Moving on now to the U.S. economy, there are several signals today that its chugging away at a healthy pace despite fiscal uncertainty in Washington. A report on retail sales finds them up more than expected, and two separate surveys reveal that top executives are feeling pretty good about the outlook for their businesses.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi tells U.S. more.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Ron Arrington is chief money man for a Fort Worth construction company who likes what he sees in his crystal ball.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. Chuck Hagel is freshly back this week from his first trip to Afghanistan as defense secretary. For the 66,000 American troops in Afghanistan, the distance that separates them from their Pentagon superiors can feel enormous. They received Hagel as one who has walked in their boots. NPR's David Welna was along on the trip.