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10 things you need to know today: January 16, 2016

Julie Kliegman
Wally Santana/Associated Press
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Iran reportedly frees 4 prisoners, including journalist Jason Rezaian

Iran is reportedly freeing four Iranian-American dual-national prisoners Saturday, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, according to Iran state news outlets. In 2015, Rezaian was convicted of espionage in a controversial closed-door trial. The U.S. has not confirmed the release of the prisoners. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]


Taiwan elects first female president

Tsai Ing-wen won Taiwan's presidential election Saturday. The Democratic Progressive Party candidate will be the first woman on the island to hold the office. She has vowed to support maintaining the status quo in Taiwan's relationship with China, rather than pushing for more formal independence, as her party traditionally has. Tsai scored nearly 60 percent of the vote, easily defeating Kuomintang candidate Eric Chu. [The New York Times, Time]


Al Qaeda claims credit for Burkina Faso terrorist attack

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for a Friday night attack at a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Gunmen stormed the Splendid Hotel, which is popular with foreigners, and took hostages. Burkina Faso security forces encircled the hotel and engaged in gunfire with the suspected militants, reportedly killing four of them and freeing 126 hostages. At least 23 people were killed and 33 were injured in the attack. [Reuters, ABC News]


Falling oil prices cause Dow Jones to tumble 500 points

Oil prices nosedived Friday, sending U.S. stocks tumbling. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped more than 500 points before a slight recovery Friday afternoon, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 2.7 percent to its lowest level since October 2014. While oil prices had rallied on Thursday, traders bracing for the resumption of Iranian oil shipments drove crude oil prices below $30 a barrel. [NBC News, Bloomberg News]


Iran nuclear deal expected to take effect

The agreement the U.S. and other Western nations made to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country curbing its nuclear program is expected to go into effect Saturday, Western and Iranian officials said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry planned to visit Vienna, where the United Nations is expected to certify that Iran has met its obligations. "It proved that we can solve important problems through diplomacy, not threats and pressure," said Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. [The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian]


Former Republican candidate Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb Bush

Onetime Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham endorsed Jeb Bush for president during a news conference Friday, citing the candidate's performance in Thursday's debate as a reason Bush should win his party's nomination. "Last night I heard from Jeb Bush the right answer," Graham said. "He demonstrated somebody in my view who is ready on day one to be commander-in-chief." [NBC News]


Chipotle to close all its restaurants next month for food safety meeting

Mexican chain Chipotle will close its over 19,000 restaurants nationwide on Feb. 8 for a few hours for a company-wide food safety meeting. The move comes after the company was forced to shut down clusters of restaurants after outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus sickened customers. The meeting will give employees an opportunity to discuss changes and ask questions, Chipotle said. In the wake of the infections, Chipotle's stock has plummeted 42 percent; a new marketing campaign is reportedly planned for February. [CNN Money]


Oregon police arrest wildlife refuge protester

Oregon police arrested one of the protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge when he drove into town Friday, charging him with stealing a government vehicle. Kenneth Medenbach, 62, is the first person to be arrested in connection with the armed takeover, which started two weeks ago. In November, Medenbach was released from custody after being charged with illegally camping on federal property on the condition that he would not occupy federal land. [The Oregonian]


Sean Penn: El Chapo's capture makes my article a failure

Speaking with CBS host Charlie Rose for an interview to be broadcast Sunday on 60 Minutes, Sean Penn said he has "a terrible regret" that Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's capture last Friday after six months on the run distracted from the actor's Rolling Stone article. "Let me be clear. My article has failed," Penn said. Penn also dismissed some reports that his meeting with El Chapo led to the kingpin's capture. [The New York Times]


24 to return without Jack Bauer

Following the success of 2014's limited series 24: Live Another Day, which saw Kiefer Sutherland return as 24's tough-as-nails protagonist, Fox has announced a quasi-reboot of the franchise that will continue the story without Jack Bauer — or any of the other characters from the original series. The new series, titled 24: Legacy, will instead follow "a military hero recently returned to the U.S." who teams up with CTU, the fictional government agency at the center of 24's narrative. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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