So how did you ring in the New Year this year: among friends with a pop of champagne and a kiss? Or did you join with the millions of celebrants in cities all around the world, who gathered in public places, to bring in 2014 with a bang. In London, a spectacular fireworks display kicked off with Big Ben chiming in the New Year.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Around New Year's lots of us are thinking about time and how we spend it. Yesterday we heard about an unusual wristwatch that challenged how we look at time and today we bring you a story about an alarm clock designed to help you stick to those New Year's resolutions.
The Chicago based company Fig believes the clock will help keep people motivated to meet their life goals. NPR's Alix Spiegel took a look and found the clock led her into some much deeper issues.
January 1st is the day college football fans dream about - or, at least they used to. Not too long ago, it featured the big event: the last and biggest of the bowl games. We'll have to wait until next Monday for the BCS championship, but no worry, there are still some good games on tap for today. And here with a preview is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.
MONTAGNE: Six games today, Mike. Which are the big ones?
As the new year begins, some of the familiar voices you hear on NPR will be coming from different places. Call it our own version of musical chairs. Our colleague Philip Reeves has been covering Europe from his base in London. He's now moving to Pakistan. Replacing him in London is Ari Shapiro, who's been our White House correspondent.
Attorney Lynn Stewart smiles at her husband Ralph Poynter, as they leave Federal Court in Manhattan in 2005 after she was convicted on all five charges regarding aiding terrorism, assisting terrorism and making false statements.
Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 10:47 am
Former defense lawyer Lynne Stewart, 74, who's suffering from breast cancer, has been released from a Texas prison.
In 2005, Stewart was convicted of helping blind Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman communicate with followers while he was serving a life sentence for plotting to blow up landmarks in New York City.
Government attorneys requested the early release for Stewart because the cancer has metastasized to her lungs and bones.
At the American Physical Society's fluid dynamics conference this winter, there was a healthy infusion of biology. In between talks on propellers and plane wings, there were presentations about flying snakes, fire ants, humpback whales and hummingbirds. Physicists from all over the world are turning to the natural world to help them solve engineering problems.
Villages in the Lower Shire valley of Malawi, like this one named Jasi, rely heavily on subsistence farming and steady rainfall, and are struggling to produce steady harvests.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Saiton Ngalou lays hay over his corn field to help retain moisture and keep his harvest healthy. He also staggers beans along the rows of maize, to cut down on soil erosion from heavy downpours.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Jasi's farmers now track rainfall with a water gauge installed by Eagles Relief and Development. Last year, when it hit 26.7 millimeters on Dec. 18, they put up signs at the local church and school informing people that they could plant millet, since the soil was moist enough for it to germinate. The trigger for planting corn was 35.6 millimeters.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Victor Mughogho (left) is the executive director of Eagles Relief and Development, a nonprofit organization that's helping farmers adapt to climate change. He talks with villagers in Jasi, where his group has also donated goats so that people can sell the offspring if their harvest falls short.
Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.
In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.
Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government, and a lot of them get a hefty discount. But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge amounts of money after floods, and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red.
Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. Now that move has created such uproar among property owners that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear.
There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."
The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"
She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. I ask for $26.
A November demonstration against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Designated Secrets Bill drew thousands of protesters. The Japanese Parliament has since passed the law, under which people convicted of leaking classified information will face five to 10 years in prison.
Credit Franck Robichon / European Pressphoto Agency/Landov