12:27am

Fri December 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Romney Regains Stride; Gingrich Shows Old Newt At Sioux City Debate

Mitt Romney returned to form in the final Republican presidential debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Romney, who had perhaps his shakiest debate performance in Des Moines over the weekend, appeared to regain his composure in Thursday night's debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

He managed to once again convey the sense that he was the one GOP candidate of the seven remaining who could credibly stand on the same stage with President Obama next fall, the most electable of the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination.

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12:01am

Fri December 16, 2011
National Security

Bradley Manning To Appear In Court In Leaks Case

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Supporters say Army Pfc. Bradley Manning doesn't belong in a courtroom at all. They think he's a whistle-blower — and a hero.

Eighteen months after his arrest on suspicion of leaking national secrets, Manning will finally make his first appearance in court Friday at Fort Meade, Md., just north of Washington, D.C.

When he worked in Iraq, Manning allegedly downloaded thousands of war logs and diplomatic cables and shared them with the website WikiLeaks. He faces 22 criminal charges that could keep him behind bars for life.

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12:01am

Fri December 16, 2011
Your Money

Ways To Cut Your Tax Bill Before 2011 Ends

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 5:33 pm

Taxes might not be due until April, but there are a few things you can do before the new year to lower your bill.
iStockphoto.com

Federal income tax time is still a few months away, but there are some things you can do before Dec. 31 to save money on April 15.

"The biggest thing is, if you have a 401(k) retirement plan at work and you have not yet maxed it out, that is a great way to kick some extra dollars into your retirement account," Mary Beth Franklin, a senior editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, tells NPR's Renee Montagne.

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12:01am

Fri December 16, 2011
StoryCorps

Homeless At 60: 'A Bullet I Didn't See Coming'

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Queen Jackson, right, and her case manager, Debra MacKillop, visited StoryCorps in Denver, Colorado.
StoryCorps

Queen Jackson has been homeless for about a year. As she recently told her case manager, Debra MacKillop, it all started in 2009, when she was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant.

"I was working for the state of Colorado," says Jackson, 60. "I had all these great ideas of retiring and sitting back and enjoying my life. But, as the budget was becoming very strained, I was one of the first to be laid off."

At the time, Jackson wasn't worried. She had saved some money, and she was sure she'd be able to find another job quickly.

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12:01am

Fri December 16, 2011
Monkey See

Diablo Cody Explores The Ugly Side Of Pretty In 'Young Adult'

Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in Young Adult.
Phillip V. Caruso Paramount Pictures

Charlize Theron is ugly in Young Adult, the new film from the Juno team of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody — both literally and personally. In parts of the film, she still looks like her knockout movie-star self, but in other parts, she looks like she's aged a year for every day since her character, Mavis Gary, left high school.

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12:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:06 pm

Writer and commentator Christopher Hitchens died Thursday. He was 62.
Amanda Edwards Getty Images

The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.

Over the years, Hitchens' caustic attention was directed at a broad range of subjects, including Henry Kissinger, Prince Charles, Bob Hope, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

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6:17pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Puerto Rican Mayor Causes A Stir With Wild Christmas Card

A Santini family portrait.
Jorge Santini

We are late to this news, but because it's just now picking up steam in the mainland United States, we'll share it. This was the official Christmas card of Jorge Santini, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, this year:

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5:59pm

Thu December 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Iowa Gov. Branstad On GOP White House Contest: 'It's A Wide Open Race'

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:14 am

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Iowa's popular Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't endorsed any of the Republican presidential candidates crisscrossing his state yet.

Which means he can at least claim to be above the intramural GOP fray scheduled to end in a few weeks when his state's Republican voters attend caucuses to choose their preference for their party's White House nominee.

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5:58pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Europe

After Protests, Russia's Putin Takes To The Airwaves

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:10 pm

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks during a phone-in TV program in Moscow on Thursday. With widespread fraud alleged in recent parliamentary voting, Putin faced much more critical questioning than usual.
Alexey Druzhinin AFP/Getty Images

For the first time in more than a decade running Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is facing serious opposition to his rule. And that meant he faced tougher than usual questions Thursday at his annual question-and-answer session that lasted more than four hours on Russian television.

"Do you think the elections are honest and their results are fair?" the TV moderator asked him, reading an emailed question.

"The election results absolutely reflect the balance of power in the country," Putin said.

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5:51pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Lowering Power in Lexington

Come next spring, a voluntary strategy to reduce overall power consumption in Lexington could be put before government leaders.  A diverse team of environmentalists, business, agriculture, and government officials has worked on the Empower Lexington plan for about two years.  Tom Webb, who’s an environmental manager, says the initiatives would affect public, private, and commercial sectors.

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