The US economy grew at a relatively healthy 3.2 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That is an improvement from a 2.6 percent rate in the third quarter. But to many Americans, it's hard to tell if anything is really better. Buried in the new report are clues to why that is – and what might happen to the economy in the year ahead. Here are five things that the government’s preliminary report on gross domestic product reveals about the health of the economy.
Twenty-five years ago Friday, the space shuttle Challenger came to a tragic end, exploding on liftoff and claiming the lives of seven astronauts. We remember the loss of the Challenger and its crew, yet we often forget the contributions it made to space exploration. The night of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan told the nation: “The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.” Here are five ways the Challenger pushed spaceflight forward. Join The Monitor's discussion on Facebook.
Foreclosures have been huge in cities that rode the real estate bubble in the West and in Florida. But the fastest rise in foreclosures is taking place primarily in far less frothy metropolitan areas of the Southeast, according to a new report by RealtyTrac. North Carolina alone was home to four of the Top 10 fastest-rising foreclosure metros last year. While their foreclosure rates are still quite low compared with most places, these metros and their plight illustrate how the poor economy is driving the housing crisis now.
All those book critics – the ones who devour several books a week – what did they like best last year? Here's your chance to find out. The National Book Critics Circle Awards are sort of the Golden Globes of the book world – lower profile, perhaps, than the National Book Awards but very prestigious, nonetheless. The winners will be announced in March.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Book clubs in search of fresh material should check out this month's fiction round-up. Judging from these three books – two novels and a short story collection – 2011 is off to a great start.
In advance of President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Richard Greene, author of 'Words That Shook the World: The 1st Decade of the 21st Century,' has ranked the top five presidential orators since 1933. Mr. Greene analyzed not only the content of the speeches, but also how the presidents communicated that content. Body language, tone of voice, and vision all contribute to a president’s oratorical skills, says Greene.
Al Jazeera's release this week of the so-called 'Palestine papers' – a collection of secret documents from the past decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations – revealed a US suggestion made in 2008 that Palestinian refugees be permanently resettled in Chile and Argentina. The disclosure was a slap in the face to the many Palestinian refugees and descendants – the UN Relief and Works Agency estimates at least 4.7 million worldwide – hoping to eventually return to what is now Israel. But it wasn't the first time the idea of permanent resettlement has been floated. Here are some of the countries proposed as permanent resettlement locations.
US home prices fell 1 percent in November compared with the previous month, according to a widely followed 20-city index released by Standard & Poor's Tuesday. It's the latest sign that, five years after home prices peaked, the housing market remains an important weak link in the economy. Still, housing experts say 2011 could be a pivotal year when home prices bottom out and a more stable environment begins to emerge. Here's a look at the key issues.
Noticed a chill in the air? You're not alone. A blast of subzero temperatures has swept the Northeast, closing schools, stalling cars, and collectively freezing billions of nose hairs. The coldest temperature on Monday was recorded in New York's Adirondack Mountains, where Lake Saranac saw a low of –36°F. Boston woke up to temperatures of –2°F, actually colder than parts of the Arctic Circle. Many Americans outside the Northeast weren't much warmer. Even Tallahassee, Fla., saw temperatures drop to 25°F. Outside the US, South Koreans are seeing the lowest temperatures in almost a century, prompting the government to require public agencies to keep the thermostat set below 64°F to save energy. Still, these temperatures are downright balmy when compared to some places on Earth. Here's a list of sites that will make today seem like T-shirt weather.
Al Jazeera’s trove of documents on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which the news organization has dubbed the “Palestine Papers,” landed with a resounding thud on desks in Jerusalem and Ramallah yesterday. Al Jazeera has so far only released some of the documents, which appear to come from the Palestinian side. Though Palestinian officials allege that some of the documents are faked, here are a few of the claims they contain that are already making waves in regional capitals.
Jack LaLanne, the 'Godfather of Fitness,' died on Sunday at the age of 96. He often marked milestones by putting his fitness and athleticism to the test. We remember Jack LaLanne by looking back at his five most amazing feats.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has moved from a Tucson, Ariz., hospital to the next phase of her recovery: rehabilitation. The Arizona Democrat has already shown signs of affection, determination, and appreciation for public support as she embarks on the comeback trail after being shot in the head two weeks ago. It's a difficult road, but one that others in the public eye have also walked. Here's a look at Giffords and five other profiles in perseverance. It can't claim to be a "Top 5" list, but the people exemplify grace and courage in the face of extreme adversity.
In 2009, the average American driver spent 34 hours stuck in rush-hour traffic and lost out on $808 because of it, says a new study. Check out the 10 worst cities for drivers during peak hours (6 to 10 a.m., and 3 to 7 p.m.), as ranked by the 2010 Urban Mobility Report from Texas A&M University.
After fulfilling a campaign pledge to vote to repeal last year's health-care reform law, House Republicans are setting a blistering pace to move new legislation to cut the size and scope of government, including bills that have stoked partisan fires in the past. Here are four key measures to watch.
Is there a young mystery aficionado in your life? He or she is sure to love at least one of these five imaginative, engaging books nominated for the 2011 Edgar Award for best juvenile mystery.
The FBI announced the biggest anti-Mafia operation in its history Thursday. In all, 127 people allegedly linked to the mob were arrested. Here are the stories of four of the biggest mobsters ever arrested.
Sometimes truth really is stranger (and scarier!) than fiction. Here are the 2011 Edgar Award nominees for best true crime book.
In the wake of the Tucson shootings, Congress was, briefly, awash in talk of the need for a more civil, less caustic tone in politics. This week’s vote to repeal health-care reform, President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, provided a formidable test – and produced mixed results. Here are five ways to break it down.
Outside the posh hotel where Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has lodged since unexpectedly returning to Haiti on Jan. 16, supporters of the former dictator have gathered in a show of support, some of them yelling: “The revolution is going to start!” They seemed drawn by nostalgia and embellished memories of the Duvalier era, which lasted for nearly 30 years. “Baby Doc” Duvalier became the successor to the regime in 1971 when at the age of 19 he took over from his father, "Papa Doc" François Duvalier (indeed, he started off as a physician). As the following five slides attest, Baby Doc's infamy precedes him.
Travel the world through these three new books just released this month. In them, the Dalai Lama flees Tibet to save his followers, three men grapple with the past in post-war Sierra Leone, and an Indian-American returns to the country his parents left.
Questions are cropping up about the appropriateness of calling Tunisia's uprising the "Jasmine Revolution" – stemming from the fact that the term has been used in reference to Syria in 2005 and even the path that brought ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali to power. But the moniker could stick, at least partially because it's become a tradition of sorts to name the revolutions of the 2000s after colors and flowers and even household items. Here's an overview of some of the popular revolutions – and their nicknames – that preceded Tunisia's ... whatever you want to call it:
It's Edgar Allen Poe's 202nd birthday and that means that it's time for the announcement of the 2011 Edgar Award nominees as selected by The Mystery Writers of America. These five books are the nominees for best mystery novel. All Edgar award winners will be announced on April 28.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Hu Jintao will be the guest of President Obama this week for what some US-China experts are calling the most important US visit by a Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping’s groundbreaking trip in 1979. The intrigue then was around the opening-up of the communist giant. But some three decades later the focus is very different, as China becomes an increasingly active and self-confident player both in the international economy and on the global diplomatic stage. Here are seven key questions pertaining to US-China relations in light of President Hu's visit: