Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 1:57 pm
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.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.