Monday, Jan. 2Flexing their missiles: Iran test-fires two long-range missiles, continues threatening to disrupt shipping through crucial Strait of Hormuz ... Mission unaccomplished: Arab League observers admit they'd failed to stop violence in Syria, with 390 killed since they arrived three days ago ... Bitter ending: Benjamin Colton Barnes, Iraq war veteran suspected of fatally shooting park ranger, found frozen to death in chest-deep snow in Mount Rainier National Park after massive manhunt ... The force was with him: Bob Anderson, master swordsman who played Darth Vader in light-saber fights with Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, dies at 89 ... Fashionistas of the gridiron: University of Oregon football team astonishes world with Darth Vader-like uniforms. In related development, Ducks beat Wisconsin 45-38 in Rose Bowl.
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Landslide in the heartland: Mitt Romney beats Rick Santorum by a puny eight votes in Iowa caucuses; Ron Paul is close third ... Michelle Bachmann finishes dead last, drops out of race ... Twitter newbie Rupert Murdoch tweets his support of Santorum, says he's "only candidate with genuine big vision" for US. Yes, it's the vision that scares us ... Let the good times roll: Luxury British automaker Bentley reports 37 percent surge in sales in 2011, paced by its Continental GT, base price over $200,000 ... Peace feelers? Taliban publicly expresses interest in talks with US, gets approval from Afghanistan government to open office in Qatar ... Meanwhile Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet for first time in 15 months, but report no progress ... The Cult of Steve: Chinese company announces it'll market action figure of the late Steve Jobs for $99; pre-orders so heavy they crash website.
Wednesday, Jan. 4
Make mine Chicago-style: Romney rips President Obama's recess appointment of consumer watchdog Richard Cordray as "Chicago-style politics at its worst" ... Headed into New Hampshire primary, Romney picks up endorsement of losing 2008 presidential candidate Sen. John McCain ... Meanwhile Santorum collects over $1 million in contributions in one night after almost beating Romney in Iowa caucuses ... Shifting allegiances: Colin Myler, editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World until it was shut down in phone-hacking scandal, named editor-in-chief of New York Daily News, arch-rival of Murdoch's New York Post ... It's a compliment, we guess: Scientists discover new species of hairy crab living in undersea volcanic vents, name it "The Hoff" after David Hasselhoff ... Revenge of the pussycats: Chinese authorities say billionaire Long Liyuan killed by cat meat stew poisoned by local official in dispute over money.
Thursday, Jan. 5
On the road with the GOP Circus: College students in Concord, NH boo Santorum after he equates same-sex marriage with polygamy ... Meanwhile Herman Cain (remember Herman Cain?) says he'll launch bus tour a la Sarah Palin to promote his "999" tax plan ... Ammo belt tightening: Obama announces plan to scale back military budget so US will no longer be able to fight two major wars at once ... Killing for God: Wave of sectarian bombings leaves scores dead in Iraq ... Resurrected: musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," once all but given up for dead, breaks record for highest one-week gross in Broadway history ... This is real old school: Republican legislators in New Hampshire push bill requiring all new state laws to be based on Magna Carta, signed in 1215 ... Geezer Power! Small group of elderly folks occupies and shuts down Bank of America branch near San Francisco.
Friday, Jan. 6
Going down and looking up: US Department of Labor Statistics reports unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December, continuing trend that started in August ... Nuclear retirement policy: In wake of Fukushima disaster, Japan decides to scrap all reactors more than 40 years old ... Still crazy: Jared Lee Loughner, mentally ill man who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others in Tucson last year, not expected to stand trial in 2012 ... Jesus got his back: Justin Bieber, on the beach in LA, sports colorful new tattoo of Jesus on calf of left leg. He already had two others.
Saturday, Jan. 7
Taking it on faith: As South Carolina primary nears, Romney puts out mailer emphasizing his "faith," but not mentioning he's a Mormon ... Five former ambassadors to Vatican endorse Romney over Catholics Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ... Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Rick Perry and Ron Paul file for Illinois primary; Jon Huntsman decides to sit it out ... Welcome home, you're under arrest: Pakistan says former president Pervez Musharraf will be charged with assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto if he returns ... Million-dollar baby: Beyonce and husband Jay-Z spend $1.3 million to rent entire floor of NYC hospital, where Beyonce gives birth to a girl, Blue Ivy Carter.
Sunday, Jan. 8
Following the script: Romney faces Santorum, Gingrich, Paul and Perry on "Meet the Press"; rivals rip him for not being conservative enough ... In debate in New Hampshire, Gingrich calls Romney a "liar" for his attack ads; "This ain't beanbag," Mitt shoots back; Perry calls Obama a "socialist" ... Nuking up: International Atomic Energy Agency confirms Iran making bomb-grade enriched uranium in underground bunker ... Bizarre: Body found in woods near Queen Elizabeth's estate of Sandringham identified as 17-year-old girl missing since August ... Classy, sir, very classy: Mike O'Neal, Republican speaker of Kansas House of Representatives, sends email supporting assassination of Obama and calling Michelle "Mrs. YoMamma."