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10 things you need to know today: January 6, 2014
Senators launch a fight over extending unemployment benefits, the Midwest faces a dangerous cold blast, and more
Brrrrrr!
Brrrrrr! (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

1. Senate launches a fight over extending unemployment benefits
Back from a two-week holiday, the Senate on Monday is set to start the year off by clashing over President Obama's push to renew unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people. The Democrat-led Senate also plans to hold a vote soon to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 over three years, although it's unclear whether Democrats have the 60 votes necessary to beat GOP filibusters on either bill. [Reuters]
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2. Cold front hits Midwest with potentially life-threatening temperatures
Gusty winds are combining with the coldest weather in two decades to produce a potentially life-threatening wind chill. Temperatures could dip as low as 60 degrees below zero in the northern and central U.S., the National Weather Service warned on Sunday. The potentially deadly freeze from a "polar vortex" — a tunnel of arctic air — has hit the Midwest and will push eastward during the week. The weather forced airlines to cancel 2,500 flights on Sunday. [Reuters, Bloomberg]
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3. Liz Cheney reportedly plans to quit Wyoming Senate race
Liz Cheney is dropping out of the Wyoming Senate primary, ending an upstart bid to unseat GOP incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi that has divided the Republican Party. Cheney, the eldest daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, reportedly plans to officially announce her decision as early as Monday. Her father represented Wyoming for five terms, but critics labeled Liz Cheney, 47, a carpetbagger because she hadn't moved to the state until 2012. [New York Times]
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4. One dies in Aspen plane crash
One person was killed and two others injured on Sunday when a private jet crashed at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport on Sunday afternoon. Comedian Kevin Nealon was at the airport, and tweeted: "Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing." The plane, a Canadair Challenger 601 corporate jet from Mexico, had departed from Tucson, Ariz., with three crew members on board. [Aspen Times]
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5. Apple buys SnappyCam
Apple has reportedly purchased SnappyLabs, maker of an app called SnappyCam that allows smartphone users to take photos in rapid succession by pressing an on-screen shutter button. The $1 app also lets people modify how their built-in camera takes pictures. The iPhone and iPad maker, facing criticism for waning in-house innovation, has recently acquired several smaller companies giving it tools to fight increasing competition. [USA Today]
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6. Rand Paul and Chuck Schumer spar over Snowden
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that Edward Snowden does not deserve the death penalty or life in prison for illegally leaking classified National Security Agency documents. The New York Times has said the U.S. should cut a plea deal with Snowden, now sheltered in Russia, and Paul agreed. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) countered by saying Snowden should face trial if he thinks he stands for America's "grand tradition of civil disobedience." [MSNBC]
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7. Steven Seagal says he might run for Arizona governor
Action-film actor Steven Seagal told an Arizona television station that he is considering a run for governor. The 61-year-old martial-arts expert made the remark during an interview about his new reality series Steven Seagal—Lawman: Maricopa County, in which he became a member of tough-guy Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse of 3,000 unpaid civilians trying to increase border security. [Associated Press]
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8. Pope Francis plans a visit to the Holy Land
Pope Francis announced Sunday that he plans to make his first official visit to the Holy Land in May. It will be the second foreign trip of Francis's papacy — he went to Brazil for World Youth Day in 2013. Francis said the main purpose of his tour will be to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Atengora, then–spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians. [CNN]
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9. Rodman returns to North Korea for dictator's birthday
Dennis Rodman continued his "basketball diplomacy" mission in North Korea on Monday, returning to the Hermit Kingdom with a dozen fellow ex-NBA stars, street ball players, and Harlem Globetrotters in order to play an exhibition game Wednesday to mark the birthday of the repressive country's leader, Kim Jong Un. Rodman has struck up an unlikely friendship with Kim, and promised to "put on a good show for him for his birthday." [USA Today]
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10. Frozen returns to No. 1 at the box office
In its seventh week of release, Disney's animated film Frozen returned to the top spot at the box office over the weekend, taking in $20.7 million and knocking The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug from first to third place. It's rare for a movie to return to No. 1 so long after its debut. The last film to accomplish the feat after seven weeks was The Passion of the Christ in 2004. [BBC News]

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Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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