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.
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.
If you listen to commercial radio, this is not news: Katy Perry had a huge year. She went No.1 five times. She was the most played artist on the radio. But the record industry is so weird, it's hard to know whether this kind of success translates into huge amounts of money.
So we asked.
I walked over to Katy Perry's record label. She's on Capital, which is under EMI. I met Greg Thompson, executive vice president of marketing and promotion at EMI.
Morocco's King Mohammed VI introduced reforms after protests began last February. But activists say the measures didn't go far enough and they are still taking to the streets. Here, the king is shown in his palace in Rabat on June 17.
Millions of homeowners are finding out that their property taxes are either holding steady or climbing, even as their house may be worth much less. There may not be much they can do about it.
In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's fiscal officer, Wade Steen, has been taking many calls from unhappy homeowners. He says they most often live in a community where voters passed a recent levy. That's a property tax measure that boosts funding for things such as schools and libraries.
Kinky Friedman trims the ivy growing as hair on a 6-foot bust of Gov. Rick Perry. In 2006, Friedman came in fourth in his bid to be governor of Texas, drawing in part on his fame as a country musician. He has also written several mystery novels.
To prove that he thought all campaigning was bunk, actor and satirist Will Rogers created a mock presidential campaign in 1928, running as the "bunkless candidate" of the Anti-Bunk Party. Here, he's seen with actress Anne Shirley.
In 1940, Gracie Allen, the female half of the comedy team Burns and Allen, announced her intention to run for president on the Surprise Party ticket. The party's mascot was a kangaroo; the slogan was "It's in the bag."
Comedian Pat Paulsen announces his candidacy to be president in Universal City, Calif., in 1996 — his eighth run for the slot. Paulsen's earliest bid for the presidency was announced in 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Stephen Colbert's flirtation with running for president has evolved from the formation of a superPAC to an appeal to voters in the primary held in his home state of South Carolina. The comedian mounted a short-lived campaign very early in the 2008 race, as well.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is running for president. He's parodying the process — including, now, superPACS — in the same way he has parodied cable news. He's getting plenty of attention, but to really look into his political practical joke, I needed to go upstairs and find Peter Overby, NPR's man on campaign finance. I warned him it would seem like a dumb question, but I needed his help. What, exactly, is a superPAC?
In 1999, Rene Foreman was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She underwent surgery that saved her life; it also took her voice box. To speak, Rene now uses an electrolarynx — a small device that she holds against her throat to produce her voice, electronically.
Discussing how having a synthesized voice has changed her life, Rene, 70, told her daughter Michelle that the electrolarynx helps her to enjoy each day, even if it also makes her stand out in some ways.
Of those times, Michelle asks, "How do you feel when people turn around and look at you?"
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.