Filipino youths bring in the New Year with sparklers at a public park in Manila. Romeo Gacad /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A Quick Look At The Year Ahead

As the new year gets under way, we take a quick temperature check on some key areas to see what the prognosis might be. The topics: politics — domestic and global — and economics.

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Haitians celebrate their independence from France on Jan. 1 each year with a traditional squash soup called soup joumou. Courtesy of Whole Foods hide caption

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People crowd Saara, a popular market in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is one of the world's largest economies and is attracting job seekers from around the world. Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A vendor sells seafood at a market in East Broadway in New York City's Chinatown. There was a 17 percent drop in the population of New York City's Chinatown over the past decade, and some say it's a sign that Chinatown is becoming more of a symbolic touchstone. Rebecca Sheir/NPR hide caption

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Hesham Abdul Ghani and his wife, Oras Touma, came to Michigan to escape religious persecution. Jacki Lyden/NPR hide caption

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President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of his National Security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House. A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. Pete Souza/White House hide caption

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A trader walks in New York City's financial district on Sept. 12, a day when stocks fell early based on fears that the Greek government would default, then rallied on news that China might buy Italian debt. This year, what sent the market into a tailspin often took place overseas. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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