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Political Junkie
4:45 am
Tue January 3, 2012

As Iowa Goes, So Goes What? Past Losers Still Won The GOP Nomination

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:57 am

The next sounds you hear will be Iowa Republicans rendering their judgment for 2012. The road to the magic number of 1,145 — delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination — begins Tuesday. The caucuses, all 1,774 of them, start at 7 pm Central time (8 Eastern), and results may start to trickle in within the hour.

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Middle East
4:39 am
Tue January 3, 2012

U.S. Sanctions Target Iran's Central Bank

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 4:40 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

For this new year, Congress gave President Obama the power to impose new sanctions on Iran.

WERTHEIMER: The sanctions would target Iran's central bank. Though the president has some flexibility on the timing, the mere threat escalated tensions. Iranians have spoken of stopping oil tankers passing through the vital straits of Hormuz.

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Sports
4:26 am
Tue January 3, 2012

College Football Bowl Games Cap 2011 Season

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 4:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The big bowls are underway. The five games in the Bowl Championship Series stand out in the crowded college football postseason. They command the largest national television audience and pay out the most money. They also generate the most controversy, although yesterday, the first two BCS bowl games generally created nothing but thrills.

Oregon beat Wisconsin 45 to 38 in the Rose Bowl and Oklahoma State won a 41-38 nail-biter over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us with more.

Good morning, Tom.

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Around the Nation
3:43 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Mount Rainier Suspected Shooter Found Dead

An Iraq war veteran who is suspected of killing a park ranger has been found dead in a snowy stream at Washington's Mount Rainier National Park. The park had been closed since Sunday while authorities searched for Benjamin Barnes.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Business News

Steve Inskeep and Linda Wertheimer have business news.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Iowa Set To Begin 2012 Presidential Voting

The voting in the Iowa GOP caucuses begins Tuesday night. On the last day before the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates campaigned across the state Monday. Their goal was the same — motivating supporters to leave their homes on a cold evening, go to their precinct meeting places and vote.

Around the Nation
2:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

LA Police Arrest Suspect In Arson String

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 4:39 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Authorities in Los Angeles are celebrating the arrest of a suspect in dozens of fires. L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told reporters that residents can finally get some rest.

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY: Our long, four-day nightmare is over. This has been, literally, a nightmare. I haven't had a good night's sleep since last week, and I'm looking forward to one tonight.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

India's Economic Battle: Development Vs. Tradition

Villagers in the southeastern Indian state of Orissa are opposed to a large steel mill, though it would bring thousands of jobs. The villagers, shown here in October, say they want to keep their land and their lifestyle. Such conflicts have become more common as India's economy expands.
Courtesy of Diana Derby

As India's economy rapidly expands, there is a recurring theme that plays out across the country: Plans for major development projects come into conflict with traditional ways of life centered around farming.

One of those showdowns has been dragging on for years in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. A proposed $12 billion steel plant has been facing resistance from local farmers and fishermen, but an endgame may be at hand.

The project is being promoted by the South Korea-based firm POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steel producer.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

In Post-Gadhafi Libya, Islamists Start To Rise

One year ago, protesters across the Arab World began to rise up against autocratic rulers, forcing several from power. These revolutions have led to the region's biggest upheaval in decades. It's still not clear how these seismic changes will play out, and so far, the results have been mixed. In a six-part series, NPR is taking a look at where the region stands today. In the second installment, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports on how Islamists in Libya, long suppressed during Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule, are now able to operate freely.

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Election 2012
10:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Modern Campaigning At Odds With Iowa Tradition

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Weber Paper Company Monday in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:10 am

Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is a fierce advocate for the Iowa caucuses. At times over the past four months, he has seemed frustrated that candidates have not been in the state as much as in past years.

Branstad's message over and over to the candidates was not to ignore the voters of Iowa, because they take it personally.

"They want to see the candidates, and they take their responsibility very seriously," Branstad says.

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Iraq
10:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Marine Sergeant On Trial For 2005 Deaths In Iraq

Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich talks to the media with his attorney Neal Puckett (left) watching on after a 2010 pretrial hearing at Camp Pendleton in California. Wuterich is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005.
Chris Carlson AP

One of the more controversial episodes of the Iraq war will be revisited in a military courtroom in California this week.

In November of 2005, a Marine squad killed 24 Iraqis, some of them women and children in the village of Haditha. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich led the squad of Marines, and on Wednesday he'll face voluntary manslaughter charges at Camp Pendleton.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Raising The Minimum Wage: Whom Does It Help?

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 12:33 pm

For some of America's lowest-paid workers, the new year means a pay raise. Some states set their own minimum wages, above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, and that rekindles an old debate over whether minimum wages make sense — especially at a time of high unemployment.

Like several other states, Washington state's minimum wage is indexed to the cost of living. This year, the formula has raised the statewide minimum from $8.67 to $9.04 an hour, making it the nation's highest statewide rate.

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Middle East
3:42 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Saudi Arabia Enforces Gender Law In Lingerie Shops

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:17 pm

Saudi Arabia said Monday that it will enforce a law that allows only females to work in women's lingerie and apparel stores, despite disapproval from the country's top cleric.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly because of the views of hard-liners in the religious establishment, who oppose the whole idea of women working in places where men and women congregate, such as malls.

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Health Care
3:16 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Physicians Group: Weigh Costs In Treating Patients

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a lot of debate these days about the cost of medical care and the risks. Is a drug for breast cancer patients worth the $100,000 price tag if it only adds a few months to a woman's life? Or should men routinely get blood tests for prostate cancer when the exam could cause more suffering than it prevents?

Well, today, a major medical group issued new ethical guidelines on whether doctors should consider cost when deciding how to treat patients. As NPR's Rob Stein reports, the group takes a provocative position.

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It's All Politics
3:15 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Iowa's Cold Doesn't Stop Campaigns From Heating Up Ahead Of Caucuses

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Weber Paper Company Monday in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:10 am

Blustery winds and freezing cold temperatures today didn't slow down the Republican presidential candidates' campaigning on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Six GOP candidates — most with family members in tow — shook voters' hands and made their final arguments.

Here's a look at what our reporters are finding on the campaign trail:

-- Mitt Romney, who has edged into the lead in recent polls, is looking to deepen — not broaden — his statewide map in the final stretch, campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

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Technology
1:59 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Even though more than 30 states have banned or restricted cellphone use, it hasn't been easy to convince drivers to stop.
iStockphoto.com

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

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Economy
1:35 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Brazil Sets Trade Records, Due To Chinese Demand

Brazil had record trade figures in 2011, logging $256 billion in exports and maintaining a $29.7 billion surplus on the back of high commodity prices and strong Chinese demand, officials said Monday.

Exports to China hit $44.3 billion, an increase of more than 43 percent over 2010. In 2009 China surpassed the U.S. as Brazil's biggest trading partner.

"It was an exceptional year for Brazilian foreign trade," said Alessandro Teixeira, deputy trade minister, who said China represented 17 percent of Brazil's exports.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:01 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

In a double-blind test by professional violinists, most couldn't determine — by sound alone — which violin was an original Stradivarius and which was a modern instrument. Above, a 1729 Stradivari known as the "Solomon, Ex-Lambert."
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:53 pm

In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.

OK, here's a test. Clip one is a musical phrase from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Clip two is the same phrase. The same musician plays both. But one is on a Stradivarius violin, the other on a violin made in 1980. See if you can tell the difference.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Disaffected Episcopalians: The Vatican Wants You

The Vatican announced Sunday an arrangement to allow disaffected Episcopalian congregations in the United States to join the Roman Catholic church. The arrangement will allow an exemption to priestly celibacy for former Episcopal priests who are married.

Music Interviews
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Winter Songs: Van Zandt's 'Snowin' On Raton'

All Things Considered host Melissa Block talks with musician Robert Earl Keen for our series Winter Songs, about "Snowin' on Raton," a Townes Van Zandt tune that reminds Keen of a time when things went spectacularly wrong, before going spectacularly right.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Qatar Emerges As Major Force In Arab World

The tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar has deep pockets and a big microphone in the form of its news network, Al Jazeera. In recent months, those assets have been used to propel the Arab Spring forward. Qatar has supported rebel movements in Libya and Syria, and is promoting a "Marshall Fund" for Oman, Morocco and Jordan. The country's emir has close, personal relationships with the emerging Islamist leaders from Casablanca to Cairo — and meanwhile provides a home to the largest U.S. military base outside the United States.

Politics
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Will The New Year Be A New Start For Congress?

According to Gallup, Congress has never been more disliked in all the years it has been polling that question. Can it get any worse heading into the new year?

Economy
12:51 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

U.S. Auto Sales Seen Continuing To Rebound In 2012

After hitting a 30-year low in 2009, U.S. auto sales are poised for a second straight year of growth in 2012 — the result of easier credit, low interest rates and pent-up demand for cars and trucks created by the Great Recession.

The sales forecast bodes well for the industry's continued recovery and for the broader American economy.

Just two years ago, Detroit automakers were in peril. Car sales plunged as unemployment soared, and loans became harder to get. Chrysler and General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection. Ford avoided bankruptcy only by borrowing billions.

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It's All Politics
12:10 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

The Caucuses: A Quick Guide

Edward Lewis of Council Bluffs waved an Iowa state flag outside the Family Table Restaurant in Atlantic on Sunday, before the arrival of former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 12:11 pm

Those who remember newspapers might recognize this as a "clip and save." Maybe the more modern term would be a "cut and paste." Whatever, if you want some of the details and logistics about Tuesday night's caucuses in Iowa, here they are:

-- When: 7 p.m. Central time (8 p.m. ET).

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It's All Politics
11:28 am
Mon January 2, 2012

On Eve Of Vote, Romney Returns To 2008 Strongholds

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after speaking at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Monday morning in Iowa, I caught up with Mitt Romney's strategist Eric Fehrnstrom after the campaign's first event of the day, a speech at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.

In the last hours before Tuesday night's caucus, Fehrnstrom said, the former Massachusetts governor plans to consolidate his support by visiting areas in the eastern part of the state where he had a strong showing in 2008 — places like Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

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It's All Politics
11:15 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Iowa Democrats Caucus Too; For Obama Team, It's Practice For November

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 11:17 am

The focus is naturally on the Republican caucuses Tuesday night in Iowa, because the GOP is the party with a battle going on for its presidential nomination.

But President Obama's fellow Democrats in the state will be caucusing too. And by all accounts Team Obama is taking it all very seriously, even though he doesn't have a intra-party challenger.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Fencer Who Was Darth Vader In Famous Light Saber Scenes Has Died

PRNewsFoto/THQ Wireless

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 10:24 am

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Ranger Killed In Rainier Park Was 'Living Her Dream'

"Slain Ranger Was Living Her Dream."

That's the headline at the website of The Seattle Times, which profiles 34-year-old Margaret Anderson, who was shot to death Sunday in Mount Rainier National Park.

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It's All Politics
8:58 am
Mon January 2, 2012

In Final Iowa Push, Once-Sunny Gingrich Says Romney 'Will Lie To You'

The Newt Gingrich campaign bus is rolling again Monday morning, leaving Waterloo, where the candidate spent the night and heading straight east to the small town of Independence. The venue? Heartland Acres Agribition Center, a modest-size exhibition hall for small, regional agribusiness conferences with a lot of interesting old farm implements on display, and a shop with some pretty cool toy tractors.

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