People line up to buy train tickets at Changsha Railway Station in Changsha, in southern China's Hunan province on Dec. 28, 2011. Million of Chinese are expected to cramp onto China's train network in the coming weeks to return home for the Chinese lunar new year that starts on Jan. 23, 2012.
An electronic board at Shanghai Railway Station shows many trains sold out for Jan. 16-18. China's Rail Ministry spent more than $8 million on the ticketing website — which crashed and sometimes charged users without actually giving them tickets.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
On the day Li Xiusheng went to the Shanghai train station, he bought the last same-day ticket back to his hometown in central China's Anhui province. Li, a Christian, thinks it happened because of divine intervention.
During China's Lunar New Year holiday, more than 200 million people will travel home. It's the world's largest annual migration, and every year, Chinese tell horror stories about trying to get train tickets.
This season, the holiday falls on Monday, and it was supposed to be different: For the first time, China's rail ministry created a website to reserve seats. But things didn't work out as planned.
Whenever the late New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld sketched Carol Channing — whether picturing her as an indomitable Dolly Levi, swathed in feathers and sequins, or as carbon-crazed Lorelei Lee, eyes sparkling like the diamonds that were that splendid creature's best friends — he always made her appear a creature composed entirely of lipstick, mascara and hairspray.
Click the link above to listen to Laura Sydell's conversation with Morning Edition's David Greene about the Megaupload indictment and the attack on the Department of Justice's website by the group Anonymous.
Rhoda Janzen is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.
Recently my friend Peggy and I decided to make a jaunt from my house in Southwestern Michigan, across the state to Detroit. We took her car. At day's end we pulled into my remote driveway on Lake Allegan. It was then I realized that didn't have my keys. They were in fact, hanging in the little key box in my laundry room.
Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 5:36 pm
Earlier today, the Justice Department announced it had charged seven people on counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy in what's being called one the biggest criminal copyright cases.
NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"The Justice Department accused Megaupload, a popular file sharing site, with helping millions of people gain access to pirated movies, music and TV programs, often before the items are released for sale.
Food policy can sound like a dreary enterprise best left to Washington, D.C. But big-city mayors are starting to see local food policy as a key step in getting healthy, affordable food to their constituents.
This afternoon, the mayors of America are meeting in Washington, D.C., to launch their own food policy task force. The goal is to share information on projects that work, and also make sure that federal food policy doesn't muck up those local efforts.
Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 3:27 pm
Freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke died this morning at the University of Utah Medical Center from injuries suffered nine days ago while practicing the sport she championed.
"Sarah passed away peacefully surrounded by those she loved," says a statement from the medical center. "In accordance with Sarah's wishes, her organs and tissues were donated to save the lives of others."
What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully.
The wreck of the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which ran aground last week, is not unlike a car accident. The first order of business is determining whether it's worth repairing or it gets junked. Then there are the questions of how best to go about it – and who pays.
Remember that movie Sarah's Key? Did you miss it? It was last year's highest grossing foreign-language film, but it made less than eight million dollars. The fact is that selling foreign language films to U.S. audiences is a notorious challenge. Nevertheless, Fox, one of the world's most powerful media conglomerates, is beefing up its investment in foreign films.
Student activist Adam Adli addresses protesters outside Malaysia's high court in Kuala Lumpur on Jan. 9. The crowd was awaiting a verdict in the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted on charges of sodomy shortly afterward. Adam is leading the fight to abolish a decades-old law that bans college students from joining or speaking in support of political parties.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (center), accompanied by his wife, Wan Azizah (center right), speaks to his supporters in Kuala Lumpur on Jan. 9 after his acquittal. Anwar is a former student activist — and many say Adam is feared by the government as much as Anwar was.
In Asia's modern history, college students have played a leading role in pushing for political reform and challenging authoritarian regimes.
Adam Adli is one of these student activists, and is becoming a prominent political figure as he fights to abolish a 40-year-old law that bars college students in the prosperous Southeast Asian country from participating in politics.
The 22-year-old was among the crowd of thousands chanting "reformasi," or reform, outside Malaysia's high court in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Jan. 9.
If it seemed like 2011 was a big year for laws restricting abortion, it was.
In fact, according to "Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights In the U.S.," the 21stannual report compiled by the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, the 69 laws enacted restricting a woman's reproductive rights were just one short of the record set in 1999.
The prime minister's legal counsel Aitzaz Ahsan (center) outside the Supreme Court, following the appearance of Prime Minister Yousef Reza Gilani before a seven member bench. Gilani faces contempt charges for his government's refusal to re-open a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 12:53 pm
Extending the political crisis that has churned up a media frenzy and put the nation on edge, Pakistan's Supreme Court has given the Prime Minister ten more days to answer contempt of court charges
Prime Minister Yusef Reza Gilani drove himself to the imposing Supreme Court building framed by stormy skies this morning. Facing contempt charges, he stood in the well of the packed court and defended his refusal to re-open a graft case against his boss, President Zardari.
Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 12:45 pm
A woman who was seen dining with the captain of the Costa Concordia the night the luxury liner crashed off the Italian coast is defending him. The AP reports that the woman, whom Italian authorities want to interview, is Dominican Cermotan, a 25-year-old Moldovan, who worked for Costa as a hostess but was not on duty the day of the incident.
"He did a great thing, he saved over 3,000 lives," Cermotan told Moldova's Jurnal TV, according to the AP.
The timekeepers at the International Telecommunication Union's Radiocommunication Assembly, who were supposed to decide this week whether to keep or eliminate the leap second, have decided to take some more time to decide.
Michael Kranish (left) is the deputy chief of the Washington bureau of <em>The Boston Globe</em>. Scott Helman is a staff writer at <em>The Boston Globe</em>. Both reporters have covered politics, presidential campaigns and Congress.
In a new biography, two longtime Boston Globe reporters write about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a complicated man who also "loves dichotomies ... strong versus weak, stagnation versus prosperity, leadership versus drift."
On their hunt for The Real Romney, Scott Helman and Michael Kranish traced Romney's life from his childhood in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., to his career at private equity firm Bain Capital, and then to his work in politics — first as the governor of Massachusetts and then as a presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012.
Kathleen Edwards is a singer-songwriter from Canada who just released her fourth album, Voyageur. There's a lot of heartache and self-doubt on the record, and that makes sense — much of it was written around the time of Edwards' divorce from her husband and musical collaborator. The song "Pink Champagne" would seem to be a case in point: It takes place at a wedding where a young bride is second-guessing her decision. But Edwards says the message of that song isn't quite so literal.