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10 things you need to know today: January 4, 2014
Extreme weather rocks the U.S., protests roil Cambodia, and more
A Cambodian protest for higher wages escalated on Friday.
A Cambodian protest for higher wages escalated on Friday. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

1. 'Polar vortex' could bring record-low temperatures to U.S.
Just as much of the northeastern United States digs out of a snowstorm, new dire weather warnings have arrived. Starting Sunday, a "polar vortex" — essentially, a tunnel of cold air funneling from the North Pole to the U.S. — could send temperatures in much of the Midwest to astounding record lows. Predictions include 25 below zero in Fargo, N.D., and 15 below in Chicago. [AP]

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2. Obama administration proposes new gun control rules
On Friday, the Obama administration announced two new gun control ideas. The proposed regulations seek to provide more transparency about mental health restrictions, and strengthen the federal background check system. [Reuters]

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3. Cambodian police kill four protesters
A demonstration for garment workers protesting minimum wage in Cambodia turned bloody Friday, when police opened fire on the crowd. According to local police, four were killed after the crowd began burning tires and throwing objects. [New York Times]

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4. Facebook sued for allegedly scanning private messages
Two Northern California men filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network scans private messages and uses the content for its own financial gain. Facebook says the claims are "without merit." [Fast Company]

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5. U.S. evacuates Americans from embassy in South Sudan
The State Department began evacuating staff from the U.S. embassy in South Sudan because of a "deteriorating security situation." As Marie Harf, the embassy's deputy spokeswoman told The Guardian, "We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel." [The Guardian]

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6. Israel successfully tests missile interceptor
The upgraded Arrow missile interceptor is fully operational, advancing a U.S.-backed defense plan against threats Israel sees from Hezbollah guerrillas. Israel predicts the program, which includes kamikaze satellites that track and destroy ballistic missiles, could be ready by next year. [Reuters]

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7. Ford creates solar-powered concept car
The auto giant will unveil its C-MAX Solar Energi vehicle next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car's roof is covered in solar panels that boost the impact of the sun's rays by a factor of eight. [Fast Company]

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8. Ireland legalizes some abortions under extreme circumstances
Ireland has a stringent anti-abortion legacy, but the nation recently signed into law The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. The legislation allows for abortions when the doctors deem there is a serious risk to the mother's life. [Jezebel]

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9. Libya releases two Americans held in Benghazi
Two Americans detained by the Libyan army were released Friday. Few westerners remain in Libya sine the violence in September 2012, as conditions in the country remain volatile. [The Guardian]

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10. Phil Everly dies at 74
Phil Everly, one half of the famed Everly Brothers duo, died Friday at age 74. The Everly Brothers' hits included "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love," and helped inspire both The Beatles and Bob Dylan. [AP]

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Monica Nickelsburg is a digital producer for TheWeek.com. She has previously worked for Transient Pictures, The Daily Beast, NBC, and Forbes. Follow her @mnickelsburg.

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