Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:08 am
Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.
But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.
Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.
A liquefied natural gas tanker arrives at a gas storage station east of Tokyo on April 6, 2009. The shuttering of Japan's nuclear power plants has driven an increased reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.
Credit Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP/Getty Images
Steam rises from the Kawasaki natural gas power station in Kawasaki city, Kanagawa prefecture, on Aug. 25, 2011. Major utility companies in Japan have increased their use of liquefied natural gas by about 27 percent since the earthquake and nuclear disaster.
The tsunami that struck Japan last year destroyed four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station on the east coast of the country. Radiation spread through the air and into the ocean, and workers labored for weeks to quench the melting reactor cores. Farmland and numerous towns were evacuated and much remains off-limits.
Since then, Japan has been temporarily shutting down its remaining nuclear plants as the public debates whether to swear off nuclear power permanently. But saying no to nuclear has been and will continue to be costly.
Syrian girls attend a class in a makeshift classroom at a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border in southern Turkey's Hatay province, on Feb. 8. More than 12,000 Syrians live in refugee camps in Hatay, and several thousand more have found accommodations elsewhere.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
About 1,900 people live at the Boynuyogun refugee camp.
It could be a scene from almost any school in the world: rows of young kids reciting their lessons, the girls dressed in shades of pink and sporting Hello Kitty backpacks, the boys in dark clothing, looking a little restless.
But this makeshift school is in a concrete farmhouse on the outskirts of Antakya, in southern Turkey's Hatay province near the border with Syria. And the 156 students — aged 6 to 13 — are all refugees from cities and towns across Syria.
Mitt Romney picked up some support in Saturday's contests, but there may be trouble lurking for him in the near future as the GOP race moves to the Deep South.
Despite his second-place finish in Kansas, Romney scored victories Saturday in caucuses in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also won county conventions in Wyoming.
Tuesday's primaries are in Alabama and Mississippi, and the reddest of states are proving to be a tough sell for the former Massachusetts governor. He's trying his best to connect with the Republican base.
The city of Stockton, Calif., about 90 minutes east of San Francisco, is broke and on the brink of bankruptcy. Stockton's road to insolvency is a long one, and it appears that, financially speaking, everything that could go wrong in Stockton did.
If Stockton can't solve its budget crisis, it would be the largest American city to go bankrupt.