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10 things you need to know today: January 14, 2013
Newtown ponders Sandy Hook's future, U.N. to discuss France's Mali offensive, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: Site of a massacre.
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: Site of a massacre. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

1. NEWTOWN RESIDENTS LAUNCH DEBATE OVER SCHOOL'S FUTURE
Parents and other Newtown, Conn., residents gathered at a local high school on Sunday for the first in a series of meetings to discuss the future of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults on Dec. 14. The school remains a crime scene, with access blocked by barricades. Some parents say they hope students, now attending classes in a repurposed former middle school, will eventually be able to return. Others say the school should be torn down. "I cannot ask my son or any of the people at the school to ever walk back into that building," said Stephanie Carson, whose son was at the school that day, "and he has asked to never go back." [Associated Press]
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2. SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS MALI CONFLICT
The United Nations Security Council scheduled a meeting on Monday to discuss France's military intervention in Mali against Islamist rebels who have taken control of part of the West African nation. French jets bombed the rebels for the third straight day Sunday as the Islamists pressed south from their northern stronghold. France deployed its forces at the request of Mali's government, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said French troops would only be directly involved in the fighting for "a matter of weeks." [Voice of America]
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3. NRA PREDICTS CONGRESS WILL REJECT ASSAULT RIFLE BAN
As Vice President Joe Biden prepares to give President Obama a proposal on reducing gun violence on Tuesday, skeptical politicians and gun-rights advocates said Sunday that any effort to pass new gun-control laws will fail in Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a gun owner, said an attempt to revive a nationwide ban on assault weapons like the one Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre would "not go anywhere." National Rifle Association President David Keene predicted that Obama would not be able to muster the votes to place new limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, either. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley this weekend became the latest Democratic governor to begin pushing for strict gun-control measures, including an assault rifle ban, at the state level. [Reuters]
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4. COLIN POWELL PREDICTS HAGEL WILL BE CONFIRMED
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday predicted that former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel would be confirmed as President Obama's next Defense secretary. "I think he's ultimately superbly qualified," Powell said on NBC News' Meet the Press, rejecting concerns from critics about Hagel's record on Iraq, Iran, and Israel. "I think he will do a great job as secretary of defense." Leading Republican senators, however, said Hagel should expect tough confirmation hearings. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CBS News' Face The Nation that there are "legitimate questions" Hagel will have to answer. [Washington Post]
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5. KARZAI SAYS NO DECISION ON IMMUNITY FOR U.S. TROOPS UNTIL YEAR'S END
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, back home after meeting with President Obama at the White House last week, said Monday that it would take all year to hammer out an agreement on immunity for any American troops who stay in Afghanistan after the planned U.S. withdrawal from the country at the end of 2014. The Obama administration is considering leaving behind a residual force of 3,000 to 9,000 soldiers to back up and continue training Afghan security forces, although last week administration officials said they weren't ruling out a complete pullout. The issue of immunity from prosecution under Afghan law is a major sticking point, and the first round of negotiations ended without a deal. [Reuters]
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6. APPLE SLASHES ORDERS FOR IPHONE PARTS
Apple has sharply cut its orders for iPhone 5 components as demand for the latest version of the smartphone proved weaker than expected, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. People familiar with the situation said Apple had notified suppliers last month that it would be buying half as many iPhone 5 screens as originally planned in the first three months of 2013. The move comes as Samsung Electronics and other rivals making smartphones using Google's Android operating system cut into Apple's dominance. [Wall Street Journal]
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7. INDIA, PAKISTAN COMMANDERS DISCUSS KASHMIR ATTACKS
Indian and Pakistani military commanders held a meeting at the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region in an attempt to defuse tensions in the wake of last week's killing of two Indian soldiers, but the talks lasted just 15 minutes with no breakthrough, India's The Hindu reported. India's army chief, Gen. Bikram Singh, said the attack was premeditated and warned that India reserved the right to retaliate at "time and place of its choice." Pakistan says it had only responded to an earlier attack on its troops by Indian forces. [The Hindu, Associated Press]
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8. ORACLE DESIGNS QUICK FIX FOR JAVA FLAW
Oracle released a hastily designed fix for Java on Sunday after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an urgent advisory telling users to disable the web software. Analysts say a flaw, which could affect 850 million PCs, could allow attackers to use malicious Java applets to install other apps, opening users to identity theft and other potential dangers. The update to Java 7, the latest version and the only affected, changes the default security settings so that unsigned Java applets will request permission before running, instead of starting automatically. [Slashgear]
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9. MIT LOOKS INTO ITS ROLE IN AARON SWARTZ CASE
Two days after the suicide of Reddit tech pioneer Aaron Swartz, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said the university would launch an internal investigation into its role in prosecuting Swartz for stealing 4.8 million scholarly journal articles and documents from a subscription-only archive. The charges were eventually dropped and the archives opened to the public, but Swartz' family said his "exceptionally harsh" treatment by Massachusetts prosecutors and MIT — including the threat of a 30-year prison sentence — affected Swartz and "contributed to his death." [Chicago Sun-Times]
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10. AFFLECK WINS A SURPRISE GOLDEN GLOBE
Les Miserables took the most trophies at the Golden Globes on Sunday — with three — but Argo was the night's big surprise, winning awards for best drama and for Ben Affleck as director. In an energetic speech, Affleck lavished praise on the other nominees presenter Halle Berry had read off: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained. "Look, I don't care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life," Affleck said. [Newsday]

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