RSS
10 things you need to know today: January 23, 2013
The GOP offers a temporary debt-ceiling fix, Sloane Stephens beats Serena Williams, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Sloane Stephens celebrates winning her Jan. 23 quarterfinal match against Serena Williams during day 10 of the Australian Open.
Sloane Stephens celebrates winning her Jan. 23 quarterfinal match against Serena Williams during day 10 of the Australian Open. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

1. GOP PUSHES TEMPORARY DEBT-CEILING FIX
House Republican leaders are preparing to hold a vote Wednesday on a creative plan to defuse a potential debt crisis by suspending Congress' enforcement of the federal government's debt ceiling until May 18. The move won't resolve the wrangling over spending cuts and other ways to reduce the deficit, but it will lift the threat that the government will default on its debts or run out of money to pay its bills. House Republicans believe they have the votes to pass the legislation, and President Obama has signaled that he will not oppose it, even though he has argued that merely putting off a potential showdown hurts the economy because it allows the potential for a fiscal crisis to drag on. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. ISRAELI VOTE WEAKENS NETANYAHU
Benjamin Netanyahu came out of Israel's Tuesday elections weakened but in position to serve a third term as prime minister. The combined ticket of his Likud party and the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction lost a quarter of its seats in parliament, while the centrist party Yesh Atid made a surprising surge. Netanyahu may be forced to join forces with the centrists, whose demands include restarting negotiations with the Palestinians. Some analysts believe that a more centrist government could improve relations with the U.S. and give Netanyahu more flexibility in working with Palestinian leaders. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. GEN. ALLEN CLEARED IN EMAIL CASE
The Pentagon has cleared Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, of any impropriety in connection with emails he exchanged with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. The communication was discovered during the investigation of former CIA director David Petraeus' extramarital affair, which caused Petraeus to resign. Kelley triggered the inquiry when she complained to an FBI agent about threatening emails she received from Petraeus' mistress, his biographer Paula Broadwell. Kelley this week broke a three-month silence, telling The Daily Beast the emails left her "terrified" and urging Congress to enact new laws to protect privacy in the digital age. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. TEXAS COLLEGE LOCKED DOWN DURING SHOOTING
Three people were hospitalized Tuesday after a shooting at Lone Star College north of Houston. The school was placed on lockdown, then evacuated after gunfire broke out near the campus library. One of the people wounded was reportedly a maintenance worker caught in the crossfire between two gunmen, one of whom had a student ID. Authorities said late Tuesday that one of the people hospitalized, Carlton Berry, 22, had been charged with aggravated assault in the incident. [ABC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. CAMERON PROMISES VOTE ON EU MEMBERSHIP
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday promised Britons a referendum within five years on membership in the European Union if he wins the next election. Cameron made a spirited defense of continued membership in a more streamlined EU based on a core single market. "It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics," he said. "I say to the British people: This will be your decision." [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. NORTH KOREA DEFIES U.N. WARNING
North Korea vowed to strengthen its military and nuclear capabilities following a Tuesday vote at the United Nations Security Council to expand sanctions against the isolated communist nation. The Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea's December rocket launch, which prompted the vote. Glyn Davies, Washington's special envoy to Pyongyang, urged its leaders to avoid further provocations. "If they can... begin to take concrete steps to indicate their interests in returning to diplomacy, they may find willing partners in that process." [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. TEEN ALLEGEDLY PLANNED SHOOTING SPREE
Investigators said Tuesday that a teenager accused of killing his parents and three siblings in their New Mexico home had planned to go on a shooting spree at a Walmart and die in a shoot-out with police. Prosecutors plan to charge the suspect, Nehemiah Griego, 15, as an adult in the weekend killings. Griego allegedly told investigators he was "frustrated with his mother," Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston told reporters. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. THAI EDITOR JAILED FOR INSULTING KING
A former Thai magazine editor was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for insulting the royal family. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of publishing articles defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010. The offending articles, printed in a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, criticized a fictional character representing the king in a country where discussing the role of the monarchy is forbidden. The judge said the accused "had a duty to check the facts" but didn't. "He knew the content defamed the monarchy but allowed their publication anyway," the judge said. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. TEEN SLOANE STEPHENS DEFEATS SERENA WILLIAMS
Nineteen-year-old Sloane Stephens upset her childhood idol and fellow American Serena Williams to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open tennis tournament on Wednesday. The three-set victory — 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 — was the biggest win of Stephens' career, making her an instant star. Her follower count on Twitter shot from 15,000 to more than 40,000 as she received congratulatory tweets from celebrities, including former basketball great Shaquille O'Neal, who wrote: "When you defeat a legend, you become a legend. Keep it going." [Wall Street Journal]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. BEYONCE LIP SYNCH REPORT ANGERS FANS
Fans who were awed by Beyoncé's soulful rendition of the national anthem at President Obama's inauguration went into an uproar on Tuesday following reports that the singer had lip-synched it. A British newspaper reported that the sultry diva had decided at the last minute to use a studio version she recorded rather than singing live, and a leader of the U.S. Marine Band backed up the claim. "Apparently Beyoncé’s inauguration performance was as dope as Lance Armstrong biking through the French Alps," one disappointed fan tweeted. [New York Daily News]

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week