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10 things you need to know today: January 31, 2013
Newtown residents want stricter gun control, 30 Rock comes to a close, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Tina Fey accepts her SAG Award on Jan. 27 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 30 Rock.
Tina Fey accepts her SAG Award on Jan. 27 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 30 Rock. Mark Davis/Getty Images

1. NEWTOWN RESIDENTS CALL FOR TIGHTER GUN LAWS
Hundreds of people attended a hearing on gun violence held in Newtown, Conn., Wednesday night, many of them demanding stricter gun laws. Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was one of the 20 children killed in the mass shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, called for honoring the dead by "turning this tragedy into the moment of transformation that benefits us all." Earlier in the day, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was nearly killed in another shooting spree two years ago, appeared before a Senate hearing and called for swift action to reduce gun violence. "Be bold," she told senators. "Be courageous." On the other side of the debate, gun-rights advocates urged lawmakers in Connecticut to protect the Second Amendment. [Associated Press]
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2. NEW YORK TIMES SAYS HACKERS IN CHINA ATTACKED ITS COMPUTERS
The New York Times reports that Chinese hackers have been infiltrating its computers for four months, breaking into email accounts of reporters in Shanghai and elsewhere. The attacks occurred as the newspaper was conducting an investigation, published in October, concluding that relatives of Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, had accumulated a multibillion-dollar business fortune. Security consultants hired by The Times have since blocked the hackers, who used techniques that have been associated with China's military. [New York Times]
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3. TENSIONS FLARE OVER ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE IN SYRIA
Hezbollah accused Israel of "barbaric aggression" on Thursday, saying it had bombed a scientific research center inside Syria. U.S. officials said Israel had indeed made a rare airstrike inside Syria, but that the target was a truck convoy believed to have been carrying anti-aircraft weapons into neighboring Lebanon to Hezbollah militants. Israel has not confirmed any strike, but one lawmaker close to hard-line Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his country's commitment to doing whatever it takes to prevent Hezbollah from getting its hands on sophisticated arms, including chemical weapons, in the chaos of Syria's civil war. [Associated Press]
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4. FACEBOOK GETS MORE MONEY FROM MOBILE USERS
Facebook reported Wednesday that its ad sales had jumped by 40 percent to $1.59 billion in the last quarter of 2012, beating expectations as it got better at making money from ads on mobile devices. "Today there is no argument Facebook is a mobile company," chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said. The world's biggest social network's profits, however, fell due to big spending on engineers and new data centers. Its stock, which has shot up by 70 percent since September, dropped by 3 percent in after-hours trading. [Wall Street Journal]
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5. MENENDEZ CALLS PROSTITUTION STORY A PARTISAN HIT
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Wednesday denied a report by a conservative website, The Daily Caller, alleging that he used prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. After the FBI raided the Florida office of a friend and donor who the website said arranged trysts for Menendez, the senator's office released a statement saying that the allegations "are manufactured by a politically motivated right-wing blog and are false." [Philadelphia Inquirer]
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6. POLICE HUNT SUSPECT IN ARIZONA OFFICE SHOOTING
Police are searching for a 70-year-old man suspected in a shooting that left one person dead and two others wounded in a Phoenix office building on Wednesday. The suspect, Arthur Douglas Harmon, had gone to the building to discuss a contract dispute with a company that had hired him to refurbish call-center cubicles. The man who died, identified by police as 48-year-old Steve Singer, was CEO of the company Harmon was suing. [CNN, Associated Press]
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7. CHILD STILL HOSTAGE IN ALABAMA BUNKER
A boy, aged 5 or 6, was still being held hostage in an underground bunker in southern Alabama early Thursday by a man who allegedly stormed his school bus, shooting and killing the driver. Police said the child was "okay," and that they had been able to get him medicine, crayons, and a coloring book he asked for during the 36-hour standoff. Sources close to the investigation identified the suspect as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a loner and survivalist who "does not trust the government." [NBC News]
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8. HAGEL HEADS INTO CONFIRMATION HEARING
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, heads to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing on Thursday. Hagel is expected to face some harsh questioning — several former Republican colleagues and pro-Israel groups oppose his nomination. The nominee is expected to emphasize his determination to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. PATTY ANDREWS, LAST SURVING ANDREWS SISTER, DIES
Patty Andrews, the lead singer and last surviving member of the World War II-era Andrews Sisters trio, died Wednesday at her home in California. She was 94. The Andrews Sisters, known for their three-part harmony in catchy hits such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, were among the most successful female recording groups in history. The trio — LaVerne (who died in 1967), Maxene (who died in 1995), and Patty Andrews — had 19 gold records and dozens of top singles from 1938 to 1951. [Columbus Dispatch]
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10. 30 ROCK SIGNS OFF
The hit NBC sitcom 30 Rock ends its seven-year run in primetime Thursday night with a one-hour final episode. The sharp-witted and absurd show about the people behind a flailing comedy-sketch show won mountains of praise for its creator and star Tina Fey. Her character, Liz Lemon, was both a striver and a slacker, and the show has been described as a contemporary Mary Tyler Moore Show. It won trophies if not ratings, making 30 Rock what NPR called "one of the best-regarded shows many TV fans have never watched." [Washington Post, NPR]

 

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