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10 things you need to know today: January 5, 2014
The U.S. enters a deep freeze, Bangladesh elections spark violence, and more
 
People across most of the nation are bundling up for a "polar vortex" that is bringing sub-zero temperatures through the middle of the week.
People across most of the nation are bundling up for a "polar vortex" that is bringing sub-zero temperatures through the middle of the week. Darren McCollester/Getty Images

1. Cold snap brings subzero temperatures to much of U.S.
The "polar vortex" — a tunnel of cold air funneling from the North Pole to the U.S. — is plaguing much of the country, and will send temperatures plummeting to unbelievable lows Sunday. Parts of the Midwest will plunge as low as 30 degrees below zero and by Wednesday, nearly half the nation will see temperatures of zero. Even the Deep South will endure single-digit or sub-zero temperatures. [CNN]

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2. 13 dead in Bangladesh election protests
At least 13 people were killed in election-related violence in Bangladesh as police fired at protesters and opposition activists torched more than 100 polling stations Sunday during a widely boycotted national election that the international community has described as flawed. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's refusal to step down or appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election led to the boycott. [ABC News]

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3. New York to loosen marijuana laws
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans this week to announce an executive action that would allow limited use of marijuana by those with serious illnesses. This comes as other states such as Colorado, which legalized the drug for recreational use on Jan. 1, are taking increasingly liberal positions on it. Cuomo's plan will be relatively restrictive; New York is one of the nation's most punitive states for those caught using or dealing drugs. [New York Times]

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4. Israeli hardliners may reject Kerry's peace proposal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline coalition partners on Sunday threatened to topple the government if he accepts a key Palestinian territorial demand in peace talks. The warnings came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took a break after three days of talks with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. [Washington Post]

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5. al Qaeda-linked forces gain control over Fallujah, Iraq
U.S. intelligence officials are calling the situation in western Iraq "extremely dire" after forces linked with al Qaeda gained control of the town of Fallujah, the site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war. The move is another sign that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has not been able to maintain control of the country since the U.S. withdrew its troops in 2011. [NBC News]

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6. Sperling calls for benefits extension
Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, continued to make the case for extending emergency unemployment benefits a day before the Senate is expected to vote on the extension. On CNN's State of the Union, the administration's top economic adviser reiterated President Obama's comments that not extending the benefits, which expired Dec. 31, would be "cruel." [Politico]

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7. Soccer star Eusebio dies
Eusebio, the Portuguese soccer star who became an international sporting icon and was voted one of the 10 best players of all time, died of heart failure at 71 on Sunday morning. Born in Mozambique, he became affectionately known as the Black Panther and led Portugal to a third-place finish at the 1966 World Cup. [Wall Street Journal]

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8. MSNBC host apologizes for Romney grandson quip
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry offered a tearful apology on her show Saturday for insulting on-air remarks she made last week about Mitt Romney's recently adopted African-American grandson. The host said she "broke the ground rule that families are off-limits" when she quipped about a Romney family photo. [TIME]

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9. The Saints beat the Eagles in Philadelphia
The sixth-seeded New Orleans Saints bested the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night, scoring the franchise's first-ever road playoff win. The 26-24 wild-card triumph means they will go on the road again to play top-seeded Seattle Seahawks next week. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, the Colts came back from a 28-point second-half deficit to stun the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44. [USA TODAY]

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10. Bezos rescued after kidney stone in Galapagos
The Ecuadorian navy airlifted Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos out off the Galapagos Islands on a helicopter after the entrepreneur was struck by kidney stones last week. [Huffington Post]

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Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

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