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When a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others at a shopping center near Tucson exactly a year ago — killing six people and injuring Giffords and many others — some people were quick to blame the episode on the overheated political climate.

Once more, the great media consensus was confounded. Saturday night's debate at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., produced another battle among half a dozen presidential contenders, much like a dozen before it. Front-runner Mitt Romney was neither knocked out nor even knocked down. He was scarcely even knocked around.

Once again, the evening ended with the bruises pretty equally distributed among the contestants. And with the New Hampshire primary bearing down on Tuesday, virtually no time remains for Romney's rivals to bring him down.

Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"

While people tend not to know much about New Hampshire, when it comes to presidential politics, the small state tucked into northern New England has some clout.

For the better part of the past week, all eyes have been focused on the 42nd most populous state, which holds its primary Tuesday. But who are the voters there, who play such a critical role in selecting the nation's next leader?

It's pretty easy to identify the classic stereotypes most outsiders associate with New Hampshire. Just ask long-time resident Earl Wingate:

The people of Tucson, Ariz., are commemorating the one-year anniversary of the shooting that claimed six lives and left 13 people wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). As NPR's Ted Robbins reports, community-wide events are scheduled all weekend:

Rick Santorum has complained about being disregarded during a string of Republican presidential debates. The former Pennsylvania senator has a point (more on that in a moment), but likely won't for long: He should be at the center of attention during a pair of televised debates this weekend that lead into the New Hampshire primary.

On the edge of downtown Los Angeles, Rae Marie Martinez looks for familiar landmarks. The 60-something grandmother turns in a slow circle and shakes her head. In 1957, she still had long braids and wore long dresses.

People made fun of her back then. "I remember they used to kick my heels all the way to school," Martinez says.

An effort to halt public benefits for undocumented students in California hit a snag Friday. As Bob Hensley of Capital Public Radio reports for NPR News, a petition to get the issue on the state ballot has failed:

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to rescind a law providing financial aid for California students who are illegally living in the state came up more than 55,000 signatures short.

So when the law goes into effect next year, it will allow undocumented students enrolled at public universities to apply for state loans and scholarships.

Eleven-year-old Gloriana Hamphill, known as Glory, feels like she's about to have the worst summer of her life. It's 1964 in Hanging Moss, Miss., a year that will teach her about bigotry, loyalty and bravery. Former librarian Augusta Scattergood talks with host Scott Simon about her first young adult fiction novel,Glory Be.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Next GOP Stop: New Hampshire

Jan 7, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The honey bee population of North America is in decline. That fact has even acquired an acronym, CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder. A number of theories have been advanced as to why honey bees are dwindling, including viruses, mites and various fungi.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Sports: No Contest This Wild Card Weekend

Jan 7, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It's the opening day of the NFL wild card playoffs. But really, any of those teams going to make a run at Green Bay or New England, and their marquee quarterbacks?

The View From The Unemployed

Jan 7, 2012

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Anyone who lives with a cat knows that fruits and vegetables do not top the feline food chart. So it's a surprise to hear that some cats do crave mushrooms.

This tale starts with Ellen Jacobson, an amateur mushroom hunter in Colorado. As she was cooking up a bolete mushroom, her cat Cashew started brushing against her legs. She put some of the mushrooms in a bowl, and Cashew gobbled them up. "He didn't like them raw," she told The Salt. "He only liked them cooked."

President Obama acknowledged Friday that the economic recovery has a long way to go. Still, he was able to share some good news. The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent.

"Obviously, we have a lot more work to do," he said, "but it is important for the American people to recognize that we've now added 3.2 million new private-sector jobs over the last 22 months."

Those better-than-expected numbers could help Obama as he tries to hang onto his own job.

When Mitt Romney kicked off this past week with a blitzkrieg tour of Iowa, he had no way of knowing just how true this statement would be: "You guys in Dubuque, you're the best. Get out there and vote tomorrow. I need every vote!"

He wasn't kidding. When the final numbers were tallied in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor edged his closest rival, Rick Santorum, by the smallest margin in Iowa history — just eight votes.

Italy's new prime minister, technocrat Mario Monti, wants to stimulate growth by boosting productivity and competitiveness. A new law that went into effect Jan. 1 allows shops, cafes and restaurants to stay open 24/7 all year long, holidays included. This deregulation puts Italy ahead of many European countries, but many Italians are resisting.

Friday — the Day of the Epiphany — was the first holiday of the year. In Rome, however, hardly anyone took advantage of the liberalized shop hours.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case near and dear to EPA haters.

It would seem to be a David-and-Goliath case that pits a middle-class American couple trying to build their dream home against the Environmental Protection Agency. But the couple, Michael and Chantell Sackett, is backed by a veritable who's who in American mining, oil, utilities, manufacturing and real estate development, as well as groups opposed to government regulation.

President Obama took a controversial step this week in making appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board during what the White House considered a congressional recess, bypassing any objections from lawmakers.

The struggle between government forces and protesters continues in the Gulf nation of Bahrain. Today, it came back into focus when Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist, was detained and beaten by government security forces.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said Rajab was beaten "for participating in a peaceful protest" in the capital city of Manama, today. In a press release, the organization reports:

No Surgery Required For Some Stabbing, Shooting Patients

Jan 6, 2012

When it comes to a gunshot or stab wound in the stomach, surgeons will almost reflexively open up a patient's abdomen to look for damage.

But that's starting to change as doctors rethink how best to manage trauma cases.

A team of researchers pored over the National Trauma Data Bank and examined more than 25,000 cases of penetrating injuries to the abdomen (about 12,000 gunshot cases and 13,000 stabbings) in the U.S. between 2002 and 2008.

Each January, the first bluefin tuna auction at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market commands some of the highest prices of the year.

This year's auction got off to an especially extravagant start when a sushi chain owner paid 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, for one 593-pound bluefin tuna yesterday, according to wire service reports.

How did the economic collapse of 2008 and 2009 give birth to a conservative populist revolt?

That's the question Thomas Frank tries to answer in his new book — and sharp-tongued liberal polemic — Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right.

Seven years after the suit was filed, the families of four contractors killed in Iraq have settled a lawsuit with Academi, the company formerly known as Blackwater.

If you remember, the 2004 incident produced one of the most gruesome images of the war in Iraq: the charred bodies of two Blackwater guards were hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

It's Jan. 1.

I'm en route to Iowa to cover the caucuses. I'm a novice reporter and NPR editors trusted me to tag along.

At my layover in Minneapolis, I reach into my pocket to pay for a chai tea latte and — wait — where's my wallet? I can't find my wallet. I double, triple, quadruple check.

I run back to the gate. "Ma'am, I think my wallet fell out of my coat in overhead. Seat 20B." She checks it out. Negative. It's not there.

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