From NPR News in Washington, I'm Barbara Klein.
It may be a day closer to the "fiscal cliff", but lawmakers don't appear to be making any steps away from it. They continue to stand their ground. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says raising the age from medicare eligibility is a line in the sand.
As I have said, don't even think about raising the medicare age. We are not throwing America's seniors over the cliff to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America.
House Speaker John Boehner continues to charge the White House with being fixated on taxes and refusing to take a balanced approach.
That's clear that the President is just not serious about cutting and spending. But spending is the problem.
But White House Spokesman Jay Carney says the problem is Republicans are making no movement on raising taxes on high incomes.
Meanwhile, some positive news on the economy, jobless claims fell sharply last week for the fourth week in a row. The Labor Department reports jobless claims were down by 29,000. And retail sales in November were up slightly. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports that thanks to the start of the holiday season and some post Sandy spending.
The modest 0.3% rise in overall retail sales jumps to a solid 0.8% increase when you factor in the lower price of gas at the pump. The November numbers released by the Commerce Department send a mixed signal for holiday spending. Online shopping rose 3%, the largest gain in over a year. But sales at department stores and places like Wal-Mart and Target were down. Sales of autos, furniture, electronics and building supplies were all strong in November. Looking ahead, IHS Global Insight forecasts holiday sales will rise nearly 4% over last year with online holiday spending expected to climb a whopping 17%. Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.
In the West Bank city of Hebron today, thousands shouted anti-Israeli slogans as they attended the funeral of a Palestinian teenager killed by the Israeli army. From Hebron, Sheera Frenkel reports.
Sixteen-year-old Mohamed Salayma was killed Wednesday at an Israeli military checkpoint in Hebron. Israeli police said they opened fire because Salayma was carrying a gun that they later discovered was a plastic toy. Salayma's family say the toy gun is a fabrication and add Salayma was walking home to celebrate his birthday with his family when he was shot. At the funeral, thousands of Palestinians marched through the streets of Hebron and called for revenge. Clashes erupted throughout the city with Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli military positions. Palestinian officials said that 25 people were injured from tear gas inhalation and three were wounded by rubber bullets. For NPR News, I'm Sheera Frenkel.
On Wall Street at this hour, an hour before the close, the Dow is down 80 points at 13,164. The NASDAQ is down 25 at 2,989.
This is NPR.
European foreign ministers have had a highly productive day, they agreed to have the European Central Bank supervise Eurozone banking. And they've approved the next bailout installment for Greece.
New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission today voted to allow passengers to use mobile apps on their smartphones to hail cabs and pay for rides. NPR's Margot Adler reports similar technology has already been used in several cities.
A company called Hailo operates e-hailing apps in Toronto, Boston, London, Chicago and other cities. The dissension over this issue in New York has come partly from livery cab drivers who want to be included. Although many livery companies already have some of this technology. There is also the question of whether using apps will distract drivers and be unsafe. Proponents argue that e-hailing apps will allow both drivers and passengers to have a wider vision of where cabs are in their neighborhood. They also argue that many cabs are unoccupied almost half the time and this will make finding taxis much easier. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.
Speaking of finding things, Google Maps is once again available on iPhones. Google today released a map app for iPhones nearly three months after Apple put in its own built-in navigation system on its new devices. NPR's Steve Henn tells us the Google Map app is a major step in the right direction.
It does things that the old Google Map app on the iPhone didn't do. It has a turn-by-turn voice direction, so you don't have to stare at your phone while you are trying to drive which is certainly safer. In the also as you do search on your computer if you logged in to Google. And that search will just show up automatically on your phone. So you don't have to type with your fingers when you get into your car. NPR's Steve Henn.
I'm Barbara Klein, NPR News, in Washington.