NPR's business news starts with Fiat and Chrysler.
The Italian automaker Fiat has paid $4.3 billion to gain complete ownership of Chrysler. The agreement announced yesterday is not a big surprise. Fiat already held a majority share of the Detroit automaker that produces Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
Industry analysts say this final step in the merger creates a global company that's better able to compete with the likes of General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Our colleague Gregory Warner was reporting in South Sudan recently and he described something ominous. As he put it, people are starting to ask who their neighbors are. It suggested that a violent political struggle in Africa's youngest country could erupt into a civil war fueled by tribal differences. Today, South Sudan's warring factions will meet for the first time in neighboring Ethiopia. This comes as fighting still rages. Here again, NPR's Gregory Warner.
And in this new year, Colorado is turning over a new leaf. State license retailers spent their New Year's Eve putting plant buds on shelves, stuffing baggies and rolling joints in preparation for what's being called Green Wednesday. Colorado is the first in the nation to regulate and control a recreational marijuana industry.
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.
MONTAGNE: OK, she goes by Loke. Last fall, she began a push to get all 36 characters of her surname on her Hawaiian I.D. The state would only accept 35. Now its transportation department says it will allow 40 characters. Next challenge: Getting Loke's full name on her Social Security Card.
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.
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.
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?
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with more ways to count down to 2014 tonight. In Georgia, an 800 pound peach is Atlanta's version of the Times Square crystal ball. Among the other huge items being dropped tonight: A giant ruby slipper in Key West, in Plymouth, Wisconsin, an 80 pound cheese wedge decorated for the occasion, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma an oversized olive descends 19 stories into a martini glass. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
If you don't have a smartphone, no reason to envy those who do. Your old flip phone might be far smarter than you think. According to the New York Post, a man was being mugged in Central Park. The thief asked for his phone, then saw it was old, flip model. As the victim recalls, quote, "He looked at it like, what the bleep is this? And he gave it back to me."
The giant coffee chain sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Missouri. Starbucks told the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as "the frappicino." Starbucks noted it sounds a lot like its trademarked frozen coffee drink.
It's that time again, the American Dialect Society will soon vote on its Word of the Year. Last year it was hashtag. For this year's words that popped, we reached the society's new words guy, linguist Ben Zimmer.
BEN ZIMMER: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So this year it seems that everyone is coalescing around one word. That word is selfie. It's so ubiquitous that I wonder if that is one of your top words.
In this final interview in our series of conversations about the future, Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Danny Hillis, a scientist and engineer and the inventor of a clock designed to last 10,000 years. The clock is meant to encourage people to think about the long-range future; the "long now" as Hillis calls it.
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.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the opening of the New York Genome Center on Sept. 19 in New York City.
Credit Andrew Burton / Getty Images
Bloomberg talks with his daughter Emma (left) and sister Marjorie Tiven as they watch televised election reports on Sept. 25, 2001, in New York City. Bloomberg easily won the Republican primary over Herman Badillo.
Credit Chad Rachman / AFP/Getty Images
Bloomberg shakes hands with Gov. George Pataki after Pataki signed city school governance legislation June 12, 2002. The legislation gave Bloomberg control of the city's school system.
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Bloomberg and Pataki (left) tour the first completed section of Hudson River Park after opening ceremonies May 30, 2003, with children from nearby Public School 3. The 10-acre stretch of Manhattan parkland along the Hudson River is billed as "the Central Park of the 21st century."
Credit Akira Ono / AP
Bloomberg waves to the crowd at his election night party Nov. 8, 2005, in New York City. Bloomberg defeated Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer.
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Bloomberg has breakfast with Barack Obama at a diner in New York City on Nov. 30, 2007, before Obama was elected president.
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Bloomberg and girlfriend Diana Taylor attend the CFDA Fashion Awards at the New York Public Library on June 2, 2008.
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Bloomberg pauses to look at the World Trade Center site following a news conference on May 10, 2011.
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The Rev. Al Sharpton (center) walks with demonstrators during a silent march to end the "stop and frisk" program in New York on June 17, 2012. Thousands of protesters from civil rights groups marched in defiance of the tactics employed by city police.
Credit Seth Wenig / AP
Bloomberg (center) views the Breezy Point area of Queens on Oct. 30, 2012, after fire destroyed about 80 homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the area a day earlier.
Credit Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images
Bloomberg holds a large cup as he speaks to the media about the effects of sugar on health at Lucky's restaurant, which voluntarily adopted a ban on large sugary drinks, March 12 in New York City. A state judge blocked Bloomberg's ban.
Credit Allison Joyce / Getty Images
Bloomberg speaks during a news conference to announce an operation that seized the largest number of illegal guns in the city's history on Aug. 19 in New York City. The operation, which involved an undercover agent buying guns that were smuggled from North Carolina and South Carolina, yielded more than 250 guns. Nineteen people were charged in the operation.
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New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (left) joins Bloomberg for a meeting in the "Bull Pen," the mayor's main City Hall office, on Nov. 6.
Credit Bebeto Matthews / AP
Bloomberg stands near a display of cigarettes during a news conference at City Hall, where he announced that New York City had filed a lawsuit against eight smoke shops on an Indian reservation on Long Island, on Sept. 29, 2008.
At the end of this month, Michael Bloomberg ends his three terms as mayor of New York City. Assessing Bloomberg's legacy, a man who went from Republican to Independent, is not a simple thing to do. His 12 years in office were groundbreaking, locally and even globally.
But at the same time, many New Yorkers found him arrogant and insensitive to the poor. It's a vein that was tapped successfully by Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who described New York as a city of haves and have nots. But the changes implemented by Bloomberg will impact generations of New Yorkers to come.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Nothing says New Year like the giant sparkling ball lowered in Times Square. Still, other cities have other traditions. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they drop a giant strawberry. And this year, that tradition went splat. In a test drop last Friday, a malfunction sent the big fiberglass strawberry plunging three stories, shattering on the sidewalk. They're now rushing to get a new strawberry ready for the New Year. That's tomorrow. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
How do you get a cow out of a swimming pool? Wait, hear me out, this is not the setup for a bad joke. It's real conundrum faced by an Oregon man last week. The solution, it turns out, involves draining the entire pool, also a series of straps and ropes, a ramp, a bucket of oats, and 10 firefighters to haul the cow out. The homeowner says he's not sure how the cow got into the pool; that's just the setup for a whole other joke.
It's MOO-NING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
OK, let's look back just a single year now with NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans. He's been giving us his most memorable television moments from 2013. And this morning, Eric has something of a twofer because he says the best TV prank of the year became one of the worst moments for television journalists.
The crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is netting foreign journalists. A team from Al Jazeera English was detained by police yesterday. Egypt's military-led government has accused them of spreading false news and also of talking to members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Just a reminder, the Brotherhood is the movement led by Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed as president last summer. For more, we reached Shadi Hamid, an analyst with the Brookings Institution center in Doha. Welcome back to the show.
Along with the usual traffic citations, police in Melbourne, Fla., gave out scratch-off lottery tickets. The cops themselves paid for them — in the spirit of the season, they said. No word of any big winners, just yet.
Sporting goods stores carry gear for hunters but they don't usually supply the game. Yesterday though a deer wandered into Dick's Sporting Goods in Spring Township, Pennsylvania, the hapless creature promptly slipped on the floor. The customers, evidently still in the Christmas spirit, escorted the animal out the door. But it's still hunting season, the deer may not be out of the woods yet. Is this a "Farside" cartoon?
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Kevin Petrovic, 19, and his business partner, who's also 19, raised about $6 million from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to launch FlightCar. The company is trying to make its mark with car-sharing for travelers.
Following the popularity of companies like Airbnb, which rent out a client's house or apartment to people visiting the area, more companies are trying the idea with cars. Companies like Uber help find someone to drive you around like a taxi. Another will let you rent out your car like a Zipcar while you're at work.
Two decades after NAFTA created a giant North American free trade zone, the U.S. is negotiating more big trade deals that would span the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Obama has embraced the potential agreements as a way to improve the U.S. economy.
A third of the NBA season is complete and the Portland Trailblazers are on a surprising run. Last night they beat the L. A. Clippers 116 - 112 in overtime. Portland has the league's best record - 24 wins, five losses. Now the tepid pre-season forecasts are turning into talk of how far the Blazers can go in the post-season. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
We told you on Wednesday about a Las Vegas cab driver who found $300,000 in the back seat. He gave the cash to his dispatcher, and it was returned to the passenger. As Cabbie of the Year, he'll get a $1,000 prize and dinner for two at a swank restaurant.
An Illinois man was accused of soliciting $25 million from investors for a fictitious device. Named after Dr. McCoy in the science-fiction series, it supposedly delivered medical data like the tricorder on the TV show. Prosecutors said his actions were valid only in another dimension.
Our series on the future continues with a discussion about education. Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Linda Darling-Hammond, a former adviser to President Obama, who is dismayed to see his administration build on the high-stakes testing requirements introduced by the Bush administration.
Some of the most painful stories of 2013 came from a small community in Oklahoma, the town of Moore. It was hit by a monster F5 tornado in May. Two dozen people died. More than a thousand homes were wiped away. The damage was estimated at $2 billion. But when NPR's Wade Goodwyn returned to Moore recently, he found the worst damage might not be visible.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Stand in the middle of Lakeview Drive in Moore, and you're surrounded by a lot of wide-open Oklahoma. Turns out an F5 tornado can clear quite a stretch of land.