A day after Syria roundly rejected an Arab League proposal that it hoped would end the violence in the country, the Gulf Cooperation Council said it was ending its monitoring mission in the country.

The Arab League, which has a few monitors of its own in the country, said its monitors would remain, if Syria is OK with it.

The Telegraph reports:

Scorsese's 'Hugo' Leads The Oscars With 11 Nominations

Jan 24, 2012

The Academy Awards announced this morning that Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," a film about the adventure of an orphan in 1930s Paris, was nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director.

The mostly silent film "The Artist" came in second with 10 nominations.

The AP reports:

Tonight, President Obama is set to deliver the final state of the union address of his first term. Morning Edition's Renee Montagne spoke to White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe for a preview of the president's speech.

In releasing details of his tax burden for the past two years, Mitt Romney offered a small window into a vast wealth. The tax records show that the former Massachusetts governor made $42.6 million over the past two years and because most of it came from capital gains, he paid $6.2 million in taxes.

That means that in 2010, his tax rate was 13.9 percent, and in 2011, it's expected to be 15.4 percent, lower than many Americans who pay taxes on wages.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. At Disneyland and Disney World, everyone working there has a clean-cut image. It goes back to the 1950s, when Disneyland first opened and facial hair was banned. Even though Uncle Walt Disney had one, moustaches weren't even allowed until 2000. But starting next month, employees will finally be allowed to have beards, as long as they're kept short and trim, unless maybe you're one of the seven dwarves. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi is best known for eating hot dogs. He once ate 69 in 10 minutes. Now he's on to a different food. TV host Wendy Williams invited Kobayashi on her show to set the Guiness record for most Twinkies consumed in a minute. There was no previous record for Twinkie eating.

Given the nonstop, stereo-rock news cycle, the warp speed tempo of geopolitics and the constant to-and-fro between the media and the president, has the State of the Union address become obsolete?

Traditionally, the speech — an annual where-we-stand lecture delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress — has for decades been an opportunity for the professor in chief to issue a national report card and put current events in calm, codifiable context.

David Greene interviews Michael McFaul, the new U.S. Ambassador to Russia, about the future of U.S. Russia relations and the rocky reception he's been given by the pro-Putin media.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You might remember, last summer, the U.S. women's soccer team caught the attention of the nation with its dramatic run to the final of the women's world cup in Germany. Well, this week, the team is playing in an all-important, Olympic-qualifying tournament in Vancouver. And Christine Brennan is there covering the event for USA Today.

Christine, good morning.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Good morning, David.

The hotly-contested Republican primary has gotten a lot of attention lately. Tuesday night, President Obama has a chance to reclaim the spotlight. He's delivering his annual State of the Union address. It's a high-profile platform for the president as he tries to frame the choice facing voters in November.

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