This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's follow up on a weekend of protest in Russia. Allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election sent tens of thousands of people into the streets demonstrating against the party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Behind that tainted election was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Putin himself, who used to be president, remains dominant today, and is preparing to retake the top job.
A spirited fight is on in Iowa for the evangelical vote in the Republican race for president. So far, Christian conservatives have not coalesced behind one candidate, the way they did four years ago for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
In recent years, China's real estate market has boomed. A three-bedroom apartment in Shanghai overlooking the river would cost more than $3 million. But that's beginning to change. The slide comes as the world's most dynamic economy grapples with other challenges, including massive local government debt and slowing growth.
It was a busy day yesterday for presidential politicking in New Hampshire. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traded barbs over Romney's proposed ten-thousand dollar bet with Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well as Gingrich's consulting fees earned working for mortgage giant Freddie Mac. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.
A disputed election in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned sitting President Joseph Kabila to power for the next five years. The opposition claims there was election fraud. Congo's influential Catholic church has voiced reservations about the conduct of the elections.
Police in Seattle arrested more than a dozen Occupy protesters Monday night after marchers briefly blocked traffic coming into the city's busy port. The Seattle protest was the culmination of a day of coordinated protests at ports up and down the West Coast.
Soon after hundreds of Occupy protesters marched to Seattle's Harbor Island, some of them started dragging wooden pallets and scrap metal into the roadway, and traffic in and out of the port came to a halt. The protesters were trying to shut down Terminal 18.
Although all works of fiction and narrative nonfiction have characters — be they animals, hobbits, dragons, humans, werewolves or whatever — I've found that there are some books in which these characters are three-dimensional and awfully interesting. (Whether or not they're likable is another question.) These characters become, as the story progresses, more and more real to me. It's as though they've become good friends.