Sought After Hollywood Sword Master Dies

Jan 3, 2012

Bob Anderson was an Olympic fencer, and was a major fight choreographer for saber-rattling movies including: The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings. He was nearly 60 when he did Darth Vader's light saber fighting. Anderson died Sunday at 89.

Steve Inskeep talks to filmmaker Mike Mills for the latest in the Watch This series about recommended movies and television shows. Mills directed the film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer as an elderly father who comes out of the closet.

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.

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.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Blustery winds and freezing cold temperatures today didn't slow down the Republican presidential candidates' campaigning on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Six GOP candidates — most with family members in tow — shook voters' hands and made their final arguments.

Here's a look at what our reporters are finding on the campaign trail:

-- Mitt Romney, who has edged into the lead in recent polls, is looking to deepen — not broaden — his statewide map in the final stretch, campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Jan 2, 2012

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

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The man suspected of killing at least 10 people on Monday by plowing a rented white van down crowded Toronto sidewalks appeared in court this morning, where he was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held today that foreign corporations, even ones with branches in the United States, cannot be held liable for damages stemming from claims they participated in some way in or facilitated terrorist attacks.

The court's conservatives, making up the majority, held that foreign corporations may not be defendants under the Alien Tort Statute, a law dating back to 1789, originally put in place to deal with piracy. They said that a decision the other direction could deter corporate development.

Organizers of a newsroom union at the Chicago Tribune have informed its publisher that colleagues have already given such overwhelming formal support for their effort that the paper's parent company should recognize the guild voluntarily and start to negotiate a contract.

The organizers gave the Tribune's parent company, Tronc, a day to make a decision.

Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET

President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are fielding questions from reporters on Tuesday, in between talks on the Iran nuclear deal and a lavish state dinner.

Democratic lawmakers are calling for a subpoena to force the U.S. Census Bureau and Commerce Department to release internal documents about the decision to add a controversial citizenship question to forms for the upcoming national headcount.

The request comes two weeks before a congressional oversight hearing on the 2020 census.

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