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10 things you need to know today: January 6, 2013
Assad's plan to end Syria's war, the NHL's tentative lockout-ending deal, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed thousands in its crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising that began nearly two years ago.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed thousands in its crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising that began nearly two years ago. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

1. SYRIA'S ASSAD OUTLINES PLAN TO END WAR, BUT HE WON'T STEP DOWN
In a rare public appearance, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad spoke from the national opera house in Damascus, and sketched out a plan for peace in his country — while continuing to call his opponents "terrorists" and still refusing to step down. According to Assad's plan, in phase one, he would order a freeze to the fighting and an end to foreign aid to anti-government forces. If those conditions were met, Assad said he would tell his forces to halt military operations and convene a national dialogue conference. Then, under a transitional government, the draft of a new constitution would be put to a national referendum. In a final phase, a new government would be formed and prisoners released. Assad made no mention of his regime's harsh tactics of air strikes and artillery shelling that has contributed to the roughly 60,000 deaths in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. [Los Angeles Times]
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2. INDIAN RAPE VICTIM'S FATHER WANTS DAUGHTER NAMED
The father of a 23-year-old woman who died from the injuries she sustained during a brutal gang-rape in New Delhi on Dec. 16, has called for police to name his daughter. Indian law generally prohibits the identification of victims of sex crimes. The law is intended to protect victims' privacy. But the victim's father says he wants people to know his daughter's name. "My daughter didn't do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself," he said. "I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter." Supporters quickly took to Twitter echoing the father's sentiments and urging India to follow through with the request. Five men were charged with murder after the woman died on Dec. 28. [Reuters]
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3. OBAMA EXPECTED TO NOMINATE HAGEL TO PENTAGON ON MONDAY
Democratic officials tell Politico that President Obama has settled on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to replace Leon Panetta as defense secretary, and an announcement is expected on Monday. Some Democratic interest groups and several prominent Republicans have voiced their opposition to Hagel's potential nomination since news of Obama's likely choice got out several weeks ago. Hagel, a Vietnam war veteran, opposed his party on the Iraq War when he served as a senator from Nebraska. [Politico]
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4. FOUR PEOPLE DEAD IN AURORA, COLO., HOME AFTER STANDOFF
Police in Aurora, Colo., say four people are dead after a gunman had a six-hour standoff with authorities at a townhome. Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson says a suspected gunman was shot and killed when he exchanged fire with officers after hours of negotiations. Three victims — all adults — appeared to have been killed before police were called. A woman who had escaped from the house by jumping from a second-story window alerted police that the gunman had fired shots inside the home. She told authorities that she saw three lifeless bodies inside before she got out. Aurora was put into the spotlight after the July 20 theater massacre by alleged gunman James Holmes, who prosecutors say killed 12 people and injured dozens others who were at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Holmes faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, and other charges. [USA Today]
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5. EGYPT EYES IMF DEAL TO STAVE OFF CURRENCY CRISIS
Egypt's government said Sunday that it would complete talks with International Monetary Fund officials about a $4.8 billion loan to avoid a currency crisis that could cause more unrest in the country. A senior IMF official is due in Cairo on Monday to meet with Egyptian leaders about the deal, which was postponed last month to give Egypt more time to tackle political tensions and complete a referendum on its new constitution, before introducing unpopular austerity measures. [Reuters]
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6. NHL REACHES A TENTATIVE DEAL TO END LOCKOUT
The NHL and the NHL Players' Association reached a tentative deal early Sunday to end a 100-day lockout. The new deal must now be approved by both the players and team owners. Details of the agreement were not immediately released. The NHL scrapped its preseason and all games through the end of 2012 after the contract expired on Sept. 15 and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. If the new agreement is approved, the door is open to salvage the second half of the season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. [CNN]
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7. SKIRMISH AT INDIA-PAKISTAN BORDER LEAVES ONE DEAD
Indian and Pakistani troops have clashed in the disputed region of Kashmir, leaving one soldier dead and another injured. Pakistan said Indian troops had raided a military post in the Haji Pir sector of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, killing the soldier and injuring the other. An Indian army spokesman said it had responded to a "ceasefire violation" but did not cross the Line of Control. Kashmir is claimed by both nations in its entirety and has been a combative issue between them for more than 60 years. Exchanges between the two countries are not uncommon but rarely result in fatalities. There has been a ceasefire in Kashmir sine 2003. [BBC]
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8. REPORT: LANCE ARMSTRONG CONSIDERED CONFESSING TO DOPING
According to The New York Times, representatives of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong met with U.S Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart last month to discuss the possibility of Armstrong confessing to doping during his time as the world's premier Tour de France cyclist, a race he won seven times. Armstrong was stripped of those wins and banned from cycling for life when the agency released more than 1,000 pages of evidence in October laying out the case that Armstrong had doped and had been a part of a sophisticated doping scheme on his cycling teams. According to unnamed sources, Armstrong's team orchestrated the meeting with Tygart to guage whether a confession would mitigate the athlete's ban from Olympic sports because Armstrong reportedly wants to compete in triathlon events and running events that are sanctioned by organizations that follow USADA rules. Armstrong's lawyer, however, said that talks with Tygart are not on the table. Tygart declined to comment on the report. [New York Times]
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9. MANDELA RECOVERS FROM SURGERY, LUNG INFECTION
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, 94, has recovered from a lung infection and a surgery to remove gallstones that kept him in a hospital for nearly three weeks. "President Mandela has made steady progress and clinically, he continues to improve," the Office of the Presidency said in a statement. Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. [Reuters
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10. BLUEFIN TUNA SELLS FOR RECORD $1.76 MILLION IN TOKYO
A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction Saturday, nearly three times the previous high set last year — even as environmentalists warn that populations of the fish are being depleted worldwide amid strong demand for sushi. The fish's tender pink and red meat is prized for sushi and sashimi. Japanese eat 80 percent of the bluefin tuna caught worldwide, and much of the global catch is shipped to Japan for consumption. [Associated Press]

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