RSS
10 things you need to know today: January 20, 2013
Hostages die in an Algeria siege, Obama and Biden officially begin their second term, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
President Obama and Vice President Biden participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
President Obama and Vice President Biden participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Getty Images

1. AT LEAST 23 HOSTAGES KILLED IN ALGERIA SIEGE
The Algerian army carried out a final assault on Saturday in the four-day crisis that began when Islamist militants took over a gas field and captured numerous hostages. Most of the kidnappers were killed, as were at least 23 hostages, Algerian officials said. A handful of the jihadists are thought to be hiding out somewhere in the sprawling complex. Details of the standoff remained murky late Saturday, including which hostages died. Most of the hundreds of workers at the plant, who come from about 25 countries, appear to have escaped sometime during the four days. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who appeared at a news conference in London, said he did not yet have reliable information about the fate of the Americans at the facility. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. OBAMA SWORN IN AT WHITE HOUSE
President Obama was sworn in at a private ceremony at the White House on Sunday, in a ritual that he will repeat Monday in the formal inauguration event. (According to the Constitution, the president's term must begin on Jan. 20.) Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in at an early morning event at his residence. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to swear in a vice president when she performed the ceremony. Obama and Biden also visited Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the nation's fallen soldiers. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. THOUSANDS RALLY IN 'GUNS ACROSS AMERICA' EVENT
Thousands of gun-rights advocates rallied in state capitols across the country on Saturday in opposition to President Obama's sweeping gun-control proposals. The rallies came on a day in which accidental shootings at gun shows in North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio left five people hurt. The wounded included two bystanders hit by shotgun pellets after a 12-gauge shotgun discharged at a show in Raleigh, N.C., as the owner unzipped its case for a law officer to check at a security entrance. Obama made his gun-control proposals — including an assault-weapons ban and a limit on gun magazines — in response to the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 first-graders, six school employees, and the suspected shooter's mother dead. [Associated Press
………………………………………………………………………………

4. ISLAMISTS FLEE KEY MALIAN TOWN AFTER FRENCH AIRSTRIKES
The Malian military announced Saturday that the government is now in control of the city of Diabaly after days of French airstrikes aimed at ridding the country of Islamist rebels. Diabaly, a town of 35,000 that is home to an important military camp, is free of rebels, according to video obtained Sunday. The video marks the first pictures to emerge from the area, which was taken over by al-Qaeda-linked militants at the beginning of the week. [Associated Press
………………………………………………………………………………

5. BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER STAN MUSIAL DIES
Hall of Famer and longtime St. Louis Cardinal Stan Musial died Saturday at 92. Musial — who earned the nickname "The Man" after a St. Louis reporter overheard tormented Dodgers fans saying "Here comes The Man" when referring to Musial — won three MVP awards, finished second four other times, and was selected for 24 All-Star Games. Of his 3,630 career hits, 1,815 came at home and 1,815 were on the road. When he retired after the 1963 season, Musial held or shared 17 major-league records and 29 NL records. Musial was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 1969, and he also was the Cardinals' general manager in 1967 when they won the World Series. On Saturday, legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver also died at age 82. With his colorful explosions against umpires — which got him ejected from games 98 times — Weaver "emerged as a fiery and funny genius who changed the way the baseball is played and watched." [Kansas City Star, Wall Street Journal]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. U.N. REPORT ALLEGES WIDESPREAD TORTURE IN AFGHANISTAN 
A United Nations report set to be released Monday alleges that widespread torture and abuse of detainees persists at Afghan police and intelligence facilities. The issue of detentions has been highly charged in Afghanistan, with President Hamid Karzai demanding that all detainees held by the U.S. be immediately handed over to Afghan forces. After a recent meeting between Karzai and President Obama in Washington, Karzai said the U.S. would immediately hand over the Afghans held at Bagram air base. But the U.N. report casts doubt on such plans, and credible allegations of torture could make such transfers illegal under U.S. law. The Afghan government rebutted some of these allegations, and promised to investigate others, in a lengthy response attached to the document, people who viewed the document say. [Wall Street Journal]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. CURIOSITY ROVER FINDS POSSIBLE SIGN OF WATER FLOW ON MARS
The Mars Curiosity rover has found the strongest evidence yet that its Red Planet landing site, called Yellowknife Bay, was once a wetter, warmer place. The rover uncovered white veins of minerals coursing through rocks; the composition of the minerals indicates that they precipitated out of water flowing through fissures in the rock, while large grains within the rocks themselves are rounded, suggesting that water might have dulled their sharp edges. Scientists have dubbed Yellowknife Bay "a jackpot unit." [Christian Science Monitor
………………………………………………………………………………

8. JUSTIN BIEBER'S MOM PRODUCES ANTI-ABORTION FILM
Pattie Mallette, the mother of singer Justin Bieber, is an executive producer on the short film Crescendo, which is being described by some reports as an anti-abortion movie. The film is slated for release on Feb. 28 and aims to raise $10 million for pregnancy centers. Mallette has written about the addiction and abuse that led to her pregnancy, and she released a statement saying that she hopes the movie will "encourage young women all over the world, just like me, to let them know that there is a place to go, people who will take care of you and a safe home to live in if you are pregnant and think you have nowhere else to turn." [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. MANTI TE'O LOOKS TOWARD THE NFL DRAFT AFTER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o granted ESPN an exclusive interview on Friday night to reiterate that he had no involvement in the hoax that produced his fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who became the center of numerous media reports when she was said to have died of leukemia in September. Te'o, who is in Florida preparing for the NFL combine — physical tests and interviews ahead of the NFL draft in April — said that he was tricked by friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo into believing that Kekua existed. Te'o admitted that he lied about having met Kekua so people wouldn't think that he was "crazy" for dating someone he had never met. Te'o showed ESPN Twitter direct messages from Tuiasosopo, under the Twitter handle of Kekua, confessing to the hoax. Much speculation has surrounded Te'o's NFL prospects and his ability to perform under pressure because his team lost the Jan. 7 BCS Championship game against Alabama 42-14, just days after Te'o reportedly learned of the hoax. [ESPN
………………………………………………………………………………

10. ORIGINAL BATMOBILE SELLS FOR $4.2 MILLION
The midnight-black and fluorescent-red-pinstriped Batmobile from the iconic 1960s TV show starring Adam West sold for $4.2 million at an Arizona auction on Saturday. Car customizer George Barris, who first bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura for $1, transformed it into the Batmobile in 15 days with a budget of $15,000. The car's buyer, Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company executive, said he has eyed the car since he was a kid. [Los Angeles Times]

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week