National News

A few days ago, I entertained myself for a few minutes watching ESPN's Stephen A. Smith lose his cool — this time, over an "incompetent" NFL for not interviewing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the team's deflated-football controversy.

But what made this moment noteworthy, was where I was watching Smith: not on a TV connected to a cable box, but on my iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.

The federal budget deficit will fall in 2015, the sixth consecutive year of decreases relative to the overall economy, according to new figures by the Congressional Budget Office. The office also says the U.S. economy will expand at a "solid pace" for the next few years.

In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

"Ebola — you have to do more," roars the barrel-bellied cleric El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, with his white beard and mustache, in a snow-white boubou, the traditional flowing gown of West Africa.

That's the message he delivered over the weekend to hundreds of his fellow clerics, who gathered in Kindia, the third largest city in Guinea and a major crossroads. Many of the residents still blame Westerners for bringing the virus to their country.

This week, Congress returns with House leaders vowing to revisit the anti-abortion bill they pulled off the floor last week. The ban on abortions after 20 weeks was withdrawn when it appeared there weren't enough Republican votes to pass it.

Why did it need quite so many Republican votes? Because the GOP can no longer count on a contingent of Democrats to help out on abortion-related votes.

A U.S. drone strike on suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen killed at least three people, just days after the U.S.-backed government resigned in the face of an uprising by Shiite Houthi rebels, effectively leaving the country with no government.

The Associated Press reports that the strike, which occurred in the central province of Marib, targeted a vehicle carrying three men near the border with neighboring Shabwa province, an al-Qaida stronghold. The news agency also quoted an al-Qaida member as saying two of the slain fighters were Yemenis, one Saudi. Here's more:

There are many ways in diplomacy to make a name for yourself. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have taken this message literally.

Across the country, efforts to make marijuana more accessible have quickly gained traction. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, and recreational use is also legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Science, however, hasn't quite caught up. Largely due to its illegal status, there's been very little research done on marijuana's health effects. And researchers don't fully understand how pot affects the developing teenage brain.

This may explain the why the nation's pediatricians have changed their recommendations on marijuana and children.

Alexis Tsipras, who led his left-wing Syriza party to a momentous win in Greece's parliamentary election, was sworn in today amid fears about what his win means for the country's bailout agreements with the European Union.

Reporter Joanna Kakissis in Athens, who is following the story, tells our Newscast unit that Tsipras now leads the first anti-austerity government in Europe. She adds:

Competency-based education is in vogue — even though most people have never heard of it, and those who have can't always agree on what it is.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Secret Service has identified a device that was found overnight on the White House grounds as a "quad copter." The agency says the person who had been operating the device reported that it crashed after they lost control.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Secret Service said an individual called around 9:30 this morning to "self-report" the crashed copter. The agency adds that the person has been cooperative, and that the incident seems to stem from "recreational use of the device."

President Obama became the first U.S. head of state to attend India's annual Republic Day parade, which marks the day the country adopted its constitution.

NPR's Scott Horsley, who is traveling with Obama, says the parade is "partly a showcase for the country's military might, but there are also floats honoring everything from India's female mountain climbers to its home-grown industrial development."

Julie McCarthy, who is NPR's correspondent in India, says it "was a jaunty occasion despite the rain."

Julie tells our Newscast unit:

Fallen Prey To Love's Cruel Sting?

Jan 26, 2015
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Update at 12:20 p.m. ET

Nearly 30 million people in the Northeast are bracing for what the National Weather Service is calling a potentially historic blizzard that could bring more than 2 feet of snow today and Tuesday to parts of the region.

Blizzard warnings have been issued all the way from the New Jersey shore to coastal New England from this afternoon through late Tuesday.

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Cokie Roberts joins us most Mondays to talk politics. And she's with us in this morning. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

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Nearly half of all reported sports concussions occur during a high school football game or practice. And even when injured bodies are ready to get back on the field, injured brains might not be ready to return to class.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking to NPR's Morning Edition, says he's concerned about retaining qualified U.S. military service members amid the "stress and strain" of more than 13 years of continuous warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.

When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that's so new, some women and doctors don't quite realize what they've signed up for.

As the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots prepare to face off at the Super Bowl on Sunday, a scandal about under-inflated footballs is still dominating headlines.

While that subject has been a trending topic on Twitter, it is just the latest in a series of controversies this season. So many recent stories about the nation's most popular sport have focused on domestic abuse and sexual assault allegations, as well as the dangerous effects of concussions and other long-term health consequences for players.

At The William Grant Still Arts Center in the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles, jazz superstars and comic book superheroes are gathered together — in miniature, as part of the Black Doll Show.

For the past 34 years, the center has held a doll show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country. This year's theme is A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes.

Putting #Deflategate To The Test

Jan 25, 2015
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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a surprise press conference yesterday, not to talk about next week's Super Bowl, but about, well, you know, deflated footballs.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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