Today, Iowa kicks off the 2012 presidential race in earnest. As, you've no doubt heard by now, the Republican presidential contest is in a three-way dead heat: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum could all win the season's first contest.
Bob Anderson was an Olympic fencer, and was a major fight choreographer for saber-rattling movies including: The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings. He was nearly 60 when he did Darth Vader's light saber fighting. Anderson died Sunday at 89.
Steve Inskeep talks to filmmaker Mike Mills for the latest in the Watch This series about recommended movies and television shows. Mills directed the film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer as an elderly father who comes out of the closet.
Big changes in 2011 — from the Arab Spring to the death of North Korea's dictator — create opportunities for 2012. But change can be scary, even when the regimes to be replaced are unpopular or repressive, because there's never a guarantee the new regime will be better.
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.
The new measure signed into law by President Obama imposes sanctions on financial institutions that deal with Iran's central bank. That's in addition to existing international sanctions. Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tells Steve Inskeep that the new sanctions could put tremendous pressure on Iran's economy.
College football bowl games began last month but the big games are being played in the new year. There were six games played Monday including the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. Michigan and Virginia Tech meet Tuesday night in the Sugar Bowl.
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.
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.
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.
Credit Courtesy of Diana Derby
Activist Manorama Khatua speaks to a group of protesters on land that a steel company wants for a new mill in the southeastern state of Orissa, India, in October.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a double-blind test by professional violinists, most couldn't determine â by sound alone â which violin was an original Stradivarius and which was a modern instrument. Above, a 1729 Stradivari known as the "Solomon, Ex-Lambert."
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.
Today, police in Los Angeles arrested a man in connection with a string of more than 50 arson fires that have left that city on edge. Most of the fires were set in parked cars, and some spread to carports, garages and apartments. Sam Quinones is following the story for the Los Angeles Times and Sam, what else can you tell us about the man who's under arrest?
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.
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.
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:
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.