All Things Considered for December 19, 2013
Dec 19, 2013 — The Air Force on Thursday destroyed the last B-52 bomber required under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. A crew used a circular saw to cut through the plane's aluminum skin, the tail section separating from the fuselage with a loud thunk and officially rendering the bomber useless.
Dec 19, 2013 — Salinas, Calif., is just an hour from Silicon Valley, but production at many local lettuce farms is decidedly low-tech. City officials here decided it's time for an upgrade — and have hired a venture capital firm to help Salinas transition into a high-tech agricultural hub.
Dec 19, 2013 — Christmas is less than a week away and shoppers continue their quest for the perfect gift at the perfect price. But at one shop in a southwest Ohio mall, Roman Catholic friars are offering their presence for free.
Dec 19, 2013 — It's the start of retirement season in the House as members head home after a long, difficult year. Three House members — two Republicans and a Democrat — announced their retirements from Congress this week, ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.
Dec 19, 2013 — Two billion — that's the number of dollars the federal government lost during the partial government shutdown, paying furloughed employees not to work.
Dec 19, 2013 — The New York City Council is slated to vote on a bill today that would add electronic cigarettes to the city's smoking ban. If the bill passes, use of e-cigarettes would be prohibited from public and private venues such as beaches, parks, restaurants and offices.
Dec 19, 2013 — Right in the middle of holiday shopping season, some 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in a major breach of Target customer data. The thefts occurred in stores, not online. Target says it's working with a forensics company to investigate and prevent similar data thefts from occurring in the future. Security experts say one way to limit them is to switch from magnetic stripes on cards to embedded chips.
Dec 19, 2013 — A review panel convened by the White House released its report on surveillance by the National Security Agency Wednesday. Among concerns the task force has are NSA practices that some say deliberately weaken America's cyber security. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been critical about surveillance activities, and Mark Rumold, staff attorney for the organization, tells Audie Cornish about the pros and cons of the panel's recommendations.
Dec 19, 2013 — Civil liberties groups are urging President Obama to follow through with the recommendations of his NSA review committee. The panel suggested limiting the spy agency's electronic surveillance.
Dec 19, 2013 — One of the stars of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, has been suspended by A+E. He made antigay statements in an interview with a magazine. Duck Dynasty is a huge media property, with a hit TV show that has been spun off into publishing and merchandising.