From NPR News in Washington, I'm Windsor Johnston.
More than two months after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the Northeast, the Senate has passed a $9.7 billion bill, providing aid to storm victims.
The bill cleared the House earlier today.
New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says there is no question that the passage of the measure was long overdue.
We really had no choice but to pass this provision, because the federal government is obligated to reimburse when people have floods if they have paid in their flood insurance.
So while this bill is important, it's something we were almost obligated to do, and we should not have parades down the street because this bill has passed.
A vote on another $51 billion in recovery aid is expected later this month.
The Food and Drug Administration is releasing a set of proposed regulations today for farms that grow fruits and vegetables as well as food processors.
As NPR's Dan Charles reports the regulations have been in the works for two years.
In 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act.
It gave the FDA more power to regulate operations at large vegetable farms, such as the farm in Colorado that sold contaminated cantaloupes in 2011.
Thirty-three people died from eating them.
The new draft regulations call for practices that many private companies are doing already.
They try to block every possible way that harmful bacteria might get on fresh food from stray animals leaving droppings in fields to farm workers not washing their hands.
Congress exempted the smallest farms from these regulations, but many small farmers still worry that they will in fact have to follow them raising their costs.
Farmers and consumers now have four months to study the rules and propose changes.
Dan Charles, NPR News.
Stocks open slightly higher following this morning's jobs report.
It shows the pace of hiring eased slightly in December, while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%.
NPR's Dave Mattingly has more.
Despite uncertainty about the fiscal cliff, employers added 155,000 jobs in December.
The Labor Department says construction added 30,000, the most in 15 months.
Much of that gain tied to rebuilding in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy.
Economist Joe Johnson.
You can say these are good numbers, we did add 1.8 million jobs in the year.
I suppose that's good news, but at the same time, when you compare to other recoveries in the postwar period it's not particularly strong.
The job gains for 2012 roughly equal those seen in 2011.
Dave Mattingly, NPR News, Washington.
At last check on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 23 points at 13,415;
the NASDAQ Composite up two points at 3,103;
the S&P 500 up five at 1,464.
This is NPR.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains hospitalized in Cuba after complications following a fourth cancer surgery last month.
NPR's Juan Forero reports the president's condition is raising questions over whether he will be able to return to office.
The president is now suffering from respiratory deficiency, as Venezuela's minister of information put it in a statement.
But there is little more information about the 58-year-old populist.
Chavez hasn't been seen since his December 11th operation in Havana.
Before leaving, he anointed a successor, his vice president to take over should he die or become unable to resume as president.
In October, Chavez won reelection.
But with his delicate condition, many in Venezuela questioned whether he would be back home to be sworn in on Thursday.
Opposition leaders have been calling for more information about Chavez's health, which has been a state secret.
The government has shot back, accusing its opponents of psychological warfare.
Juan Forero, NPR News.
A 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education, has been released from a British hospital.
Shaista Gohir of the Muslim Women's Network, says the story of Malala Yousafzai is a valuable teaching tool for girls no matter their faith or nationality.
She was speaking out for her rights in the context where she probably knew that she could be subjected to violence and obviously, her family supported her pretty well and she is an inspiration to women and girls across the world.
Malala will live with her family in the UK while she continues to receive treatment.
I'm Windsor Johnston, NPR News, in Washington.
They intended to devastate the town at one stroke.
I was reimbursed in full.
People wore historical costumes for the parade.
He is responsible for the administration of justice.
All over the world, oil spills regularly contaminate coasts.