KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Scott Neuman

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. State of emergency in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to the heavy snowfall. The declaration allows state agencies to work directly with county and city emergency responders.

Jennifer Davidson of member station KSMU reports that about 40 people are staying at The Salvation Army in Springfield, which provides beds, blankets, and food for families in need.

As many as 30 million people living from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley are in the path of a storm moving east out of California that could dump several inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain and sleet elsewhere in the next few days.

According to the Weather Channel, the storm is caused by an "upper-level dip in the jet stream," on Wednesday.

New Zealand seems to be the destination of choice for wayward Antarctic penguins.

If the Chinese military is regularly hacking into the computers of U.S. organizations, as an American security firm says, it raises all sorts of questions about how the U.S. should respond.

Is this a job for the military or the intelligence agencies? What role should diplomats and trade officials be playing?

The report issued this week by the IT security consultancy Mandiant says it has traced the hacking activity to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398, which has "systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations."

Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:

In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.

Investigators trying to piece together a motive in December's killings in Newtown, Conn., believe that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza may have been inspired by a similar 2011 massacre in Norway.

The Hartford Courant and CBS News report that authorities searching through Lanza's belongings after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary discovered several news articles about Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in July 2011.

It's been a rough voyage for the cruise-line industry in the past few years.

Russians might be forgiven for thinking they have a big, fat celestial bull's-eye painted on their heads.

In an apparent reference to U.S. drone strikes, President Obama in his State of the Union speech defended the administration's continued use of "direct action" against terrorists and promised to work with Congress to ensure such targeting is lawful and transparent.

The president said that "where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans."

A U.S. Coast Guard hearing opens Tuesday to investigate the October sinking of the replica ship HMS Bounty off Cape Hatteras and the deaths of her captain and a crew member as the vessel fought unsuccessfully to outmaneuver Hurricane Sandy.

At issue in the hearings are the actions of the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, who chose to head out to sea despite the approach of Sandy, one of the largest storms in decades to hit the U.S. East Coast.

When the boyish Kim Jong Un assumed power in North Korea barely a year ago after his father's passing, speculation was that he might strike out a more open and less provocative path.

Figuring out what is or isn't going on in North Korea has long been an exercise in reading tea leaves, and no one predicting a thaw in the hard-line hereditary regime did so without qualification.

Ahead of North Korea's latest nuclear test, the country launched a preemptive barrage of propaganda aimed at the West. But in the age of the Internet, has such ham-fisted messaging lost its punch?

The latest North Korean video, released on YouTube last week in apparent anticipation of Tuesday's test, is something of an amateurish production.

When Pope Benedict XVI steps down at the end of the month, he will be remembered for his efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church's core beliefs and for his powerful and eloquent encyclicals, but also for a mixed record in handling the sexual abuse scandal.

Timbuktu conjures up images of long camel caravans out on the edge of the sand-strewn Sahara — a remoteness so legendary that the ancient city is still a byword for the end of the earth.

Israel, Germany and Canada are among the countries that have already marched down the path the U.S. will soon follow in allowing women a role in front-line combat units.

And most experts say the integration of women into such roles elsewhere has gone smoothly, despite concerns as to whether they would be up to the physical demands and about the question of fraternization between male and female troops.

President Obama mentioned him five times in Monday's inaugural address — God, that is.

In modern times, religion has become so intertwined in our political rhetoric that the failure of any president to invoke God in a speech as important as the inaugural could hardly escape notice. Thanks to this graphic in The Wall Street Journal, we noticed the presidents who did (nearly all) and the few who didn't (Teddy Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes).

Hours after French troops launched a ground offensive in Mali to quash an Islamist rebellion, militants retaliated by seizing dozens of hostages, reportedly including Americans, in neighboring Algeria — an attack that underscores Western fears of a deteriorating security situation in northwestern Africa.

In the weeks since the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., communities across the country have wanted to do something about gun control, and many have turned to an old standby: buybacks.

Time was that a Swiss bank account was synonymous with confidentiality and keeping assets from prying eyes. No more.

Last week, Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., pleaded guilty in a New York court to helping Americans hide $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service over a decade-long period. Wegelin's plea, and a $57.8 million fine, forced the bank to shut its doors. It follows a $780 million settlement with UBS in 2009 that forced the Swiss banking giant to identify the names of its U.S. account holders.

You might have thought the intense partisan negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff were all about who wins and who loses when it comes to taxes and government programs.

And that assessment would be essentially correct — but some of the winners might strike you as a bit odd.

Tucked away in the bill's obscure cul-de-sacs are a bevy of obscure tax and spending provisions. We picked five for your perusal. Here goes:

The House of Representatives voted 257-167 late Tuesday to pass a Senate-approved compromise deal that stops large tax increases for 99 percent of Americans, and delays massive spending cuts for two months.

The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

NPR's S.V. Date is reporting on the deal for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:

"The eventual deal was hammered out by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. It passed the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support.

Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to an extension on labor negotiations, a federal mediator said Friday, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET: The temporary deal extends the contract to Feb. 6.

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

At a service for the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday, President Obama said if it weren't for the example of the long-serving Hawaii Democrat, he might not have gone into public service.

Inouye "hinted to me what might be possible in my own life," Obama told the crowd, which included Vice President Joe Biden and other friends and former Senate colleagues.

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