NPR News

Mitt Romney is reeling. Newt Gingrich is surging. Rick Santorum is hanging on. And Ron Paul continues to zig while others zag.

So goes the rollicking but inconclusive — so far — Republican presidential contest, as it moves from small ball to big time in Florida for a Jan. 31 primary in which some 4 million state Republicans are eligible to vote.

Perspective? More Florida Republicans have already cast early ballots than all New Hampshire votes tallied for the top three finishers in that state's Jan. 10 GOP primary, about 197,000.

Pakistan Officially Rejects U.S. Report On NATO Strike

Jan 23, 2012

Using strong words, Pakistan's military officially rejected a U.S. report, which concluded a NATO strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops was undertaken in self defense. Pakistan's military said parts of the report were "factually not correct."

2 Dead As Storms Roll Through South, Midwest

Jan 23, 2012

Two people were killed in the Birmingham, Ala. area after severe storms rolled through the South and Midwest. The storms, reports the AP, triggered tornado warnings in five states.

Currently, the National Weather Service said it expects tornadoes, hail, thunderstorms and winds up to 75 mph to move through Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. These kinds of storms, reports the NWS, are uncommon in the middle winter.

Romney Will Release Tax Records On Tuesday

Jan 23, 2012

Aiming to reset the narrative after Saturday's bruising loss in South Carolina, Mitt Romney said he would release his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday. The former Massachusetts governor made the commitment last night in an interview with Fox News.

EU Approves Embargo On Iranian Oil

Jan 23, 2012

The European Union officially agreed to impose an embargo on Iranian oil, today. The AP reports that the union's 27 foreign ministers agreed on an immediate ban on new contracts for oil and existing contracts will be allowed to run through July 1.

Putting On Heirs: 3 Rich And Snooty Reads

Jan 23, 2012

Surely I am not the only one who has harbored secret dreams of being an heiress — not the nouveau riche kind with a reality television crew trailing behind me, but the sort with a full staff, gobs of silver and afternoons spent on the hunt. Though I've come around to my untitled American life, I still adore reading books about drafty old houses and the privileged people who inhabit them.

The New York Giants made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over San Francisco. The New England Patriots made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over Baltimore. Now Las Vegas oddsmakers are taking bets on the big game. The Patriots are favored to win by three.

Court opinions are usually not that exciting but a judge in Chicago is trying to liven up his rulings with illustrations. In one, he used an iconic photo of Bob Marley. The case was about a prisoner's right to keep his dreadlocks on religious grounds.

Tens of thousands of people are attending the Jaipur Literature Festival in India — including many international literary stars and Oprah Winfrey. Author Salman Rushdie was invited but decided not to attend after a warning that hit men would be after him. Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses which has been banned in India for more than 20 years.

David Greene checks in with Jennifer Gibbons, editor of "The Cordova Times" in Cordova, Alaska. We last heard from her two weeks ago when her community had declared an emergency during its efforts to dig out of record amounts of snow.

Over the past half-century more than 20 million acres of U.S. farmland were transformed into housing developments. With new home construction all but stopped, farmers in many areas are buying or leasing land once slated for development and planting crops on it.

Business News

Jan 23, 2012

The two men who helped turn the BlackBerry into a device many people can't live without have stepped aside. Research in Motion is the company behind the BlackBerry and Sunday its co-CEOs resigned. They were under a lot of pressure as investors wonder whether the Canadian firm can turn itself around and compete better with flashier phones like the iPhone.

Ponzi Trial To Open For R. Allen Stanford

Jan 23, 2012

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a name back in the news: R. Allen Stanford. In the midst of the financial crisis he was charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme against thousands of investors in the United States and Latin America. Now his trial is set to begin today in Houston.

From member station KUHF, Andrew Schneider has more.

The Last Word In Business

Jan 23, 2012

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in Business.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Having sent observers to examine protests in Syria, Arab leaders have offered a plan to end the violence there. The proposal comes from the Arab League, a group of Arab nations. And NPR's Kelly McEvers has been following this story. She's in Beirut.

Hi, Kelly.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: Hello.

INSKEEP: OK. So what do the Arab leaders want to do?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida following a big loss over the weekend to Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Romney told a crowd that Gingrich resigned in disgrace after four years as speaker of the House.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Announcers also remembered Joe Paterno during yesterday's pro football games. Those two conference championships on Sunday determined the lineup for the Super Bowl. The New York Giants will play the New England Patriots in a rematch of a Super Bowl from four years ago. Neither team made it to the big game easily. Both have great quarterbacks, but on Sunday, both had to rely on defense. Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at the age of 85. He was fired by the university last fall following the sexual abuse charges against one of his former coaches.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the tally stands at 1-1-1. Over the weekend, former House speaker Newt Gingrich re-established himself as a presidential contender with a resounding victory in South Carolina's primary.

He beat second-place finisher former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by more than 12 points. That means Romney, Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have each won a nominating contest. Now all eyes are on Florida.

The last battle scar of 2011 for the GOP came in December, when House Republicans painted themselves into a corner on extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut. The fight exposed the party's internal rifts and the loose control of its leaders.

One GOP lawmaker called it "a public relations fiasco." They could compromise with the Democrats or allow taxes to go up — neither option palatable to large portions of the majority.

On a recent cold, gray day in Moscow, several dozen reporters and photographers milled about restlessly on the main floor of the Central Election Commission of Russia.

The person they were waiting to see was supposed to be there at 10 a.m. Nearly six hours later, Mikhail Prokhorov, appeared at the front door and smiled for the cameras.

When I was 17 years old, I got so depressed that what felt like an enormous black hole appeared in my chest. Everywhere I went, the black hole went, too.

So to address the black-hole issue, my parents took me to a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She did an evaluation and then told me this story:

Foreclosure Robo-Signing Deal Worries N.Y. Official

Jan 22, 2012

Some of the biggest banks in the country are reportedly close to a settlement with authorities over the so-called robo-signing scandal in which mortgage company officials signed and notarizeed foreclosure documents without properly reviewing them.

Many lenders and mortgage servicers acknowledged making serious mistakes in foreclosure paperwork.

'Taft 2012': A Presidential Time Warp

Jan 22, 2012

A burly beast of a man bursts into a presidential press conference and is shot in the leg by secret police. Two days later, the White House reveals that the befuddled intruder with a handlebar mustache is really former President William Howard Taft.

So begins Taft 2012, a novel that gives a satirical take on contemporary politics through the eyes of a president who served a century ago. Author Jason Heller places Taft in a 21st-century election campaign, where he is forced to sit in bars on New Year's Eve and master Twitter along the way.

First Aid Kit is two sisters, ages 18 and 21, from Sweden. But their music sounds like a slice of Americana: acoustic guitar, autoharp and lots of vocal harmony.

Klara and Johanna Soderberg wrote the songs for their new album, The Lion's Roar, while on their last tour. Many started with ideas, short riffs, recorded on a cellphone.

Gabrielle Giffords.

The name of the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona will forever be associated with one of the most tragic attacks on a member of Congress, the shootings in Tucson last year that killed six and left 13 wounded, including the congresswoman.

Should The West Intervene In Syria?

Jan 22, 2012

The Arab League sent observers to Syria about a month ago. Their mission: to bear witness to the escalating violence between soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad and armed opposition fighters.

The presence of the orange-vested observers was supposed to discourage the violent crackdown on protesters, but since they arrived in December, almost 1,000 Syrians have died. Overall, it is estimated that more than 5,400 people have been killed since the protests began last March.

Outside Penn State's football stadium, mourners paid respects to legendary football coach Joe Paterno who died Sunday from lung cancer.

Humans are complicated genetic jigsaw puzzles. Hundreds of genes are involved in determining something as basic as height.

But man's best friend is a different story. New research shows that almost every physical trait in dogs — from a dachshund's stumpy legs to a shar-pei's wrinkles — is controlled by just a few genes.

With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.

There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.

Pages