All Things Considered for Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Audie Cornish talks to Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard about the United States' role in resettling Syrian refugees.

In Syria, Conflict In Cyberspace Complements Ground War

The Syrian civil war is raging on the battlefield, but it's also raging online. While the rebels have gone online to recruit fighters and coordinate with allies, forces supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime have employed malware to infiltrate and track them. Morgan Marquis-Boire, a security researcher at the University of Toronto who's following the cyber conflict in Syria, talks to Robert Siegel about the way the digital war is being waged.
New Year's Day has become its own holiday of sorts for some hockey fans. The Detroit Red Wings play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Wednesday in front of more than 100,000 people. The game time weather forecast: about 18 degrees, with an 80 percent chance of snow.

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course

In 2012, "massive open online courses" were lauded as the most important trend in higher education. But this year, educators and even students rebelled against the rapid expansion of online learning. Two of the biggest MOOCs say they're making big changes in how they deliver their classes in 2014.

In Russia, A Soviet-Era Movie To Ring In The New Year

The Irony of Fate is the country's favorite holiday movie. Like classic American films such as It's A Wonderful Life, it captures the magic of the holidays, but in a way that is quintessentially Russian.
For about eight hours on New Year's Eve, Berlin sounds like a war zone with thousands of people taking to the streets to shoot off fireworks — and not just into the air. Subways, passing cars and even pedestrians are also targets. Many residents choose to leave the city because of the noise and danger. Those who remain tend to stay indoors because it isn't safe outside. The launching of most of these fireworks is illegal and hundreds of people are injured and maimed. Half of them are innocent bystanders. Yet Berlin police rarely intervene on this night. Officials say there is little they can do to stop what's become a dangerous tradition in the German capital.
The climax of the college football bowl season is here and with it the usual display of trick plays and risk-taking by college coaches. They have extra time to prepare for a game that, with the exception of the major bowls, really doesn't mean that much — so they often get creative.

Screen Time: Bob Mondello's Favorite Films Of 2013

TV may have been great this year, but don't roll the credits on 2013 films just yet. The film critic lists his annual best of the best for your pleasure.
Stocks in the U.S. had a banner year with all the major indexes finishing with better than 20 percent returns.

Boeing Soars Despite A Turbulent 2013

The airplane manufacturer was one of the stock market's best performers this year, despite battery problems that grounded its entire fleet of new 787s for more than three months. But a labor dispute involving its largest union could have some Boeing customers looking to competitor Airbus for new planes.

Ringing In The New Year, Trapped By Antarctic Ice

As midnight hits, people across the world are celebrating New Year's. Passengers aboard a research ship that's been trapped in Antarctic ice rang in the new year as well. They've been trapped on the ship for a week, and are expected to be evacuated by helicopter as soon as the weather breaks. Audie Cornish talks with Alok Jha, a science correspondent for The Guardian who's aboard the ship.
Across the country, there's a wave of interest in local food, and a new generation of young farmers wants to grow it. But many aren't buying land. Instead, they're renting it.

Florida's Mangroves Move North As Temperatures Rise

Mangroves, those luxurious coastal thickets of exotic forest and nurseries for fish, are moving north. Satellite images show the mangroves along the Florida coast are thriving in areas to the north that used to be too cold. It's another result of higher temperatures, and especially a lack of freezing temperatures farther north. It's good news for mangroves, which are disappearing in many parts of the world, but bad for the northern salt marshes they replace.
There are reports of heavy fighting around the South Sudanese city of Bor, north of the capital Juba. Rebel forces and a feared tribal militia are said to be advancing on the city, and are already in control of territory around the sprawling U.N. base where thousands of displaced people have taken refuge. Meanwhile, East African leaders are pushing for a ceasefire and peace talks.
Japan's tough new law protecting state secrets was a victory for Washington, which had long pressured its Asian ally to exert tighter control over classified information. But the controversial law has triggered widespread outrage in Japan and undermined the popularity of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Planning on celebrating the New Year? If you are worried about driving home and plan to take a cab, you'll have plenty of competition. Cab fares soar during the first few hours of a new year, and then come back to normal around 3 a.m.
Federal safety investigators are in eastern North Dakota at the site of a train wreck. The train was carrying crude oil and apparently crashed into a soybean shipment that had derailed, triggering a series of blasts that engulfed nearly two dozen cars in flames. Residents of nearby Casselton, N.D., evacuated overnight, and the town's mayor is now calling for changes to how crude oil is transported across the country.
Michael Zusman used to be a lawyer, specializing in suing financial companies. The work literally started making him sick. Then he stumbled into baking. His new cookbook promises that you can make your own pastrami, pickles and bagels better than you can buy at your local deli.
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