RSS
10 things you need to know today: January 2, 2014
Militants attack Somali hotel, de Blasio is sworn in as mayor, and more
Bill swears in Bill.
Bill swears in Bill. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

1. Attack on Somali hotel leaves at least six dead
Two car bombs and an attack by armed militants left six people dead and several more wounded at the Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu. Police say they were able to stop the assailants from entering the hotel, which is often used by foreign visitors and government officials. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. New NYC mayor de Blasio vows to tackle income inequality
New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, took office vowing to continue the fight against income inequality. "That mission — our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation — it begins today," he said after being sworn into office Wednesday by former President Bill Clinton. [Christian Science Monitor]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. Harry Reid promises vote on long-term unemployment benefits
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will vote on a bill that aims to extend long-term unemployment benefits when the holiday recess ends on January 6. Reid expressed optimism that the bill will pass the Senate with bipartisan support, but declined to speculate whether he thought the legislation would make it through the House. [FOX]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. Massive fire breaks out in Minneapolis
A huge fire broke out in south Minneapolis, destroying a 10-unit apartment building and injuring at least 14 people. Thick gray smoke could be seen rising from the building, which also housed a small grocery store. It took 50 firefighters to quell the blaze in the freezing weather. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. U.N. releases 2013 Iraq death toll number
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq released its estimate for the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq in 2013. According to the U.N., 7,818 people were killed and 17,981 were injured. It was the most dangerous year since 2008, when 6,787 died and 20,178 were injured. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. Hawaii Senate primary causing tension among Democrats
A bitter feud is dividing Democrats in Hawaii between those who support Sen. Brian Schatz, the politician appointed to fill the late Daniel Inouye's seat, and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Inouye's protégée. Inouye's deathbed wish was that Hanabusa be chosen to succeed him, but the governor appointed Schatz instead. The primary is scheduled for August 9. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. Historic document tied to American independence discovered
It had been misfiled in a museum's attic for more than four decades, but an archivist at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Manhattan found a letter from the Continental Congress after going through some old documents that were to be discarded. The letter was a draft of a plea for reconciliation sent to Britain in 1775. Analysts say the draft was written by Robert R. Livingston, a New Yorker who helped draft the Declaration of Independence a year later. The document is expected to be auctioned off later this month. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. Kim Jong Un defends uncle's execution
In a New Year's address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un defended the decision to have his uncle executed in December. The uncle, Jang Song Thaek, helped Kim rise to power, but Kim said the purge has brought greater unity to the country. Kim accused his uncle of trying to overthrow the government. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. Actor James Avery dies
Actor James Avery died from complications of open-heart surgery. Best known for playing Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Avery was 68. He also appeared in Dr. Dolittle 2 and License to Drive. [ABC]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. Gay couple weds during the Rose Parade
Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair became the first same-sex couple to get married at the Rose Parade. The pair was standing atop a giant wedding cake float when they exchanged "I dos." It was the first gay wedding at the Rose Parade. [CBS]

Get '10 things you need to know today' in your inbox each morning. Sign up for the email version here.

Laura Colarusso
Laura Colarusso is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She has previously written for Newsweek, The Boston Globe, the Washington Monthly and The Daily Beast.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week