We're going to hear now about this year's big final four matchup, but not in basketball. This weekend Webster University of St. Louis, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Illinois square off outside Washington, D.C. in the Final Four of College Chess, the President's Cup. Those schools emerged in a tie at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship last December.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are tracking changes in the Philadelphia accent. Reporter Zack Seward dips into archives that include more than a century's worth of Philly natives. The researchers say most regional accents are alive and well, even in the digital age, but they're always changing.
California's economy is a study in contrasts. The state's unemployment rate — 9.8 percent — is tied with Rhode Island for the highest in the country. Parts of the state are still suffering mightily from the housing collapse. But there are also large pockets of job growth and revival.
Tumult defines the Central African Republic. The landlocked nation in the heart of Africa is rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold and uranium, but it remains one of the world's poorest countries. It has suffered from decades of misrule and coups.
The latest uprising occurred last month, when a rebel alliance seized control of the country and ousted the president. What followed were days of violence and looting, leaving the country in shambles: gas stations without pumps, hospitals without equipment, the university without computers.
The writer J.M. Ledgard leads multiple lives. He's a journalist and covers East Africa for the Economist, but Ledgard is also a novelist. Here's Alan Cheuse with a review of his latest book, "Submergence."
ALAN CHEUSE, BYLINE: James More, a British secret agent, has been captured by a Somalian affiliate of al-Qaeda, a peripatetic fringe group that keeps moving him back and forth across the mostly barren terrain of northeastern Africa, trying to hide from drone attacks and make jihad at the same time.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
At first blush, it might seem like good news from the Labor Department this morning: The unemployment rate that has been dropping in recent months fell again. It fell to 7.6 percent in March. But job growth was much weaker than expected. And the main reason that the rate went down is that a large number of people decided to leave the workforce. NPR's Yuki Noguchi joins us now. Hi, Yuki.
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 4:36 pm
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.