Job applicants outside the Staffmark temp agency in Cypress, Calif., in 2005. Temp hiring is usually a harbinger of an improving job market, but some analysts say more employers may be considering temps as a more permanent staffing solution.
While the job market remains sluggish, temporary work is one area that's done very well in the economic recovery. Companies are keeping their temps longer and are even using them to fill professional and high-ranking positions.
The average daily number of temporary workers employed during the first quarter of 2012 was more than 2.5 million. That's up from a low of 2.1 million in early 2009, according to the American Staffing Association.
Ibrahim Ahmad, the son of the owner of the Imperial Bagpipe Manufacturing Co., tests a bagpipe at a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan. The Pakistani city is the largest producer of the instruments most commonly associated with Scotland.
Credit Mike Shuster / NPR
Naeem Akhbar is chief executive of Halifax and Co., a more than 70-year-old bagpipe manufacturer in Sialkot. Here, he plays the most expensive bagpipe his company produces, which sells for $700 in Pakistan and more than $1,600 in Europe and the U.S.
Credit Mike Shuster / NPR
A lathe operator in the workshop of Halifax and Company turns out wood spindles that will be part of the pipes in toy bagpipes.
Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.
But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.
Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. And no city in Pakistan makes more of them than Sialkot.
Maria Cuervo, 41, poses at her home in Bogota March 5 with a photo of herself before a stranger threw acid at her face in 2004.
Credit Juan Forero for NPR
Consuelo Cordoba's partner threw acid at her a decade ago. The 51-year-old Colombian has undergone multiple surgeries and is unable to find work. This year, about 100 cases of acid attacks — mostly against women — have already been reported in Colombia.
A brutal crime more commonly associated with Pakistan or India is now on the rise in South America: Jealous husbands, spurned lovers and, in a few cases, even perfect strangers are dousing women with sulfuric or nitric acids, literally burning off their faces.
In Colombia, the horrific trend is terrorizing women and alarming officials.
Among those disfigured by such an attack is Consuelo Cordoba, 51, who was assaulted a decade ago by her former partner and lives a life of endless physical and psychological pain.
In this image provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, a woman holds a child in front of their destroyed home in Tremseh, Syria, on July 14. The authenticity, content, location and date have not been independently verified.
This image provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows a destroyed minaret of a mosque in Tremseh, Syria, on July 12. The authenticity, content, location and date have not been independently verified.
At least 100 people were killed earlier this month in a Syrian village called Tremseh. Activists called the deaths a massacre of innocent civilians by government forces, but later reports suggested it was something different. After spending a week with rebel fighters in the country, I discovered some previously untold details about the killings.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued its first stop-sale order in 11 years, saying the magnetic toys called Buckyballs "pose a substantial risk of injury to the public," Reuters is reporting.
The CPSC has been trying to curb injuries with this toy since 2010, when it issued a recall of Buckyballs intended for those 14 years and younger. But those efforts haven't helped, the agency said when it announced that it has filed a complaint seeking to stop the company from selling the product.
I've gotten a lot of email about my interview with Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday. People seem to have liked the story because they could see the justice as a human being — combative, funny, engaging and charming.
That's why I and so many other folks always enjoy spending time with him.
So, take this exchange from our interview. Only part of it was in my piece on air, or even the longer piece on the Web.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. For all the partisan debate over tax cuts, extending them, ending them, changing the code, it's been a while since Congress has actually passed a tax-related measure. But, today, the Senate narrowly approved a proposal from President Obama. It would extend the Bush era tax cuts on household income up to a quarter million dollars.
A campaign sticker for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is seen on a sign for Romney Street in London on Wednesday, as Romney arrived to meet with leaders, hold fundraisers and attend the opening of the Olympics.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on a weeklong trip in which he's scheduled to meet with three prime ministers, give two speeches and attend the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. On a more practical level, he'll also raise some campaign cash.
This trip is designed to highlight how Romney would fix the failings he sees in President Obama's foreign policy.
Romney opened his attack Tuesday while still in the U.S. In an address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., he lit into the Obama administration's relationship with Israel.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Now to Southern California, where the city of Anaheim is on edge. That's after demonstrations against police last night turned violent. Protesters are angry about a pair of police shootings that left two young Hispanic men dead. As we hear from NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates, last night's city council meeting became the flash point.