Morning Edition for Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HealthCare.gov Uses Waiting Room To Cool Traffic Surge

Traffic on the government's health insurance website this week will test whether technical repairs have succeeded in boosting the website's capacity. Technical teams have been working to patch bugs and expand the website's capacity. But there were times on Monday when some users still had to be pushed into an online waiting room.
What rights do participants in an airline's frequent-flier plan have to their miles or points? That's the question before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, when the justices examine whether, and under what circumstances, frequent fliers can sue in these disputes.
NPR's Planet Money team has manufactured a T-shirt. All this week we're following its journey around the globe. Today, the T-shirt makes a detour in the Pacific Ocean. Cotton from America gets shipped to a factory in Indonesia where it gets transformed into yarn.

Adidas To Unveil Design Of World Cup Ball

Sports equipment and apparel company Adidas on Tuesday unveils the soccer ball to be used during next year's World Cup in Brazil. A contest was held to name the ball. The winning name: Brazuca.

PISA Test Results For U.S. Students Are 'Sobering'

International standardized test scores have been released. The test is given to students around the world every three years. It measures their knowledge of reading, mathematics and science literacy. U.S. students usually turn in mediocre performances, and this year's scores were no different.

For Miami, A New Art Project, Complete With Drama

The Perez Art Museum Miami opens this week, and despite praise for the building's design, the museum faces controversy over its name and has an uphill battle in a city where the art scene is already defined by private collectors.
Renee Montagne talks to Michelle Singletary, financial columnist for The Washington Post, about what consumers need to understand about putting income aside for retirement. Investment company Charles Schwab recently did a survey that showed most people feel like they don't know what they are doing with their retirement funds.

Cyber Monday Sales Up From Last Year

Millions of consumers went online to get a crack at shopping deals for Cyber Monday. Online sales were $2 billion for the one day — up nearly 20 percent over the same time last year.
Companies often practice image management. That is, after being caught doing something bad, they invest in philanthropic projects. Research is asking whether companies that do good are ever motivated to "cash in" on their good credit?

Cost Of '12 Days Of Christmas' Up From 2012

According to PNC Wealth Management's Christmas Price Index, the cost of the gifts in the holiday song jumped by 7.7 percent. The five golden rings didn't push up the price. It was driven by a spike in the cost of lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing.
Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Asia was supposed to be about trade. Biden's first stop is in Japan, which is anxious for support from its U.S. ally in its confrontation with China over the sovereignty of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Biden will then visit Beijing, which wants the U.S. to reign in what it sees as Japanese nationalist aggression. The trip ends in South Korea, which has its own issues with Japan and China.
Anti-government protesters in Thailand have broken through a gate and forced their way into the prime minister's office compound in Bangkok. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was not inside her office. For more, Renee Montagne talks to former NPR correspondent Michael Sullivan.
Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep talks to writer Yuval Levin about the origins of the American political right and left. In his new book The Great Debate, Levin traces the birth of the left/right divide to the views of two men: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine.

More Employees Agree To Fragmented Hours To Get Work

The economy adds a decent number of jobs every month but there are big questions about the quality of some of those jobs. Many people getting hired these days do not have anything resembling a regular schedule and work fragmented and unpredictable hours.
Another tech boom has brought an influx of money and new residents to San Francisco, and people who have long called the city home are being evicted from their apartments. Tenants and community organizers are demanding that the city do something to stop residents from being pushed out.

Why FISA Court Judges Rule The Way They Do

Newly disclosed court opinions and statements from the Obama administration raise big questions about whether the National Security Agency's surveillance programs are too complicated for anyone to understand or oversee. Self-policing comes with big challenges. Is it possible to control the vast spy agency?

Comet ISON Is No More, NASA Says

There were hopes over the weekend that ISON might have survived its close encounter with the sun. But "with more than a little sadness," the space agency says, "we have to declare the comet lost."

CDZA Doesn't Just Play Music, They Play With It

Collective Cadenza, or CDZA for short, is a loose-knit group of musicians, many graduates of Julliard. They've made a name for themselves with funny YouTube videos that have received millions of views. CDZA will perform live this weekend at the inaugural YouTube Music Video Awards alongside Eminem, Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire.

Independent Bookstores Offer 'Cider Monday'

They invited customers to step away from their computers and stop by for a free cup of apple cider. The celebration was first proposed by The Toadstool Bookshops in New Hampshire. They promised their "servers" wouldn't be overloaded.

Pope Francis Reveals He Once Worked As A Bouncer

Long before becoming the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis worked some odd jobs. At a church in Rome over the weekend, the pope talked about sweeping floors, working in a chemical lab and teaching in high school. And at one time, he kicked troublemakers out of clubs.
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