(Jan. 22) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(Jan. 22) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:40 am

1. Bob McDonnell, ex-governor of Virginia, charged with corruption

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday on federal corruption charges. The McDonnells are being accused of accepting more than $135,000 in loans and gifts, including trips and fancy clothes, from political donor and dietary supplement executive Jonnie Williams Sr., former CEO of Star Scientific. McDonnell repaid Williams more than $120,000, but said Tuesday the charges against him were false. [USA Today, The Washington Post]

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2. Same-sex couples challenge Florida gay marriage ban

Six gay couples filed a lawsuit Tuesday calling Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The couples say they deserve the security marriage would provide their families. The Florida Family Policy Council vowed to "spend as much time and money as necessary" to preserve the ban, which was backed by 62 percent of Florida voters. Also Tuesday, the ACLU sued Utah for suspending benefits for newly married same-sex couples while the state appeals a ruling overturning its gay marriage ban. [Associated Press]

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3. Gunman kills one on Purdue campus

One person was shot to death at Purdue University in Indiana on Tuesday. Investigators believe the attacker was targeting just the victim when he opened fire in a classroom in the basement of the electrical engineering building. The shooter immediately left the building, but police quickly arrested a suspect with no struggle. "It's just a tragic situation," said Purdue University Police Chief John Cox. [Reuters]

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4. Syria lashes out as peace meetings open

Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, accused his country's Arab neighbors of funding terrorism within its borders on Wednesday, opening long-awaited peace talks on a less than promising note. He also called the U.S. and other nations that support rebel groups as "interlopers." Diplomats from more than 30 nations are meeting in Switzerland ahead of what are meant to be the first significant negotiations between the Assad government and the opposition, but nobody expects a quick end to nearly three years of civil war. [The Washington Post]

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5. Northeast hit by another blast of bitter cold

A winter storm hit the Northeast with blizzard conditions, creating a mess for commuters on Wednesday, especially on the vital I-95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. The storm also forced at least 3,000 flight cancelations. As the freezing weather headed in, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick postponed his State of the Commonwealth, scheduled for Tuesday night, and sent home nonemergency state workers. Philadelphia and New York got a foot of snow or more. [Associated Press, Business Insider]

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6. Judge considers new trial for 14-year-old executed in 1944

A South Carolina judge is considering a request to grant a new trial for a 14-year-old black boy, George Stinney, who was executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls. Supporters say it's important to exonerate Stinney, the youngest person put to death in the U.S. in a century. He was charged, tried, convicted, and executed in some 80 days. Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen said that was unjustifiable, but a new trial wouldn't change anything. "What can I rectify?" she said as the hearing began. [Associated Press]

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7. Amazon might launch streaming live TV

Amazon is considering launching an online streaming service that could offer live TV in a bid to rival cable, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Amazon already offers free streaming of movies and some TV shows for subscribers to its Prime service, which offers free shipping for an annual fee. Amazon isn't saying how likely it is to go through with such a project, but other companies, including Sony and Google, are considering similar experiments. Amazon is also developing a streaming set-top box similar to a Roku player. [The Wall Street Journal]

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8. Thai government declares state of emergency

The embattled government of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra declared a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok on Wednesday. The measure was aimed at halting an escalation of violence as anti-government rallies continue to grip the city. One person has been killed and dozens injured since Friday. The emergency decree, however, cast doubt on snap elections Yingluck called for Feb. 2 as she hoped to renew her government's popular mandate. [TIME]

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9. Pollution from China wafts all the way to the U.S.

Smog from factories in China is crossing the Pacific and hitting the U.S., accounting for 24 percent of sulphate pollution on some days, according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A significant portion of the pollution comes from the production of goods for export. "We've outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us," said co-author Steve Davis of University of California, Irvine. [Reuters]

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10. Buffett offers $1 billion for a perfect NCAA bracket

Investing mastermind Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans are offering $1 billion to anyone who can fill out a perfect bracket for the March NCAA basketball tournament. But there's not much chance anyone will cash in. With 64 teams, the odds of picking the winner of every game come to 9.2 quintillion to one — 128 billion to one if you know a lot about basketball. "I don't think we need to lose any sleep for Mr. Buffett," DePaul University math professor Jeffrey Bergen said. [The New York Times]

Compiled by theweek.com

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