The NFL playoffs are down to four teams. The 49ers, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens remain alive. Four other teams are gone, including the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have a great shot at a championship until this past weekend when Baltimore scored a last-minute touchdown to tie the game and then won in overtime.
These playoffs, of course, lead up to the Super Bowl, the biggest game in football and surely among the biggest commercial events in all of sports.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris yesterday to protest government efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The demonstration was considered one of the largest in years. The government of President Francois Hollande says it will go ahead anyway. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.
A week from Monday, President Obama is to take his public oath of office for a second term.
The inauguration will be marked by celebratory balls and other festivities, sponsored by the privately financed Presidential Inaugural Committee. The first Obama inauguration had strict fundraising rules. But this year, the rules have been loosened, and critics wonder what happened to the president's old pledge to change the way Washington works.
When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water.
At one of UVM's recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their refillable bottles is an old habit.
This week, Morning Edition explores the "nones" — Americans who say they don't identify with any religion. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that's their answer: "none."
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor readily concedes that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action in higher education, and she doesn't really know why her view is so different from that of her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas.
"As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him," she says, "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don't look at how the door opened."
Nearly seven decades ago, a young soldier from Indiana left his green duffel bag on a French battlefield in World War II. This week, William Kadar's granddaughter, also an Army veteran, presented him with the bag still stenciled with his name and serial number. A teenager in France had found it in his own grandfather's house. Kadar was captured by the Germans, and has said: It's a miracle I came home.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Humboldt State University invited Jimmy Kimmel to come see for himself. The TV host mocked the university for its marijuana research program. He ran a fake commercial, saying graduates could enjoy careers like dog walking or Occupying Wall Street. The university and student body presidents wrote a letter saying the skit was funny, but unfair. And now the school has invited Kimmel to deliver its commencement address. No word if he'll bring a match.
And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.
Major League Baseball has enacted new anti-doping policies that are being described as unprecedented in American professional sports. Yesterday, Major League Baseball and its Players Union said that starting next year they will be fighting the use of human growth hormone and testosterone - two allegedly popular banned substances.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been covering this story. Tom, good morning.
Evidence of loss remains even three years after a massive earthquake claimed the lives of as many as 200,000 people in Haiti. In the middle of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a cathedral whose sun-washed walls reach into the sky where a roof used to be.
A lone flagpole marks the spot where the National Palace, a symbol of Haiti's government, once proudly stood.
And on a downtown street that once bustled with storefronts, there is now a row of vendors who sell their wares under tent poles and umbrellas.
Part of the nation's physical landscape is changing. Nature writer and commentator Craig Childs has been watching the dramatic transformation of a mighty river that is running dry.
Small porpoises once swam in the brackish estuaries of the Colorado River delta. Jaguars stalked the river channels and marshes. It's not like that any more, though. The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea in Northern Mexico. It hasn't since 1983.
An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.
"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."
For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.
But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.
The second season of HBO's critically acclaimed series Girls begins Sunday night, but the show about 20-something girls navigating their social and work lives in New York has itself been criticized for not being diverse enough.
By now, most of you have heard the buzz about Girls: It's written by 26-year-old Lena Dunham, and stars a quartet of young women whose plans sometimes crash face-first into life's nasty realities.
The show's smart dialogue attracted writer Allison Samuels, a cultural critic for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
And this morning here in Los Angeles the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced. The movie with the most nominations: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," with 12 nods.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LINCOLN")
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: (as Lincoln) Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning. It's true because it works.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. A travel group in Britain is advertising a six-month job with an intriguing set of qualifications: comfortable in swimwear, happy to get wet at work. And this is key: mad about water parks. The job is water slide tester at the company's Splash World Resorts in places like Majorca and Turkey. It pays just okay, but the gig does promise plenty of thrills before the water slide tester retires that swimwear. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with an offer you probably can refuse. Washington, D.C. hotels offer luxury packages for those attending President Obama's second inauguration. The Madison Hotel offers one for $47,000. It includes four nights at the hotel, a car and driver, a shopping spree, and the services of a social media butler. You, too, could have someone follow you around, take your picture and chronicle your moves on Facebook and Twitter.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business goes out by special request to people listening in their cars. A new study finds that the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Researchers at London Metropolitan University studied how drivers reacted to different playlists over 500 miles. Some of the safest music, we're told, included tunes by Norah Jones and Elton John. They're soft and slow-paced.
And there's more trouble for Foxconn, the electronics giant which makes Apple products in China. The company is acknowledging that Chinese police are looking into allegations that Foxconn employees took bribes from parts suppliers.
Baseball writers send a message when they vote for candidates for the Hall of Fame, both in who they select and in who they pass up. And for the first time since 1996, only the eighth time in baseball history that baseball writers decided not to nominate anyone for induction. The winners are no one. The pool of candidates was one of the most star-studded ever. It included Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa - players all linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me. Good morning.
Paul Salopek is already a well-traveled journalist — a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who has spent most of the past two decades roaming across Africa, Asia, the Balkans and Latin America.
This, apparently, has not sated his wanderlust. So now he's in a dusty village in Ethiopia's Rift Valley, ready to launch a seven-year, 21,000-mile journey on foot that will take him from Africa, across the Middle East and through Asia, over to Alaska and down the Western edge of the Americas until he hits the southern tip of Chile.
On average, YouTube streams 4 billion hours of video per month. That's a lot of video, but it's only a fraction of the larger online-streaming ecosystem. For video-streaming services, making sure clips always load properly is extremely challenging, and a new study reveals that it's important to video providers, too.
Maybe this has happened to you: You're showing a friend some hilarious video that you found online. And right before you get to the punch line, a little loading dial pops up in the middle of the screen.
Polling found Congress' most recent approval rating is 9 percent. Other things were tested too, and it was discovered root canals are more popular than lawmakers. On the bright side for Congress, it is more popular than the Ebola virus and playground bullies.