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