Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 1, 2018

North Korea's Kim Jong Un says he's "open to dialogue," revelers welcome 2018 with fireworks and prayers, and more

1

North Korean leader says he's 'open to dialogue' with South Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a televised New Year's Day address that he is "open to dialogue" with South Korea. Kim additionally boasted that he has a nuclear button on his desk and could attack the U.S., but said he would only use the weapons if threatened. The mixed message came after a year of escalating tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests. Kim called his country "a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power," and said he would consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. A spokesman for South Korea's presidential Blue House said Seoul has "always stated our willingness to talk with North Korea any time and anywhere."

2

Revelers mark start of 2018 with parties and fireworks; Trump attends Mar-a-Lago gala

People around the world welcomed the new year with fireworks, parties, and prayers. In Australia, people in boats watched fireworks over the iconic Sydney Opera House. About 100 people gathered outside the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, to honor the 39 people killed in a New Year's mass shooting a year ago. In New York City, revelers braved frigid temperatures to watch the traditional ball drop in Times Square. In Palm Beach, President Trump celebrated at an exclusive gala at his Mar-a-Lago club. Earlier, Trump tweeted: "As our Country rapidly grows stronger and smarter, I want to wish all of my friends, supporters, enemies, haters, and even the very dishonest Fake News Media, a Happy and Healthy New Year."

3

At least 10 killed in Iran protests

At least 10 people have been killed in anti-government street protests in Iran, state TV reported Monday. Tens of thousands of people have participated in the demonstrations, which spread across the nation over the weekend in the most significant challenge to the Islamic Republic's leadership since 2009 calls for reform. Demonstrators demanded Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down, expressing anger about corruption and the state of their economy. Some chanted that the government was full of thieves and should focus on creating jobs rather than pursuing costly proxy wars in Syria and other countries in a battle for regional influence against rival Saudi Arabia.

4

Gunman kills 1 deputy, wounds 6 other people in Colorado shooting

A gunman ambushed officers responding to a domestic disturbance call near Denver on Sunday, killing a Douglas County deputy, Zackari Parrish, and wounding four other law enforcement officers and two civilians. The alleged attacker, identified as former soldier and lawyer Matthew Riehl, 37, died in a shootout with SWAT team members. Riehl reportedly started posting YouTube videos in November, railing against Lone Tree Police Department officers, including one who apparently had pulled him over in a traffic stop. He posted a video the week before Christmas wearing an Iraqi Freedom Veteran cap and saying he planned to run as a libertarian for Douglas County sheriff, calling the incumbent a clown, although he didn't threaten violence.

5

Police find weapons in drunk Houston hotel guest's room above New Year's party venue

Houston police called to deal with an intoxicated hotel guest ultimately arrested the man and found a small stash of weapons and ammunition in his top floor room, several floors above the scene of a New Year's Eve celebration that was due to take place hours later. The weapons included an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun, a pistol, and ammunition. "This was not Las Vegas," said an official familiar with the case. "There was not an arsenal." The suspect, 49-year-old Russell Lawrence Ziemba, was charged with assaulting a peace officer and trespassing. The Hyatt released a statement saying "heightened measures are in place" and the hotel is fully cooperating with law enforcement.

6

Chief Justice Roberts announces review of judiciary's sexual harassment protections

Chief Justice John Roberts on Sunday announced that the judiciary system would undergo an evaluation to make sure that law clerks and other court employees were adequately protected from sexual harassment. The statement, in Roberts' 2017 State of the Judiciary Report, came after a prominent appeals court judge, Alex Kozinski, stepped down last month after The Washington Post uncovered allegations that he had subjected former law clerks and other women to sexually inappropriate conduct. "Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune," Roberts wrote.

7

Trump warns Democrat midterm gains would 'kill' wealth created since his inauguration

Heading into a midterm election year that political analysts say could bring Democrats big gains in Congress, President Trump tweeted on Sunday that sapping the power of Republicans could "kill" wealth created under his presidency. "If the Dems (Crooked Hillary) got elected, your stocks would be down 50% from values on Election Day. Now they have a great future — and just beginning!" Trump also wrote: "Why would smart voters want to put Democrats in Congress in 2018 Election when their policies will totally kill the great wealth created during the months since the Election." Despite what Trump saw as a successful year, he ended 2017 with historically low approval ratings.

8

Workers in 18 states get minimum wage hikes

Millions of people got raises on Monday as minimum wage hikes took effect in 18 states. About 4.5 million workers are getting increases ranging from 5 cents to $1 an hour. In half of the affected states minimum wages are rising automatically to keep pace with inflation, while in the other half ballot measures or new laws have called for boosting wages. The latter category includes Hawaii, California, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Eight states and the District of Columbia have passed new minimum-wage laws over the last two years as a nationwide debate has intensified over raising the minimum wage. The federal minimum has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

9

New York family of 5 among 10 Americans killed in Costa Rica plane crash

A New York family of five was among 12 people killed when a small plane crashed into a mountain shortly after taking off from a Costa Rican airport on Sunday. In addition to Bruce and Irene Steinberg of Scarsdale, New York, who were traveling with their three sons, five other Americans and two Costa Rican pilots also died when the Cessna plane crashed and burst into flames. The Steinbergs were heading to Costa Rica's capital on the last leg of a trip that included a visit to the Pacific coast region, where lush forests and tropical beaches are popular with tourists. Aviation officials could not immediately say what caused the crash.

10

Pope laments ways in which humans 'ruined' 2017

Pope Francis said in a New Year's Eve prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica that God had provided a "whole and sound" year in 2017, but "we humans in so many ways ruined and hurt it with works of death, with lies and injustices," although he said people who "cooperate silently for the common good" helped ease suffering. "The wars are the flagrant sign of this repeated and absurd pride," he said. "But so are all the little and big offenses against life, truth, brotherhood, that cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation." After the service the pope greeted well-wishers in St. Peter's Square. He also celebrates a traditional New Year's Day Mass dedicated to world peace.

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