Morning Edition for Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mayor Bill De Blasio Takes Office In New York City

Bill de Blasio is the first Democrat to hold the job in 20 years, and he couldn't be more different than his predecessor Michael Bloomberg. In November, de Blasio won the election in a landslide as New Yorkers endorsed a new direction for their city.
At the start of the new year, the Supreme Court releases an annual report. Chief Justice John Roberts offers insights into both the year gone by and the one ahead.

Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die

A local Christian aid group is trying to help villages adapt by planting drought-tolerant crops and setting up pumps for irrigation. But even with new methods and crops, farmers still need to know: When is it safe to plant?

ID Card Finally Fits Hawaiian Woman's Last Name

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele had pressed the state for cards with her full name. Now she's got a new driver's license and an official state identification card.
The death of a major character is a way to reset the table for a series in the modern era of quality television, opening up new storylines or new characters.

RoboCop? How About RoboPenguin!

When physicist Flavio Noca first saw penguins zooming around underwater, he was blown away by their speed and maneuverability. Now, his team has built a robotic arm that perfectly mimics the flippers in action — and he says the device could someday propel underwater craft.
Former science teacher Pierre Deom started writing, illustrating and publishing the French nature journal to educate kids about the environment. Forty years later, the magazine is so popular it sometimes receives 1,300 letters a day.

Hewlett-Packard To Cut More Jobs

In a securities filing, the maker of computers and printers confirmed that it will cut 5,000 more jobs this year than it originally estimated. That would bring to 34,000 the number of jobs the company is planning to cut worldwide by October.

Home Prices Mark Biggest Gains Since 2006

The latest numbers on home prices show strong gains across the country. The housing market recovery kicked into high gear during the first half of 2013 due in part to interest rates that were at a record low.

Banks Try To Save Big With 'ATMs Of The Future'

An ATM that lets you video chat with a teller hundreds of miles away? It's part of an effort by the banking industry to cut costs: The more ATMs can do, the less banks have to spend on tellers and real estate. But in-person branches still remain the best way for banks to get new business.

Las Vegas Company Offers Fix To Hangover

Hangover Heaven is offering much needed relief to midnight revelers in Las Vegas with house calls and a walk-in clinic. The package called Redemption will cost $99.
A fiery oil train crash in North Dakota is once again raising questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail. With an oil drilling boom underway, companies are using rail cars to transport a lot more crude out of North Dakota. Regulators are considering new requirements to make sure tanker cars and the rails they travel on are safe.
Congress has tried to boost premiums on the cheap, subsidized insurance FEMA offers. But property owners in flood zones protested the rate hikes, and legislators backed off in 2013, calling for "further study." Meanwhile, a string of bad storms has left the program $24 billion in debt — so far.

3 NPR Correspondents Change Beats

As the new year begins, a few of the familiar voices you hear on NPR will be coming from different places. Call it our own version of musical chairs. Morning Edition co-host David Greene checks in with Ari Shapiro, Philip Reeves and Tamara Keith, who will be covering different beats.
Sweden's icy winter leads a lot of people indoors which didn't deter one enterprising ice cream truck driver. He simply played his truck's jingle louder. So loud, that residents complained. Which led the ice cream company to come up with a quieter substitute to the traditional jingle: texting.

Rose Bowl Highlights College Football Game Day

A lot of sports fans will be glued to their televisions this New Year's Day. There are a number of big college football bowl games on Wednesday, including the 100th Rose Bowl.

Alarm Clock Sets Off A Real Wake Up Call

Later this month, a Chicago based company called Fig will ship out a new product which it believes will help keep people motivated to meet their life goals. It's an alarm clock, but an unusual alarm clock.

New Year's Celebrations Move Around The Globe

Renee Montagne reports on how some cities all around the world celebrated the beginning of 2014.

The (Very) Long View On The State Of Football

As 12 college football teams prepare for New Year's Day bowl games, commentator Frank Deford ponders the similarities between football players and ancient Roman gladiators.
A musician with a sterling bluegrass pedigree, King recently released an album that pulls on the common threads in classic country songs.
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