Cui Jinmin oversees an abandoned strip of unfinished highway in western China's Shaanxi province. Cui says the government stopped paying his workers in April and they went home in July.
Credit Frank Langfitt/NPR
Work on this $1.5 billion highway in western China's Shaanxi province mostly halted after the government ran out of money. China has spent large sums to help keep its economy growing in recent years, but many local governments now face big debt burdens.
As the U.S. and Europe have struggled with debt, China has seemed to be largely immune. This fall, the European Union even asked China for financial help, but China has a debt problem of its own.
Over the past several years, local governments have run up at least $1.5 trillion in bank loans for infrastructure projects intended to prop up the nation's economic growth. Analysts think much of that money will never be repaid.
It's not unusual for awful traffic conditions or incompetent driving to make some people really angry behind the wheel. But when enraged drivers actually lash out at others on the road, that's road rage — and experts say it can be a sign of deeper emotional problems.
The term road rage was coined in Los Angeles – a city long known for its epic freeway jams. Mike Shen got a taste of how bad it can get shortly after moving to L,A., when a woman viciously tailgated him on the freeway.
Many European parents, and some American ones, too, have long figured if they let their kids drink alcohol at home, they'd be less likely to go hog wild with their friends. But recent studies of teen drinking behavior don't bear that out.
That's unwelcome news in places like France, where these scientific developments are running head long into a culture that loves its wine.
Just because you don't want to spend a lot over the holidays doesn't mean you don't want to enjoy yourself. In her book Nigella Christmas, chef Nigella Lawson has plenty of tricks for making food festive yet frugal.
"At key times of the year like the holidays, what one really wants are the simpler, more traditional foods," Lawson tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "I don't know that I want anything giddyingly fancy."