Fri October 31, 2014

Why Deflation Is Such A Big Worry For Europe

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 8:46 am

A farmer protesting falling prices dumps cauliflower in front of the prefecture building of Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France as police look on Sept. 24.
Fred Tanneau AFP/Getty Images

Growth is slowing all over the world right now, and that's especially true in Europe. Much of the continent is on the brink of another recession, and even the German economy is sputtering to a halt.

Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are actually experiencing deflation — a broad drop in incomes and asset values. It's a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.

Europe's long, slow economic downturn has taken its toll on Javier Oroz Rodriguez, who owns a butcher shop in downtown Madrid.

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Thu October 30, 2014

The Place Where Rutherford B. Hayes Is A Really Big Deal

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:27 pm

Paraguayan government employee Daniel Alonso holds a portrait of Rutherford B. Hayes at the government building in Villa Hayes, the Paraguayan town named after the 19th U.S. president. Hayes is revered for a decision that gave the country 60 percent of its present territory.
Jorge Saenz AP

Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th U.S. president, doesn't get much respect. He's remembered, if at all, for losing the popular vote in 1876 but winning the presidency through Electoral College maneuvering. That gave rise to his nickname, "Rutherfraud."

But there's one place where Hayes stands as a historical heavyweight: in the tiny South American nation of Paraguay.

In fact, an industrial city on the banks of the Paraguay River is named Villa Hayes — Spanish for "Hayesville" — in his honor.

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Thu October 30, 2014

With Limited Gains, U.S. Bombing Campaign Faces Growing Criticism

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

Iraqi soldiers walk in Jurf al-Sakhr, south of the capital Baghdad, on Monday after Iraqi military forces retook the area from Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces, supported by U.S. airstrikes, have made limited gains in recent months, but critics are questioning whether the U.S. strategy is likely to succeed.
Haidar Mohammed Ali AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been on the defensive recently about the strategy to take on the Islamic State. American warplanes have been bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, but militant fighters are still on the move.

"We have made it very clear, I have and President Obama has, that this is a long, difficult effort," Hagel said.

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Tue October 28, 2014

With A Soft Approach On Gangs, Nicaragua Eschews Violence

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 5:59 pm

A statue of Jesus Christ called "Cristo Rey" is prominently located near the entrance of the Dimitrov neighborhood, which used to be so violent, people joked the Christ was being held up at gunpoint.
Juan Carlos for NPR

As the sun sinks just below the horizon, Jorge Sandoval strolls across a dusty street.

He's a small man in his 50s, who runs volunteer patrols. The neighborhood is poor. The houses are cobbled together out of leftover wood and pieces of metal.

Two years ago, Sandoval says, these streets used to be desolate and controlled by gangs.

"They would shoot at each other at all hours," Sandoval says. "Suddenly you'd find someone injured, someone innocent, because they just didn't care."

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Tue October 28, 2014

As Great Barrier Reef Ails, Australia Scrambles To Save It

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 5:37 pm

These scuba divers are among the 2 million tourists who visit the Great Barrier Reef each year. They contribute about $5.6 billion to Australia's economy, according to the Queensland government.
Steve Dorsey for NPR

The Great Barrier Reef has long been in trouble. One Australian government report in 2012 estimated the reef had lost more than half its coral since 1985.

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