10 things you need to know today: February 6, 2015

Merkel and Hollande are introduced by the Ukrainian President.
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Presidential Press Service, Mykola Lazarenko))

1. Jordan bombs ISIS, declaring, "This is just the beginning"

Jordan, already participating in the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS, launched a barrage of airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria on Thursday in an escalation of its response to the Islamist group's killing of captured fighter pilot Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage. "This is just the beginning," the armed forces said in a statement. "We are upping the ante," Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said. The military jets flew over the slain pilot's home after the mission in a show of respect.


2. German and French leaders push Ukraine peace plan in Moscow

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are traveling to Moscow on Friday to push Russian President Vladimir Putin to get behind a new cease-fire plan for Ukraine. Merkel and Hollande met Thursday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The proposal is an alternative to one by Putin that would put parts of eastern Ukraine under the control of pro-Russian separatists. The U.S. is putting pressure on Russia, too, Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to Kiev, Ukraine's capital.

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3. U.S. presses Cuba to allow embassy to open in Havana by April

The Obama administration is pressuring Cuba to follow through with an agreement to restore diplomatic ties and allow the U.S. to reopen an embassy in Havana by April, U.S. officials told Reuters. Cuba has made several demands, including that it first be removed from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism. The showdown over how to begin rebuilding ties has exposed deep mistrust held over from the Cold War, and has complicated efforts to bring the historic deal, announced in December, to fruition.


4. Obama cautions against all religious extremism, angering Christian critics

President Obama spoke out against religious intolerance at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, saying that, at a time of fear over Islamist terrorism, Christians should remember that their faith also has been twisted to justify "terrible deeds," such as the Crusades and the Inquisition. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ," he said. Some Republicans called the remarks offensive to Christians. A Southern Baptist leader said Obama was making "a wrongheaded moral comparison."

The Washington Post

5. RadioShack files for bankruptcy protection

Aging electronics chain RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday after struggling for years to reinvent itself in the digital age. The company said it would sell some 2,400 stores as part of an effort to turn itself around. The 94-year-old company tried to rebrand, most notably with a self-deprecating 2014 Super Bowl commercial that poked fun at the company's dated image, but its losses continued growing, making bankruptcy the only option.


6. Jury pool gathers for trial of man accused of killing American Sniper Chris Kyle

Jury selection began Thursday in the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the Iraq War veteran accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in 2013. Routh allegedly shot and killed Kyle and Chad Littlefield, a friend of Kyle's, during an outing at a shooting range. Kyle wrote a memoir and inspired the Oscar-nominated box-office smash American Sniper, a film about his life and military career. Kyle and Littlefield reportedly took Routh to the range to help him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Washington Post

7. Sony studio chief Amy Pascal steps down after hacking scandal

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal has resigned in the wake of a hacking attack that exposed embarrassing internal emails, the company announced Thursday. Pascal had been with Sony since 1996, and was often cited as the top female executive in the film industry. President Obama blamed the hacking scandal on North Korea, and Pascal was the one who green-lighted The Interview, a comedy about a plot to kill Kim Jong Un that angered Pyongyang.

The New York Times

8. Minnesota stops accepting TurboTax returns

The Minnesota Department of Revenue will no longer accept tax returns filed through TurboTax due to concerns about fraud, the department announced in a conference call Thursday. Two residents told the state that they logged into TurboTax and saw that a return had already been filed in their name. Investigators examined other returns filed using TurboTax, and found "potentially fraudulent activity." The department is checking 2,000 returns already filed using TurboTax, one of the most commonly used programs for individual income tax filing.

CBS Minnesota

9. Gary Glitter convicted of child molestation

A London court on Thursday found British glam rocker Gary Glitter guilty of committing sexual offenses against three children in the 1970s. Glitter, born Paul Francis Gadd, was convicted of sexual intercourse with a girl under age 13, attempted rape, and four counts of indecent assault. Glitter, most famous for his 1972 hit Rock and Roll (Part2), was convicted in Vietnam of molesting two girls, ages 10 and 11, and served nearly three years in prison. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced on the new convictions on Feb. 27.

Los Angeles Times

10. A new injury heightens doubt on Tiger Woods' comeback potential

Tiger Woods dropped out of the Farmers Insurance Open on the 12th hole on Thursday, fueling doubts about his chances of returning to championship form. Woods said a week ago that he felt great heading into the tournament, but his lower back gave out on him. Woods was 2 over par through 11 holes at Torrey Pines in California, then appeared to tell his caddy, "I'm done." He was then driven off the course in a cart. Woods has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. He was hoping to use this tournament to prepare for the Masters in April.

USA Today

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Harold Maass

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 Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.