2:08pm

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Congress Set For Another Debt Ceiling Vote, But This Time It's Merely Symbolic

The U.S. House of Representatives will likely vote today to disapprove of raising the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion. If you remember, the last time a vote of this kind went down, it was a dramatic showdown that rattled markets and was cited as one of the prime reasons S&P downgraded the United States' debt rating.

Today's vote however will be symbolic. The debt ceiling will likely be raised no matter how Congress votes.

Our Newscast desk spoke to NPR's Andrea Seabrook, who explained the vote like this:

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2:03pm

Wed January 18, 2012
Europe

Italy's Cruise Crisis Spawns An Unlikely Star

Italian coast guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco (center) has become a national hero for ordering the captain of a sinking cruise liner to get back onboard and oversee the ship's evacuation. Here, De Falco arrives in court for a hearing on Tuesday.
Giacomo Aprili AP

Five days after a cruise liner slammed into rocks off Italy's Tuscan coast, the country is gripped by the contrasting profiles of two key figures in the drama — the captain charged with abandoning ship and the captain who demanded he get back onboard.

For many Italians, the accident has become a metaphor for a country that sees itself mired in economic and moral decline.

Francesco Schettino, the disgraced captain of the 1,000-foot-long floating palace known as the Costa Concordia, is under house arrest on suspicion of multiple manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship.

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1:20pm

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Would You Burn Your Cash To Stay Warm And Alive? This Man Did

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 1:26 pm

Yong Chun Kim, talking at his home about the experience of being lost in a blizzard for two days.
Ted S. Warren AP

We saw stories earlier this week about a man who was lost for two nights in Mount Rainier National Park over the weekend, but survived in part because he burned the money he was carrying to keep warm as a blizzard blew through the area.

But a critical question wasn't answered until today. — how much money went up in flames?

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1:18pm

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Newt Gingrich Says In 2010, He Paid 31 Percent In Taxes

Countering Mitt Romney's announcement that he paid 15 percent in taxes, Newt Gingrich said his bill came to 31 percent, more than most Americans pay and closer to the top rate of 35 percent.

The AP reports that Gingrich was careful not to criticize Romney for paying a lower tax rate than most Americans.

"My goal is not to raise Mitt Romney's taxes, but to let everyone pay Romney's rate," he said according to the AP.

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12:41pm

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

A Family Of 'Boots For Newt' Hits The Ground In South Carolina

Alexandra Ziegler, age 9, leafletting for Gingrich in Greenville, S.C.
Melissa Block NPR

Sometimes it takes a family to campaign for a presidential candidate, and that's just what Melissa Block, co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, discovered while in South Carolina this week ahead of the state's Saturday primary.

Sondra Ziegler, a volunteer for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign, is making herself useful any way she can — along with her three children and her mother.

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12:29pm

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

McCain's 2008 Anti-Mitt Romney Oppo Research Raised 2012 Themes

A document that purportedly represents opposition research targeting Mitt Romney from Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was posted online by Buzzfeed reporter Andy Kaczynski.

Immediately noticeable is how many of criticisms of Romney by his rivals during the current race for the Republican presidential nomination could just have easily come from McCain's opposition research of four years ago.

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12:06pm

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Reports: Obama Will Reject Keystone Pipeline Proposal

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 4:20 pm

Atkinson, Neb., rancher Bruce Boettcher, who opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, kicks up sand on his land, to demonstrate the fragility of the sandhills near the planned route of the pipeline.
Nati Harnik AP

Saying it did not have sufficient time to properly vet the proposal, the State Department said it would recommend rejecting a proposal by TransCanada to build a 1,700 mile pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.

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11:45am

Wed January 18, 2012
Author Interviews

The Man Who Studies The Fungus Among Us

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 5:39 pm

The Shroom With A View: Mushrooms are fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies found all over the world. They can grow in practically any environment with moisture.
iStockphoto.com

For the past 30 years, botanist Nicholas Money has studied the microorganisms that most people associate with bad smells, itchy toes, damp basements and rotten food. A renowned fungal researcher at Miami University in Ohio, Money has devoted his career to studying indoor molds, fungal movements and the mysterious world of mycology.

Why mold and mushrooms?

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11:35am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Homeless Teen Who's Up For Science Prize To Be At State Of The Union

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 11:39 am

Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey, 17.
John Dunn AP

The good news story of Samantha Garvey, a New York high school student who has been living with her family in a homeless shelter and recently found out she's a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, keeps getting better.

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11:09am

Wed January 18, 2012
Movie Interviews

Michael Fassbender: Portraying An Addict's 'Shame'

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 5:39 pm

In Shame, Brandon (Michael Fassbender) pursues sex not for pleasure but to fulfill a driving compulsion.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

In the past year, actor Michael Fassbender has played a mutant villain in X-Men: First Class, psychoanalyst Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method, Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre and a sex addict in Shame.

It was his role in Shame that recently earned Fassbender a string of accolades, including Best Actor nominations at the Golden Globes and a variety of critics associations.

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