Thursday December 29, 2011 Happening Now

The big story today is Iowa! Just 5 days until the first caucuses. One of the big stories today is the rise of Rick Santorum who has surged in recent polling in Iowa.. Romney now fighting for #1 with Ron Paul. Gingrich has lost a lot of ground. All the candidates are in Iowa today except for Huntsman who is in N.H.. Larry Sabato weighs in with his Crystal Ball - he's got several scenarios for Iowa. Lots to talk about.

Weekly unemployment numbers are out today. We'll use that as a news hook to get into Santoli.. though I'd like to focus on the Eurozone mess and what it means to us in 2012.

The 19-year-old man accused of shooting an Afghan War veteran at a homecoming party will be in court today. Ruben Ray Jurado faces attempted murder charges in the Friday shooting that put vet Christopher Sullivan in critical condition.

Today was the official end of 13 days of mourning in North Korea with a massive memorial service to Kim Jong Il.. and the prominent display of the heir-apparent Kim Jong Un. Analysts say it shows so far the military is behind the untested young man.

Syria released more than 700 prisoners today as the Arab League continues "inspections" of Syria's treatment of its people. It hasn't stopped the killing by the repressive Assad regime, and some are criticizing the Arab League for not being thorough enough. We'll ask Walid Phares if he sees hope for Syria.

Two NATO troops in Afghanistan killed by the Taliban.

Iran says it has shot video of a U.S. aircraft carrier near its "drills" in the Persian Gulf. It comes 1 day after a strongly worded warning by the U.S. to Iran. Iran had threatened to close the strait of Hormuz.

We've just learned the largest haul of Titanic artifacts will be put up for auction on the 100th anniv of the sinking of the ship.. We'll try for a segment!

Clint Henderson is the Executive Producer for “Happening Now” and an avid traveler. Follow his adventures on Twitter, ClintPHenderson, and Instagram, clintpage1.