"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Employment Growth Slows As Jobless Benefits Shrink

Jun 1, 2012
Originally published on June 1, 2012 6:14 pm

May's higher unemployment rate and meager job creation couldn't have come at a worse time for people like Julia Gray. A Chicago-based writer and editor with a master's degree, Gray said she has been unemployed for 17 months. "The media world in Chicago is dead and deader," she said.

"I was collecting unemployment benefits for a while," she said. "It helped a great deal — it was incredibly important."

But now her benefits have run out, and her employment search goes on.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.2 percent, leaving 12.7 million Americans out of work. That unwelcome news comes just as federal support for long-term unemployment benefits is starting to shrink.

The number of workers who have gone without paychecks for more than six months jumped to 5.4 million in May, up from 5.1 million the previous month. The increase in long-term unemployment is tough news for those who are now learning their unemployment benefits are expiring this month under rules laid out earlier this year by Congress.

"The final 13 to 20 weeks of jobless insurance that workers in high-unemployment states have been relying on is now being stripped away," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, a group that advocates for low-wage workers.

"These cuts are coming faster than the economy is improving," Owens said in a written statement.

Job Creation Slows

In its May jobs report, the Labor Department said employers added just 69,000 jobs, down from April's downwardly revised 77,000 net new jobs. This spring's job-creation pace was far below the average of 200,000 paychecks added each month during the winter, and well below the level needed to drive down the unemployment rate.

Many conservatives say scaling back extended federal benefits will spur the long-term unemployed to search harder for new jobs. Today's unemployment rate, while still painfully high, is far below the 9.9 percent level that prevailed when Congress first approved the emergency benefits extension in 2009.

At this point, the argument goes, the labor market has improved enough to create opportunities for people who are willing to make necessary changes, such as moving to another location, accepting lower wages or learning new skills. "Unemployment insurance makes unemployment last longer," Casey Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, concluded in a written assessment of the impact of extended benefits.

Gray, the Chicago writer, disagrees with experts who say unemployment benefits discourage job searches. "I've sent out close to 300 resumes, have had a few handfuls of interviews [and] been to countless networking events," she said. "Things are still so bad."

Benefit Cuts Vary By State

The coming reductions in unemployment benefits will vary from state to state and from one individual to the next, depending on when they lost their jobs. Here's what's happening and why:

In general, the responsibility for providing workers with unemployment benefits lies with the states. The basic program typically provides laid-off workers with up to 26 weeks of financial support, replacing about half of their previous weekly wages. There are certain federal requirements, but for the most part, the states set the rules and carry the costs.

But when the Great Recession crushed the job market in 2008 and 2009, Congress agreed to provide additional federal funds to help states extend benefits, in some cases up to 99 weeks. When the authorization for federal unemployment benefits was set to expire in February 2012, Congress reauthorized the program.

New Hurdles For Aid

It wasn't, however, a simple extension. Instead, Congress introduced new hurdles for getting the aid. For one thing, states now have unemployment-rate thresholds that dictate how many weeks of additional funds they can get. So, for example, Californians are getting hit with a reduction in benefits because, despite a jobless rate of nearly 11 percent, unemployment is not worse than it was three years ago.

Today, only three states — Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island — are still providing 99 weeks of help to the long-term unemployed. Starting in September, the maximum number of weeks of benefits will fall to 73 — even in these highest unemployment states.

Congress also imposed new job-searching requirements on those unemployed workers who had exhausted their regular state benefits.

The National Employment Law Project estimates that by the end of the first half of 2012, nearly half a million of the longest-unemployed workers will have been abruptly cut off from the federal unemployment benefits.

And it's not just the federal help that is shrinking. Some states are making it harder for people to qualify for the first few months of benefits. For example, in Florida, the rules have been tightened so much that more than half of all applicants are being turned away.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.