Just six people managed to sign up for health insurance through the federal website the day it opened for business. The numbers are better now, but the botched rollout may have not only inconvenienced people, but also permanently changed people's perceptions of the Affordable Care Act.
As 2013 wraps up, NPR is looking at the numbers that tell this year's story. The number 1,134 got us all talking about where our clothes come from, who's making it, and under what conditions. It's the official death toll of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.
As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.
As the volume of online orders surged, some retailers and package delivery companies were unable to fulfill promises to deliver gifts by Christmas. UPS acknowledged it was overwhelmed by all the late traffic. In response to complaints, Amazon says it is offering gift cards and refunds for shipping charges.
The good news is that air travel to and from Venezuela is dirt cheap due to the difference between the official cost of tickets and the black-market currency rate. The bad news is that many flights are booked up months in advance.
A last-minute crush of online orders and some bad weather kept the companies from getting some packages delivered before Christmas, they say. Both have called in extra workers and are renting extra trucks to make deliveries on Thursday.
Earlier this month, China imposed a ban on shellfish imports from most of the U.S. West Coast after finding two bad clams. The move is hitting Washington state particularly hard. State agencies estimate businesses there are losing as much as $600,000 a week.
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