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All eyes are on the Iowa caucuses & more news headlines

Leigh Anderson is the author of The Games Bible: The Rules, The Gear, The Strategies. She has written for Vox, ScaryMommy, Popular Science, Women's Health, and

Rapid Reads: 6 Big stories of the day

It's Monday morning, so don't do too much, too fast. Wake up slowly with these news headlines. 

1. Finally, something real

Holy cow, the first official event of the campaign season is today: The Iowa caucuses. Real people will cast real votes, giving the media something to chew on besides the latest polls. But the tea-leaf reading won't end today because how Iowa votes isn't necessarily how the rest of the country votes: Rick Santorum won in 2012 and Mike Huckabee won in 2008. But at the very least there'll be some fresh news at the end of the day. — The Guardian

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2. Rising star

Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been defaced with a swastika. A poorly drawn swastika, it's true, but it's still unmistakable what the artist intended. This isn't the first time a star has been defaced: Someone wrote "rapist" on Bill Cosby's star in 2014. Despite this anonymous commentary, Trump is still expected to win the Iowa caucuses today. — Esquire

3. Heroes

Thousands of refugees fleeing war and persecution pile into boats and onto rafts to make the treacherous sea crossings to safety. Many arrive on the island of Lesbos, where the residents have been working tirelessly to supply the people who wash up on their shores with food and assistance. Today is the deadline for nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a petition has been circulating online to nominate the citizens of Lesbos for the award. They don't necessarily think they deserve a reward: One said, "We are monsters if we don't do this — why should we be given a prize for being human beings?" — CNN

4. Skin in the game

Donald Trump's campaign finance data was released on Sunday night, as required by federal law. The records show a campaign that's ready for a long national election season — and they show that he's starting to put his own money into his bid for the presidency. And that he's spent far less than all of his rivals for the White House, a cost efficiency that he says he'll bring to Washington. — NBC News

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5. Standoff standoff

The four remaining occupiers at the Oregon wildlife refuge are still there, insisting that they be allowed to leave without being detained or charged. The FBI is negotiating with the four, trying to arrive at a peaceful resolution. Ammon Bundy, whose bail depends on the four leaving the refuge, has called for them to go home. Some people don't know when the party's over. — Slate

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6. Does anyone care?

Horrifying images of dead children, victims of the deadly boat crossings refugees are enduring, have been met with a shrug from the rest of the world. The AP notes that the photographs, released Saturday, have garnered a "muted" response, even as Human Rights Watch said that January was the highest month ever for drownings. — Slate

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