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Economy
5:20 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Home Prices Mark Biggest Gains Since 2006

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And before the ball dropped in Times Square last night, new numbers came out on the housing market, and they showed the past year saw the biggest gains in home prices since 2006.

NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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Law
5:18 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Chief Justice Highlights Lack Of Funding For Federal Judiciary

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Looking back as a new year approaches is something of a tradition at the Supreme Court. And yesterday the High Court released an annual report by the Chief Justice offering insights into both the year gone by and the one ahead. This year, Chief Justice John Roberts highlighted a woeful lack of funding for the federal judiciary. For more we turn to NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Welcome, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Thanks, Renee.

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Around the Nation
5:16 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Mayor Bill De Blasio Takes Office In New York City

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

New York City ushered in the New Year last night with its famous crystal ball, and also the swearing in of a new mayor. Just after midnight, Bill de Blasio was sworn into office in a private ceremony in the yard of his row house in Brooklyn. He's the first Democratic mayor in 20 years. His vision of the city could hardly be more different than that of his predecessor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who presided over what many will remember as a kind of gilded age.

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Dying Lawyer Convicted Of Aiding Terrorism Leaves Prison

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.
David Karp AP

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.

Doctors say she has less than 18 months to live.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Is Hospitalized

Former first lady Barbara Bush in March 2012.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Barbara Bush, 88, is in a hospital in Houston with a respiratory-related issue, according to her husband's office.

She was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Monday, a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush reads.

The statement says the former first lady "is in great spirits."

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Wed January 1, 2014

New Year's Celebrations Move Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD AND BIG BEN)

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Alarm Clock Sets Off A Real Wake-Up Call

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Rose Bowl Highlights College Football Game Day

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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?

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Wed January 1, 2014

3 NPR Correspondents Change Beats

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Toast Of The Nation
4:22 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Live In Washington, D.C.

Cecile McLorin Salvant.
Margot Schulman Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:19 pm

Among the breakout performers of 2013 was the young singer Cecile McLorin Salvant. Her unfussy, yet flexible delivery and penchant for material of an older vintage cut a distinct profile — especially for someone who turned 24 last year. It's no surprise that her recent album WomanChild was received with wide acclaim, named the top vocal album in NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll and collecting a Grammy nomination.

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Toast Of The Nation
4:21 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Donald Harrison Quintet: Live At Berklee

Donald Harrison leads his quintet in concert.
Henry Hayes Courtesy of Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:19 pm

Since attending Berklee College of Music, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison has been a Jazz Messenger, a leading Young Lion, a New Orleans torchbearer, and a famed mentor for new talent. As a bandleader, he merges all that and more. Accompanied by a young rhythm section and fellow New Orleanian Detroit Brooks (guitar), the "King of Nouveau Swing" returns to his alma mater — where, incidentally he also played Toast of The Nation a decade ago. The concert, part of the First Night Boston festival, was hosted by Eric Jackson of WGBH.

Set List

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Toast Of The Nation
4:21 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Bobby McFerrin's 'spirityouall': Live At Monterey

Bobby McFerrin with his daughter, Madison McFerrin.
Craig Lovell Courtesy of Monterey Jazz Festival

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:17 pm

Robert McFerrin, Sr., a baritone, was the first African American man to perform solo at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and an important interpreter of spirituals. He's clearly passed along some of his talent to his son, the world-renowned vocal gymnast Bobby McFerrin. And McFerrin the younger has recently taken an interest in his father's spiritual repertoire, putting his own spin on them for his 2013 recording spirityouall. At the Monterey Jazz Festival, he performs that material with his own progeny — his daughter Madison McFerrin.

Set List

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Toast Of The Nation
4:21 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Paquito D'Rivera: Live In Chicago

Paquito D'Rivera performs with the Kaia String Quartet.
Aaron Edwards Courtesy of the Latino Music Festival/WFMT Radio Chicago

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:18 pm

The reedman Paquito D'Rivera has made a career out of crossing genres. Born in Cuba, his larder is never out of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American sounds; he's made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso and classical performer. Chicago's Latino Music Festival took advantage this year. Artistic director Elbio Barilari, himself a composer (and host of Fiesta!

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Toast Of The Nation
4:20 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Convergence With Larry Goldings: Live In Denver

Convergence with Larry Goldings (foreground).
Travis Broxton Broxton Art

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:16 pm

Every month, the members of the Colorado-born sextet Convergence gather from near and far at the Denver club Dazzle, often with a special guest. The band certainly has plenty of material to draw from — Convergence first converged in 1991. For Toast of the Nation 2013-14, it welcomed Hammond B-3 organist Larry Goldings from Los Angeles to ring in midnight in Mountain Time. Carlos Lando of KUVO hosts the festivities.

Set List

  • "Jim Jam (For Jim Hall)" (Goldings)
  • "Pegasus" (Goldings)
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Sweetness And Light
3:07 am
Wed January 1, 2014

The (Very) Long View On The State Of Football

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Football is often called a "gladiator game." This past semester, several football players took a class at the University of Washington that explores the idea. It turns out that both the professor and her football-playing students found that it's not just a glib analogy.

Apart from the extreme fact that the Roman slaves actually killed each other in their games, there are certain fascinating parallels.

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.

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Animals
3:06 am
Wed January 1, 2014

RoboCop? How About RoboPenguin!

Two African penguins stretch their flippers at the Maryland Zoo.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

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.

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Media
3:04 am
Wed January 1, 2014

In Troubled Magazine World, 'La Hulotte' Is One Rare Bird

Pierre Deom has been writing and illustrating La Hulotte since 1972. He released his 100th issue (lower right) in November.
Francois Nascimbeni AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

The journalism world may be in crisis, but one magazine in France has been steadily gaining subscribers for 40 years. It's a nature journal called La Hulotte, and twice a year it focuses on an animal or plant indigenous to the French countryside. The magazine published its 100th issue in November. It has more than 150,000 subscribers in many countries and is doing terrific financially.

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The Salt
3:04 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die

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.
Jennifer Ludden/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

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.

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Environment
3:03 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Federal Flood Insurance Program Drowning In Debt. Who Will Pay?

Even when a flood obliterates homes, as Superstorm Sandy did in 2012 in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., the urge to rebuild can be strong.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

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.

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All Tech Considered
2:58 am
Wed January 1, 2014

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

An ATM at a Chase lobby in New York is part of what company executives are touting as a "branch of the future" — a place where machines distribute exact change and count cash so tellers don't have to.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

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.

"Just a $1, a $5 and $20," I say.

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