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Renee Montagne

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NPR's business news starts with Starbucks after hours.

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In Russia today, President Vladimir Putin made this declaration to a joint session of the Russian parliament.

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Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

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Let's talk more about changes to the National Security Agency that President Obama is announcing as we speak at the Justice Department. And we're joined in our studio by Tamara Keith and Tom Gjelten. And let's just begin.

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A very cold winter storm is engulfing much of the Northeast, dumping more than 20 inches of snow in some areas and bringing strong winds along with it. Schools are closed in Boston and New York City. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Officials around the region are asking people to stay home and let road crews do their work.

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In South Africa this morning, a song-filled memorial for Nelson Mandela. Here, the National Anthem.

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And for more on where the immigration debate stands in Washington, NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson joined us from the White House. Good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hello, Renee.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

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One country that has a huge stake in seeing the U.S. pull back from a default is China. China is the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, totaling some $1.3 trillion.

In Italy, protests and clashes erupted Tuesday as a Catholic splinter group prepared to celebrate the funeral of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke — on the eve of the 70thanniversary of the Nazi roundup of Roman Jews.

Police in riot gear tried to keep groups of ultra-right-wing sympathizers away from citizens enraged over a religious ritual for the man associated with one of the most gruesome Nazi massacres of World War II.

Ultimately, the funeral was suspended.

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