Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

Obama: ‘We Are Not A Deadbeat Nation’

President Obama reiterated on Monday that the United States is required by law to meet its obligations, and that the onus remains on Congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling.

Grieving Families, Community Launch ‘Sandy Hook Promise’

Pledging to do all they can “to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence,” parents, family and friends of the 20 children and six educators killed in the Dec. 14 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., just launched Sandy Hook Promise.

Beijing’s ‘Airpocalypse’ Spurs Pollution Controls, Public Pressure

In China’s capital, they’re calling it the “airpocalypse,” with air pollution that’s literally off the charts. The air has been classified as hazardous to human health for a fifth consecutive day, at its worst hitting pollution levels 25 times that considered safe in the U.S. The entire city is blanketed in a thick grey fug that smells of coal and stings the eyes, leading to official warnings to stay inside.

Losing Our Religion: The Growth Of The ‘Nones’

This week, Morning Edition explores the “nones” — Americans who say they don’t identify with any religion. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that’s their answer: “none.”

Iran unable to get life-saving drugs due to international sanctions

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions, which have led to dire shortages of life-saving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and bloodclotting agents for haemophiliacs.

Indian police investigate two new gang rape cases

Indian police are investigating two new cases of gang-rape, one of a bus passenger in north-western Punjab state, the other of a woman who got off a train in a remote area in the state of Bihar and was assaulted and killed.

Mali Islamists counter attack, promise France long war

(Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels launched a counteroffensive in Mali on Monday after four days of French air strikes on their northern strongholds, seizing the central town of Diabaly and promising to drag France into a brutal Afghanistan-style war.

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