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After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday. The changes he pitched were relatively modest, but he promised to move forward with or without the help of Congress.

For some Americans, it feels like the country is in tatters. For others, life is good and a recovering economy means a dream house.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin attracted national attention this month when he devoted his entire annual State of the State speech to heroin addiction in Vermont. As the state expands addiction treatment services, it's also trying to come to grips with one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of the problem: pregnant women addicted to opiates.

Chinese officials recently announced the rover was experiencing mechanical difficulties, and now observers believe its done for. But the thirst for more moon missions may be spreading in China.

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was in a Cairo courtroom on Tuesday, seen and heard for only the second time since he was thrust from office in a military coup last July. Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood are facing charges of collusion with Hamas and Hezbollah during the 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime.

Winter weather is sweeping through the Deep South on Tuesday. It's cold and snowing in areas that rarely ever see arctic blasts such as this one. Southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama have all seen snow today.

On Tuesday night, President Obama will lay out his priorities before Congress and, more importantly, the country at large. NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson, speaks with Audie Cornish about what the president hopes to accomplish with this year's State of the Union.

The president will announce in his State of the Union address that he's signing an executive order to lift the pay in new federal contracts. A top adviser tells NPR that Obama has "warmed up to" the idea of using executive orders to move his agenda ahead.

Seeger had been a mentor and an influence on younger musicians for decades. He will be remembered for his music and his social activism.

Last March, Sen. Carl Levin announced his final term. But his brother, Rep. Sandy Levin, will run for re-election next year. "It's difficult for me to imagine Carl's not being a partner and my closest friend," Sandy says. Tuesday's State of the Union speech will be the last where they sit, as they always have, side by side.

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