As NPR's Juan Williams learned when he was fired Thursday for comments that were taken to be anti-Muslim, the axe is swift to fall when media personalities speak out on controversial topics. Here is his story and those of five others recently ousted for voicing unpopular views.
Setting off speculation that China is manipulating exports to punish certain trade partners, Beijing announced in July it was slashing its six-month export quota of so-called 'rare earths' by 72 percent. Speculation continued this week with reports of an expanding embargo of the minerals. But the so-called "rare earths" are neither rare nor does China have a lock on them. Although China produces 97 percent of the world's rare earths, it contains only 30 percent of the world's supply. The United States, Russia, and Australia all have significant reserves of the 17 elements essential in semiconducters, lasers, and other high-tech gadgets. While mining them has proved uneconomical at usual world prices and environmentally harmful, that may be changing. Click through the following slides to read how rare earths are important to your daily life.
At its Oct. 20 event, Apple rolled out two new MacBook Air laptops, a slew of updates for its iLife suite, and a sneak peak at the next OS X upgrade, Lion. This new coat of polish for Apple's computer line comes at a time of rapid growth for the Mac. In the last few years, Apple has transitioned from a computer company that made mobile devices to a mobile-device company that makes computers. Last quarter, Apple shipped 14.1 million iPhones, 4.1 million iPads, and just 3.89 million Macs. Still, Mac sales have grown 2.5 times faster than the rest of the PC industry, according to the company. Wednesday's event tried to reassure Mac fans that the company stands firmly behind its computers, and convince mobile converts that many of the things they love about iPhones and iPad will soon appear in computers. Click the blue arrows to learn how.
Britain announced budget cuts Wednesday that are part of a five-year austerity plan and the largest public spending reductions since World War II. Cuts will average 19 percent for most departments, but welfare benefits take a strong hit and some departments' budgets will be trimmed by as much as 23 percent.
Syria, Rwanda, and Yemen have fallen to the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said today. The three countries join other single-party dominated governments at the bottom of the annual index, while six democratic Northern European nations tied this year as the best places for media freedom. Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland have ranked at the top since the index was created in 2002, Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Jean-François Julliard said in a statement. "The defense of media freedom continues to be a battle, a battle of vigilance in the democracies of old Europe and a battle against oppression and injustice in the totalitarian regimes still scattered across the globe," he said. Click through the following slides to read about the 10 lowest-ranking nations.
More than 8,000 teens voted for their favorite book of last year in a contest sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. What made the list?
Barbie goes on the auction block Oct. 20. If she pulls in what she's expected to, she'll be the most expensive doll in Barbie's 51-year history. Here are the Top 4 most expensive Barbies, according to most-expensive.net:
The story of David Hartley, who was allegedly shot by Mexican drug traffickers Sept. 30 while jet-skiing on a lake that straddles Texas and Mexico, has received continuous coverage in American news. In Mexico, however, mention the Falcon Lake killing and you might very well get a blank stare. While American deaths in Mexico usually generate an equal amount of coverage from both nations, the lack of local coverage of his case has revealed a stark disconnect in perspectives on opposite sides of the border. Here are five reasons why.
The strikes roiling France right now are about government plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the pension age, which determines when people can begin accessing their pension funds, from 65 to 67. The French government says it can no longer afford the earlier retirement and pension ages. France is not the only country facing a budget crunch partially because of its generous pension system, coupled with an aging population and a struggling economy. Across Europe, home to many of the world's most generous national pension systems, countries are struggling to afford this staple of the welfare state. Here are five examples.
Presidential press conferences and official speeches are commonplace on TV, but less-formal appearances are rare for the commander in chief. President Obama's appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Tuesday got us thinking: Which other sitting presidents have appeared on TV? Read on for six more examples.
For a week, French union workers have been protesting government plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67. Headlines Monday warned of fuel shortages and gas prices have jumped in response – but the gas pumps are not the only place where the French are feeling the impact of the strikes.
Employers need quick ways to sort through the thousands of résumés they receive. One favorite method is the keyword search. If you use the keywords companies are looking for, your résumé has a better chance of standing out, job-search advisers say. Here are five résumé-writing tips to take advantage of keywords:
Here’s something both Democrats and the GOP establishment in Washington are going to have to come to terms with: Tea party candidates will win some elections this fall. The only question is, how many? There is already a tea party caucus in Congress, but how much bigger of a room is it going to need to hold its meetings?
When Swiss engineers completed drilling the Gotthard Base Tunnel Friday, they were lauded for finishing the world’s longest tunnel – but actually it's only the world's longest rail tunnel. Read on to find out what underground structures take the honors for being the longest.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Bosses Day 2010 has arrived, bringing with it the existential question: What do you buy for someone who makes more money than you do (and why should you buy a present for your boss, anyway)? Whether you work for the world’s greatest boss or an intolerable tyrant, here are ideas that won’t get you fired – and might even help with that next promotion. (Note: We haven't actually tried any of these, but they seem boss-friendly.)
Intensely religious and uncompromisingly conservative, Christine O'Donnell rode a wave of anti-establishment anger to secure the GOP nomination for Delaware's Senate election. But how much do you really know about her? Take our quiz and find out.
The story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for two months, a story that captivated the world, will soon fade into the backdrop. But for these men, their reemergence on the surface Wednesday is just the beginning of months, possibly years, of adjustment to their heightened status in society and the changes that happened while they were underground. Below are some of the things the miners will have to tackle next.
Shortly after midnight on Oct. 13 in northern Chile (11:12 pm in New York City), Florencio Ávalos became the first of 33 miners to emerge from the Atacama Desert. An Aug. 5 cave-in blocked their exit from the gold and copper mine, and the trapped men were initially suspected dead when they were unable to contact the world for 17 days. Entombed a half-mile underground for a total of 69 days, the rescue mission united Chile, inspired the world, and succeeded in part because of the following five reasons.
The technical difficulty of the ongoing Chile mine rescue may put it in the history books for some time as the most impressive mining rescue. Many of the miners have now emerged from their enclave more than 2,000 feet underground, where they awaited rescue for 69 days. Below are some of most notable mine rescues in recent times.
Following Atlanta's 3-2 loss to the Giants Monday night in the National League Division Series, Braves manager Bobby Cox retired after 29 seasons as a major league skipper. That got us to thinking about the best managers of all time. How would you make that choice? Best win-loss ratio? Most World Series wins? We decided to use post-season playoff appearances. Drawing on Baseball-Reference.com and BaseballHall.org, here's our top five list.
The World Economic Forum released its 2010 Global Gender Gap Report on Tuesday. The report, which indexed 134 countries this year, evaluates how much of the gender gap each country has eliminated through economic opportunity, health access, education, and political empowerment. Below are the 10 countries that have been most successful. You can also read more about this year's report at our Global News blog.
It took 33 days to drill a 622-meter shaft down to the 33 trapped miners, completed Monday. Several steps remain before freedom comes to the men who have lived a half-mile under the Atacama Desert since a mine collapse on Aug. 5.
In the United States, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is responsible for 1 in 75 new births, creating a whole new industry over the past three decades. Worldwide, IVF contributes more than 1 in 50 new births in 17 countries. Who has the most? It depends on how you count. Of the more than 4 million IVF babies that have been born since 1978, the largest number are in the US, followed by other wealthy populous nations, such as Japan and France. But which countries have the greatest share of 'test tube' babies? Here are the Top 5:
The US lost jobs in September and the unemployment rate remains at a high 9.6 percent, the US Department of Labor reported Friday. But some metropolitan areas are bucking the trend and adding jobs. By making everything from food to music and band instruments, these four metros have seen the biggest year-over-year decline in their unemployment rates. Is your city on this list?