New Hampshire Rings in the Civil Unions With the new year come many changes in law, including one in New Hampshire granting many rights to same-sex couples.
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New Hampshire Rings in the Civil Unions

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New Hampshire Rings in the Civil Unions

New Hampshire Rings in the Civil Unions

New Hampshire Rings in the Civil Unions

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With the new year come many changes in law, including one in New Hampshire granting many rights to same-sex couples.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

(Soundbite of music)

ALISON STEWART, host:

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

It is January 1st, 2008. Happy New Year, everybody. BRYANT PARK is your home for news, information and a homemade coffee cake. Thanks to Caitlin, who brought that in today, slaving away over a hot stove. And I have to say, first of all, I have to thank everybody. Our staff came in. We're live today.

MATT MARTINEZ, host: Yeah.

STEWART: Caitlin, Ian, Laura, Jacob, Josh - who I think may never have gone home, to be honest, after last night - Paul, Lynn, Matt, Laura. If I forgot anybody, I - sorry, I…

TRICIA McKINNEY: You're talking like we had some kind of choice. I didn't realize.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, everybody's here, in pretty shape. And we're doing staff picks on today's show, because - those of you who are saying, well, BRYANT PARK - you've just been on since October - Matt, you can attest to this…

MARTINEZ: Yeah.

STEWART: This show has been in the works for over a year.

MARTINEZ: Over a year. We've been doing stuff since March. So we have almost an entire year to fall back on, to call.

STEWART: All right. So we are going to take out some of the best stories of the year, as chosen by our producers and everybody on staff.

We have an interview with a British fan of American football. The NFL played an exhibition game in London to much fanfare late last year. Filmmaker Kevin Smith talks with us about his book and about being just a complete slacker and making a lot of money doing it.

Journalist Kevin Sites traveled to the world of hot zones, and he discussed what it's like to cover all of these wars in just one year. We have music from The Pipettes, Teddy Thompson, Dirty Projectors. We've been busy since we went on the air. We'll also go to Laura Conaway for today's headlines in just a minute.

But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: January 1st, the day to start your New Year's resolutions. If you're planning a fresh start this morning, you are not alone. New changes around the globe are going into effect today - resolutions of sorts for states and local governments.

We have senior producer Matt Martinez and editor Tricia McKinney, who's going to run through them with me.

MARTINEZ: Well, there is some good news if your 2008 resolution is to lose a little weight. The 31 flavors of Baskin Robbins will no longer include trans fats - now banned from all ice cream sold in their stores. And in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of D.C., restaurants can no longer serve food made with artificial trans fats like vegetable shortening and margarine. But if cookies and cakes are your downfall, you have something to be worried about. Baked goods can still be a chock full of trans fats until next January. I will be in the Entenmann's aisle, thank you very much.

McKINNEY: If you vowed to quit smoking this year, you're not alone. The French won't be lighting up, either - at least not indoors at restaurants, discos, or cafes selling tobacco. Today's ban is the second phase of France's 2007 crackdown on smoking in enclosed public spaces.

And closer to home, Nicotine patch sales may soon go up in Colorado and Illinois. That's where smoking bans in bars and restaurants and in Colorado casinos are now in effect.

STEWART: Maybe you'll want to go green in '08. Well, you'll join the folks in Suffolk County, New York. Those old-school incandescent light bulbs banned, now banned from all the county buildings.

Now across the country in California, they're taking a step towards a greener 2020 today. Here's the reason why. January 1st is the deadline for the state to set an emissions cap that will go into effect 12 years from now.

And across the globe, one of Japan's resolutions as it starts the year off as the new president of the G8 nations, the goal: to get the U.S. on board with the Kyoto protocol. America is the only G8 nation that would not ratify it. Japan will pitch Kyoto compliance at the G8 Summit when it hosts it in July.

McKINNEY: And some of you may want to get your finances in order this year. You are not alone, either. Cypress and Malta are already off to a fresh fiscal start today. Those two countries are joining 13 other European nations in the EuroZone.

McKINNEY: (Singing) Get into zone.

STEWART and McKINNEY: (Singing) The EuroZone.

McKINNEY: And on the other side of the globe, Venezuela is getting new money as well. After creating his own time zone in 2007…

STEWART: I know people who do that.

McKINNEY: It's such an awesome idea. I'm doing it myself. And mine's like five minutes after everybody else's.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela decided to cut three zeros off the value of the country's currency, the Bolivar, and change it to the bolivar fuerte.

MARTINEZ: Fuerte.

McKINNEY: I can't say it as well Matt Martinez.

MARTINEZ: Fuerte

McKINNEY: Fuerte means strong in Spanish. So now, uno Bolivar fuerte is worth a thousand of the old Bolivars, and Chavez says the smaller denominations will make the currency easier for Venezuelans to use.

MARTINEZ: And finally, 2008 is the year to fight for your rights, but not to party even better. If any of the 1.2 million people who connect at a New York airports get stuck, it's because of delays or cancellations. As of today, they have the right to demand food…

STEWART: Yes.

MARTINEZ: …water…

STEWART: Yes.

MARTINEZ: …clean toilets…

STEWART: Yes.

MARTINEZ: …and fresh air…

STEWART: Yes. Fresh air.

MARTINEZ: …from the airlines if they're grounded for more than three hours.

STEWART: Do you think it's a mandatory (unintelligible)?

MARTINEZ: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: That's right. I need fresh air. That's thanks to the New York airline passengers bill of rights becoming active today.

And in New Hampshire, the rights of same-sex couples are being recognized today with the state's civil union laws taking effect. Dozens of gay and lesbian couples took part in a ceremony to legalize their partnerships last night. It was an outdoor ceremony in front of the New Hampshire State House. The temperature was below freezing.

STEWART: Let's hope they got some comforters as the civil union gifts.

McKINNEY: If they registered for (unintelligible).

STEWART: If they're registered.

That's the BPP's Big Story. And now here's Laura Conaway with even more news.

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