Some of the biggest banks in the country are reportedly close to a settlement with authorities over the so-called robo-signing scandal in which mortgage company officials signed and notarizeed foreclosure documents without properly reviewing them.
Many lenders and mortgage servicers acknowledged making serious mistakes in foreclosure paperwork.
A burly beast of a man bursts into a presidential press conference and is shot in the leg by secret police. Two days later, the White House reveals that the befuddled intruder with a handlebar mustache is really former President William Howard Taft.
So begins Taft 2012, a novel that gives a satirical take on contemporary politics through the eyes of a president who served a century ago. Author Jason Heller places Taft in a 21st-century election campaign, where he is forced to sit in bars on New Year's Eve and master Twitter along the way.
The Arab League sent observers to Syria about a month ago. Their mission: to bear witness to the escalating violence between soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad and armed opposition fighters.
The presence of the orange-vested observers was supposed to discourage the violent crackdown on protesters, but since they arrived in December, almost 1,000 Syrians have died. Overall, it is estimated that more than 5,400 people have been killed since the protests began last March.
With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.
There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.
Let's turn now to the other big story we're following today, and that is, of course, the fallout from last night's primary triumph for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. As you know by now, he crushed his opponents, taking 40 percent of the vote, 12 points above his closest rival, the man hitherto known as the front-runner, Mitt Romney.
For his directorial debut, actor Ralph Fiennes brings William Shakespeare's work to the big screen with a modern adaptation of Coriolanus. Fiennes also stars as the eponymous Roman general, a role he played on the stage 11 years ago.
The original play, Fiennes tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, is complex.
"I had this feeling that if you were to clear away a lot of the denser passages, and shorten it and edit it, you are left actually with a very visceral, sinewy political thriller," Fiennes says.
Miles and Kent Romney, (left to right), distant cousins of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Miles believes his cousin's candidacy is nothing less than prophetic.
Credit John Burnett / NPR
Colonia Juarez is an orderly, prosperous town with a population of approximately 1,000 people, located at the foot of the western Sierra Madres in Mexico. Of the population, most are Mormons and about 40 are Romneys.
Now to Hungary, where the only independent radio news station in the country may soon go silent. Klubradio lost its license in what its owners charge was a government move to muzzle critics. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports from Budapest.
Reporter Joanna Kakissis traveled to the province of Thrace, in northern Greece, to look into a religious controversy. What she found, like so much in Greece these days, was a story about the sad state of the economy.
(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE TALKING)
JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: Recep Pacaman greets friends at his family home in the village of Komotini. The male visitor is wearing a prayer cap; the woman, a dark headscarf.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The Republican presidential nominating contest is now in full swing - emphasis on swing. Three states have voted, each anointing a different winner. Yesterday, South Carolinians had their say, and they picked Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney was a distant second, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul third and fourth.
We have reports from all four campaigns, starting with NPR's Tamara Keith at Gingrich headquarters last night.
It wasn't too long ago Mitt Romney looked like he was on a winning streak; that maybe if things kept going his way, he could sweep all the early primary and caucus states. Now, his record is one for three.
NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Romney's South Carolina election-night headquarters on how things turn so dramatically, so quickly.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. After a turbulent week of dropouts, reversals and impassioned pleas, in the end, it wasn't even close. Newt Gingrich beat Mitt Romney in the South Carolina GOP primary by 12 percentage points - a decisive win for the former speaker of the House, and a surprise for his rivals. The win scrambles the Republican race for the presidency. Voters have chosen three winners in the first three contests of the primary season.
That brings us to our next story: the potential for governments - from dictatorships to democracies - to exploit technology to spy on their own citizens. John Villasenor is a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and he's written a paper on how governments may soon be able to record much of what is said or done within their borders - every phone conversation, electronic message, Facebook post, tweet and video from every street corner - and then store that information indefinitely.
On Jan. 12, for the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake, thousands of people flocked to the Shalom Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The "church" is just a plywood stage under a patchwork of tattered tarps.
The crowd was so large that it spilled down a muddy hill toward a tent camp for earthquake victims. Most of the singing, swaying congregation were so far away they couldn't even see the podium.
The evangelical mission now claims to have more than 50,000 members and one of the most popular radio stations in Haiti.
Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party heads the country's new government, the result of snap elections called by the king. Here, Abdelilah Benkirane, the party's secretary general and now prime minister, arrives for an election rally in Sale on Nov. 1. The party now faces political as well as economic challenges.
An Islamist party heads Morocco's newly elected government, part of a wave of Islamist election victories following uprisings across North Africa.
But Morocco's case is a bit different. King Mohammed VI responded quickly to a pro-democracy movement last year with a new constitution and snap elections. The Justice and Development Party, known as the PJD, won the most votes in November. Now, Moroccans ask: How will this popular Islamist party govern?
The rise of social media, hash-tags, forums, blogs and online news sites has revealed a new kind of secret — those hiding in plain sight. The CIA calls all this information "open source" material, and it's changing the way America's top spy agency does business.
By embracing Newt Gingrich in its primary, the South Carolina GOP has risked its remarkable record of success at picking the party's eventual nominee for president.
It's been quite a run. Beginning with its primary in 1980, when it chose Ronald Reagan, South Carolina has voted first among Southern states. And the Palmetto State's choice has gone on to dominate the other Southern states and lock up the nomination in short order. That happened eight times in a row, counting incumbent renominations.