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January 18, 2014

10 Things to Know: This Week’s Takeaways

Looking back at the stories to remember from the past week:

1. OBAMA PROPOSES NEW LIMITS ON NSA PHONE COLLECTIONS

Tightening the reins on the nation’s sweeping surveillance operations, President Barack Obama on Friday limited access to phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans and moved to eventually strip the massive data collection out of the government’s hands. The president also pledged to curb spying on friendly allied leaders and extend some privacy protections to foreign citizens.

2. POPE DEFROCKED 400 PRIESTS IN 2 YEARS, DOCUMENT OBTAINED BY AP SHOWS

Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children, a document obtained Friday by The Associated Press shows. The document, compiled to help the Vatican defend itself before a U.N. committee this week, was pulled from Vatican reports that show a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline pedophiles.

3. SENATE REPORT BLAMES SYSTEMIC FAULTS IN SECURITY FOR BENGHAZI ATTACKS

A stinging report by the Senate intelligence committee released on Wednesday concluded that the deadly assault on the diplomatic compound that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented. The account spreads blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seem obvious warning signs.

4. OLDER ADULTS, MORE EXPENSIVE TO COVER, OUTNUMBER YOUNG PEOPLE IN HEALTH CARE SIGNUPS

It’s an older, costlier crowd that’s signing up so far for health insurance under Obama’s law, according to government figures released Monday. Halfway through the six-month enrollment period, just one in four new adult enrollees are between ages 18 and 34, the healthy, younger Americans who will be needed to keep premiums from rising.

5. OBAMA SIGNS $1.1 TRILLION GOVERNMENT SPENDING BILL

Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Friday that funds the federal government through the end of September. The compromise package passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly this week after tea party critics chastened by October’s partial shutdown mounted only a faint protest. The measure calls for less spending than Obama proposed but more than Republicans sought.

6. CONVICTED KILLER IN OHIO TAKES 26 MINUTES TO DIE FROM LETHAL INJECTION

A convicted killer took 26 minutes to die and gasped repeatedly during an execution carried out Thursday with a combination of drugs never before tried in the U.S. The longest execution in Ohio since the state resumed capital punishment 15 years ago, the case has led to cries of cruel and unusual punishment and demands for a moratorium on executions in Ohio.

7. OVERWHELMING MAJORITY VOTED ‘YES’ IN EGYPT’S CONSTITUTION REFEREDUM, OFFICAL SAYS

An overwhelming majority — more than 90 percent— of Egyptians who voted on the country’s new constitution backed the draft charter, unofficial results of the two-day balloting showed. Official results were to be released Saturday. The interim government is looking not only for a strong “yes” majority but also a large turnout to win undisputed legitimacy and perhaps a popular mandate for the military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, to run for president later this year.

8. IRAN AGREES TO OPEN NUCLEAR PROGRAM TO INSPECTION BEGINNING MONDAY

Iran agreed to limit uranium enrichment and open its nuclear program to daily inspection by international experts beginning Monday, starting the clock on a six-month deadline for a final nuclear agreement. Under the the plan, announced Sunday, Iran will get some relief on economic sanctions from the West.

9. “GRAVITY,” “AMERICAN HUSTLE” AND “THREE YEARS A SLAVE” LEAD OSCAR NOMINATIONS

The Academy Awards look to be a three-horse race following Thursday’s Oscar nominations. The 3-D space odyssey “Gravity” and the con-artist caper “American Hustle” led with 10 nominations each, followed by the harrowing historical epic “12 Years a Slave” with nine. The most notable omission was Tom Hanks, whose lead performance in “Captain Phillips” was widely considered a shoo-in.

10. YANKEES ALEX RODRIGUEZ SUES MLB, UNION TO TRY TO OVERTURN DRUG BAN

Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and its players’ union Monday, seeking to overturn a season-long suspension imposed by an arbitrator who ruled there was “clear and convincing evidence” the New York Yankees star used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the sport’s drug investigation.

 

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