As U.S. coal consumption has fallen, its exports of coal have risen. Pictured, Midwest Generation's Crawford Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Chicago. The city's two coal-fired plants are closing under a deal with city officials and environmental groups.
America's reliance on coal to produce electricity has declined by more than 20 percent in recent years — but in 2011, the U.S. exported coal at a rate not seen in 20 years, according to the AP. And much of the new surge in coal exports comes from Asia and Europe.
Here's a rough guide to who's buying America's coal, based on the AP story:
South Korea: Up 81 percent to more than 10 million tons.
The Philadelphia Police Department is adding a new tool to its crime-fighting arsenal — Twitter. Supporters say the real-time information-sharing could help police build a stronger rapport with residents and better protect them.
West Philadelphia resident Mike Van Helder remembers when police knocked down his neighbor's door at 6 a.m. "There was shouting and loud noises and of course I didn't know what it was about," Van Helder recalls. "And them being my next door neighbors, I was understandably concerned."
Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who confessed to killing 77 people last July, was not criminally insane when he bombed a government building and gunned unarmed people down at a youth conference, according to two psychiatrists appointed by a court in Norway.
The new development comes days before Behring Breivik's trial is set to begin, on April 16.
Some states are still struggling; California has lost 32,000 teaching positions since 2008. Here, teachers, parents and supporters rally as the Los Angeles Unified School District board meets to consider budget cuts and layoffs on Feb. 14.
In Kansas, legislators are considering devoting extra funds to tax relief instead of hiring more state workers. Republican state Rep. Joe Patton of Topeka, shown in November, talks about proposals to eliminate the state's income tax.
At the end of most previous recessions, hiring has increased among state and local governments, helping the broader economy to recover.
That's not happening this time around.
Layoffs have started to taper off, and tax receipts are starting to improve. But states are still a long way from bringing their workforces back up to pre-recession levels. And cities and counties remain in greater fiscal peril.
As he's been reporting for NPR.org in recent months, Alan Greenblatt has noticed something unusual: he's increasingly being asked to prove who he is and that he is, in fact, a journalist. Here's what he found when he started to ask why that's happening:
How many people would bother to impersonate a reporter? Enough, apparently, to cause some government officials to do preliminary background checks on people to whom they grant interviews.
A shooting spree that left three African-Americans dead in Oklahoma and the death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin have renewed public debate about hate crime laws. Host Michel Martin speaks with law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler about hate crime statutes and whether they're necessary.