondent, about the law's ramifications.

Touting a rebound in manufacturing jobs, President Obama announced a public-private partnership to expand that momentum. He unveiled a manufacturing innovation institute in North Carolina, the first of three similar hubs he proposed in last year's State of the Union address. Though factory jobs are being added, economists say it's highly unlikely that manufacturing can become a significant source of future employment.

In an increasing number of states, one party controls both chambers of the legislature and the governor's office. While both parties have contributed to the trend, the Republicans have had a lot more success with it. Reporter Nicholas Confessore credits the foresight of GOP strategists.

Circuit boards and USB cards were implanted surreptitiously in the computers when they were shipped overseas from the manufacturers, The New York Times reports. The program, called Quantum, allows intelligence agencies to alter data and insert malware.

The so-called "omnibus" package of all 12 annual spending bills has more money in it than what Congressional Republicans wanted, but less than what President Obama had asked for. There is some disappointment with the measure on both sides of the aisle, but this time nobody is talking about forcing another government shutdown.

In a deal worth some $16 billion, the Japanese beverage giant Suntory is buying Beam, the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of well-known American brands such as Maker's Mark. Industry leaders say it's a reflection of bourbon's exploding popularity in Asian markets, but some are wondering if the new owners will preserve bourbon's Kentucky heritage.

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