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It's only January, and already the race for the Republican presidential nomination feels like it's gone on forever and that it might never end. The Florida primary is just eight days away with four candidates left and no real front-runner. We get the latest. Also, Europe bans Iranian oil imports, escalating tensions over its nuclear program, and it's the Chinese Year of the Dragon. We hear what that means in myth, history and for American business.

Banner image: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (L) speaks during a primary night rally with his wife Callista Gingrich January 21, 2012 in Columbia, South Carolina. Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Making News Europe Bans Iranian Oil Imports, Nuclear Tensions Escalate 7 MIN, 36 SEC

The European Union today launched what sounds like unprecedented escalation of sanctions aimed at squeezing Iran's economy.  All 27 foreign ministers agreed to ban the import of Iranian oil and freeze assets of Iran's central bank located in Europe. But there are loopholes and the action won't take effect for six months. Edward Cody is in Brussels for the Washington Post.

Edward Cody, Foreign Correspondent, Washington Post

Main Topic Mitt vs. Newt: Establishment vs. Grass Roots Insurgency 37 MIN, 43 SEC

South Carolina demonstrated there's no real front-runner in the GOP race for the Republican nomination. Maybe there never was. Newt Gingrich now leads Mitt Romney in Florida polls with nine days left until the next primary and with candidates raising the rhetorical volume before tonight's 18th debate in Tampa. Gingrich is still calling Romney a "Massachusetts liberal" and, in a message to voters old enough to remember Gingrich as House Speaker, Romney says Gingrich "had to resign in disgrace." Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are still nipping away, but how much longer can this go on, as establishment Republicans try to cope with right-wing populism?

Walter Shapiro, Roll Call / Yale University (@MrWalterShapiro)
James Antle, Washington Examiner (@jimantle)
Susan Estrich, University of Southern California (@SusanEstrich)
Susan MacManus, University of South Florida (@DrMacManus)
Richard Florida, University of Toronto (@Richard_Florida)

Florida's Politics Top Media Markets, One Powerful State

Susan MacManus, Kevin A. Hill and others

Reporter's Notebook Chinese Year of the Dragon to Bring Good Luck 5 MIN, 41 SEC

In China, New Year celebrations set off the world's largest annual human migration, with 3.2 billion journeys expected in the next 40 days. Most will be urban workers going home to their families, though Spring Festival vacations are increasingly popular with affluent urban families. This is the Year of the Dragon, said to be the ancestor of all Chinese people and the only mythological animal in the Chinese zodiac. Wei Hong, Professor of Chinese and Director of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University, who spends a lot of time helping American businesses work in China, tells us what to expect.

Wei Hong, Purdue University

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