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.
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.
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.
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
This is how you celebrate New Year's Eve in Antarctica.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Five, four, three, two, one, happy New Year.
CORNISH: That is, if you are among the 70 passengers and crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy. The scientific research vessel was halfway through a month-long Australian-Antarctic expedition when, on Christmas Day, it made a call for help. It was trapped in packed sea ice so dense that twice icebreakers have tried and failed to get through.
New Year's Eve in Berlin is a big draw for tourists from around the world. Revelers pack the streets around the Brandenburg Gate and greet the stroke of midnight with music, champagne and mulled wine. But for many residents of the German capital, the holiday can be a frightening and often dangerous experience. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, thousands of people armed with fireworks transform the city's streets into what feels like a war zone.
For Syrians who remain in their country, you might think that computer security would be a low priority, but with a civil war raging, so, too, is an electronic war between groups allied with President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. Anti-Assad groups use cyberspace to recruit fighters and coordinate with allies.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. And we begin this hour with a number, 45. It's for our series Number of the Year where we explore the biggest stories of 2013 through numbers. What's 45? It's how many Syrians were accepted as refugees into the United States this year, a tiny number compared to the some 2.3 million people who've been displaced by the fighting in Syria.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Both sides in the conflict in South Sudan agreed to meet tomorrow in Ethiopia to discuss a cease-fire. It's hoped that a speedy end to the power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ousted deputy Riek Machar can avert an all-out ethnic civil war. But even as both sides prepare to negotiate, a fierce battle was underway for control of the strategic city of Bor. NPR's Gregory Warner reports.
Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on Jan. 1, 2014, to celebrate the new year. Dubai's glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands.
A view of the New Year's Eve fireworks display in Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia.
Credit Nikki Short / EPA/Landov
Thousands of Filipinos toot their Torotots (party blowers) during an attempt to break the Guinness record for the "most number of people blowing party blowers simultaneously" in Davao city. Ten-thousand party blowers were expected to make noise there on New Year's Eve.
Credit Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA/Landov
A Buddhist woman prays ahead of the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.
Credit Ahn Young-joon / AP
Balinese girls in traditional costumes gather during a parade for 2013's last sundown in Bali, Indonesia.
Credit Firdia Lisnawati / AP
A reveler poses on New Year's Eve in Amritsar, India.
Credit Narinder Nanu / AFP/Getty Images
New Year's Eve fireworks explode over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, marking the start of 2014 near the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Credit Kin Cheung / AP
People celebrate the New Year during an event for the Count Down Seoul 2014 at the Time Square in Seoul, South Korea.
Credit Park Jin Hee / Xinhua/Landov
People gather to release balloons to celebrate the New Year during an annual countdown ceremony in Tokyo. Some 2,000 balloons were released in the air, carrying with the visitors' wishes.
Credit Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP/Getty Images
People celebrate ahead of New Year's Day in the center of Rosa Khutor, a venue of the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics.
Credit Maxim Shemetov / Reuters/Landov
A lightshow illuminates the Great Wall during a New Year countdown event in Beijing.
Credit Wang Zhao / AFP/Getty Images
A reveler takes part in festivities during a New Year countdown event at the Great Wall in Beijing. Hundreds of people gathered at the Great Wall to celebrate the New Year.
Credit Wang Zhao / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai to celebrate the new year in a dazzling bid for a new world record. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 60 miles of the Dubai coast.
Credit Karim Sahib / AFP/Getty Images
The new year has begun in Australia, where fireworks exploded near Sydney's Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:25 am
Racing car legend Michael Schumacher is not out of danger, but is showing "surprising" improvement as doctors in France continue to treat him for the severe head injury he suffered Sunday while skiing, The Associated Press reports from Grenoble.
That improvement has allowed surgeons to operate for a second time, doctors said Tuesday.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. This New Year's Eve is also a deadline in one of the year's biggest stories. Syria is due to turn over more than 500 tons of some its most deadly materials in its stockpile of chemical weapons. That was part of the deal brokered with the Assad regime by the U.S. and Russia, after a chemical attack outside Damascus killed many hundreds of civilians. But the Syrian government will not meet today's deadline.
Freed Palestinian prisoner Omar Masoud served 20 years of a minimum 90-year sentence for killing Ian Feinberg, an Israeli, in 1993. Israel freed Masoud in October as part of a political deal to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:25 pm
Conservators working to preserve artifacts from the early days of Antarctic exploration have uncovered century-old black-and-white negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition but never printed.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:58 pm
In a 7,000-word investigative report published by The New York Times on Sunday, David Kirkpatrick revisits last year's assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Kirkpatrick finds that — contrary to much commentary from mostly Republican members of Congress — al-Qaida was not involved. He joins Robert Siegel to talk about his reporting and the backlash against his conclusions.
Industry officials say they are on course to boost production to as many as 4 million autos annually. That's good news for Mexico but has many in the U.S. worried, especially as Audi gets ready to build a new luxury line plant in Mexico and not in the U.S.
Investigators in southern Russia say two deadly bombings in the city of Volgograd appear to follow the pattern of attacks by Islamist separatists from the nearby North Caucasus region. It's a dire concern for the Russian authorities, who worry that this could be the lead-up to attacks during the Olympic Games in Sochi in February. Security analysts say the bombings could even be a diversionary tactic to distract the security forces before an even bigger attack. It also raises concerns about security for New Year's crowds in major Russian cities.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Happy holidays to you, and thanks to my colleague Celeste Headlee for sitting in for me while I was away. With New Year's around the corner, you might be thinking about New Year's resolutions. We'll meet a young man who's made keeping his promises a year-round commitment. We'll hear from him and how he's inspiring others to do the same thing. That's later. But we want to start the program today by bringing you up to date on developments in the world's newest country, South Sudan.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:42 am
One of the world's most famous and highest-paid athletes, Formula One racer Michael Schumacher, is in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble, France. Doctors there are treating him for a critical head injury suffered over the weekend when the German driver fell and hit his head while skiing.