The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.
Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.
It's been a month since Sandy made landfall in the northeast. For millions in that big storm's path, life is returning to normal - not for tens of thousands of people in New York City who still, still don't have electricity or heat. Many of them are waiting for an electrician to come to repair or certify wiring that was damaged by all the flooding. But as NPR's Joel Rose reports, there aren't enough electricians to go around.
Here in Washington, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has been on Capitol Hill this week trying to drum up support for a nomination she doesn't yet have. She's hoping to become secretary of state, but so far it's not looking good. Rice is under fire from Republicans for what she said on Sunday talk shows, about the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya in September.
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The multinational oil firm BP is being taken to account for the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, the Obama administration banned BP from any new contacts with the federal government, citing, quote, "a lack of business integrity" related to the spill - that after BP admitted criminal wrongdoing in its recent settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.
In so many ways our country seems politically divided. Nevertheless, last month's election left 11 states controlled by supermajorities, meaning one party occupies the governor's mansion and owns the overwhelming majority in the legislature. Let's get a sense for the dynamic in one of these states - Indiana. Republicans seem in command. And yet despite their new leverage, Indiana's Republican lawmakers are preaching caution and a need for increased bipartisanship. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith reports.