The Two-Way
8:31 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Orders To U.S. Factories Increased By 1.8 Percent In November

The United States saw an 1.8 percent uptick in orders to factories in November, marking a four-month high and signaling continued economic recovery. The Commerce Department also revised the data for Ocotber, which recorded a 0.2 percent drop.

Bloomberg reports:

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The Two-Way
8:14 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Afghan President Says He Supports Talks With Taliban

Afghanistan's president said his country would back a deal, which might allow the Taliban to open an office in Qatar where they could hold peace talks with the United States and Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan agrees with negotiations between United States of America and the Taliban which will result in the establishment of an office for Taliban in Qatar," President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday.

The AP adds:

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Election 2012
8:10 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Confident Romney, Bolstered Santorum Head To N.H.

Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen, attend a rally Tuesday night in Johnston, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 10:33 am

The photo finish in Iowa — officially, Mitt Romney bested Rick Santorum by only eight votes — has catapulted Santorum into the front ranks of Republican presidential hopefuls.

"This is huge news for Santorum," says Charlie Arlinghaus, who directs a conservative think tank in New Hampshire. "I don't think there's a way to spin the results without saying he's the big winner tonight."

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Chinese Year Of The Dragon Postage Stamp Deemed 'Too Ferocious'

What A Difference A Year Makes: China's Year of the Dragon stamp, left, is decidedly more fearsome than last year's model, of a rabbit.
Webo/China Post

To welcome the Year of the Dragon, China's postal service plans to release commemorative postage stamps featuring the fabled beast. But many customers are finding the image to be a little over the top.

Here are some reactions cited by China's Xinhua news agency:

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Shots - Health Blog
7:57 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Calories Trump Protein For Weight Loss

A high-protein diet, without a reduction in calories, isn't a recipe for weight-loss success.
iStockphoto.com

When it comes to keeping off fat, protein sounds to some like a magic bullet.

For decades, people have been making the case that eating a lot more of it, as in the Atkins diet, or lots less of it, will change the body's metabolism, spurring weight loss.

But alas, it ain't so easy.

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News
7:56 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Report: Lack of workplace safety culture in Wyo.

An epidemiologist who spent a year studying the high rate of workplace deaths in Wyoming says his research points to lack of a "culture of safety" in Wyoming.

Dr. Timothy Ryan says in a report to Gov. Matt Mead that more than 85 percent of reports on deadly workplace accidents in Wyoming show safety procedures not being followed.

Wyoming consistently has one of the nation's highest rates of workplace fatalities, more than 12 per 100,000 workers in 2010. That's more than three-and-a-half times the national average.

Many deaths occur in the oil and gas industry.

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Education
7:35 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Rise In Spanish Speakers Has School Trying To Adapt

Fifth-graders Miquel Vasquez, Luis Hernandez, Erica Medrano and Victor Vasquez are part of Vardaman Elementary School's growing Hispanic student population.
Annie Gilberson for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 6:52 pm

Year over year, the number of Spanish-speaking kindergarteners at Vardaman Elementary School in northeast Mississippi has been on the rise.

Census numbers show the South has the fastest-growing Hispanic population in the country. Now, Vardaman Elementary is about to become Mississippi's first predominantly Latino primary school, and that's posing special challenges when it comes to finding teachers who can help Spanish-speaking students adapt to the American classroom.

Vardaman Takes Its Own Approach

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Presidential Race
7:17 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Iowa's Caucus Results Ripple Into New Hampshire

After Mitt Romney's narrow win in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, the GOP presidential hopefuls move on to New Hampshire, where voters cast their ballots in a primary next week. For more on the Republican presidential race, Steve Inskeep speaks to NPR's Brian Naylor, who is in New Hampshire.

It's All Politics
7:07 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Michele Bachmann Ends Her Presidential Bid

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann waves from her bus after a campaign stop at Valley High School on Tuesday in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 9:41 am

Update at 11:29 p.m. ET. 'People Of Iowa Spoke':

Saying "the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice," Michele Bachmann announced she was ending her bid to become the Republican nominee for president.

Bachmann started her announcement with a litany of grievances against President Obama. She said she was inspired to run for president the day Obama passed his healthcare reform.

She knew, she said, that "Obamacare endangered the very survival of the United States of America."

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Wed January 4, 2012

The Republican Race, Beyond Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hugs his wife, Ann, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 6:28 am

We've been helping our friends at It's All Politics on the big story of the morning, which, as you've no doubt heard, is that after a nail-biter of a night, Mitt Romney took the Iowa primary by eight votes. Rick Santorum pulled a surprising turn around to end up second.

Here's some of the territory we've covered on IAP:

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