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SYNAGOGUE TAKEN HOSTAGE
The FBI have identified the man who took Jewish worshippers hostage in the middle of a religious service Saturday. Officials say Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national, was killed by officers 11 hours after interrupting the service at Beth Israel Congregation, near Fort Worth, and demanded the release of a scientist currently in prison on terror charges. The rabbi and three other members of the congregation were released unharmed after the obviously "traumatic experience." Akram had arrived in the U.S. just five weeks ago and investigators in the U.S. and UK are looking into his past, including his mental health. CNN
Northeasterners are waking up to more snow this morning as the latest winter storm passes through. The storm hit the South over the weekend, causing icy road conditions and knocking out power to 200,000 customers. Areas in Mississippi and North Carolina saw 10 inches of snow, while parts of South Carolina were dealing with half an inch of ice. Upstate New York could end up with a foot of snow by the end of the storm and northwestern Pennsylvania could be looking at two feet. NY TIMES
DJOKOVIC GOES HOME
Novak Djokovic left Australia “extremely disappointed” Sunday after the country’s government revoked his visa - again - ruling that his unvaccinated status posed a risk to the public. That means he will not be able to defend his winning title at this year’s Australian Open, which gets underway today. Australians have been living with some of the strictest COVID restrictions for the last two years, so, if you've missed this whole kerfuffle, his arrival into the country last week was met with plenty of pushback from the public. ESPN
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN PRES FIRED
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel has been fired for carrying on a secret relationship with a university employee. Not only did the board can him - they also posted 118 pages of communications between the two in the name of transparency. Last summer, the school instituted new rules about supervisor relationships after a former provost was found to have been using his position to coerce women who worked for him into sexual relationships. DETROIT FREE PRESS
The CDC addressed key differences between cloth, surgical and N95 masks, stating that the primary may not offer as much protection as the latter. While well-fitting surgical masks and KN95s can provide the most protection, the Center still urged all people to “wear the most protective mask you can,” as long as it fits well and is worn consistently. WASH POST
This info would’ve helped two years ago.
NETFLIX RAISES PRICES
Without any announcement, Netflix has raised prices for all three of its subscription plans. Streamers can now expect to pay up to $2 more every month, with the new hike immediately applying to new subscribers. Existing customers will see price increases slowly take effect in the coming months. MASHABLE
Netflix & Bill.
New Zealand has sent a plane to aid Tonga after an underwater volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami on Saturday morning. While no deaths have been reported so far, there has been little information because the only fiber-optic cable to the island may have been severed. Residents who have been able to get messages out describe the island as looking like a "moonscape" from the tsunami waves and volcanic ash. Much less severe flooding was reported as far away as California. BBC
CENSUS VS. TRUMP
A Census Bureau memo indicated former President Donald Trump and his administration showed “unprecedented” engagement in the census process for political gain. The note, which circulated among high-level Census officials, said among other moves, Trump pushed to end the population count weeks early to affect the allotment of House of Representative seats. Census employees appeared to push back hard against the efforts in order to maintain its independent, non-partisan position. NY TIMES
STUCK AT SEA
Norwegian Cruise Lines cancelled a Caribbean cruise mid-voyage, with a ship full of vacationers more than a thousand miles from home. COVID-19-related issues caused the company to call off the rest of the port stops for the Norwegian Gem. Some travelers are calling it a "nightmare," although others have been taking it in stride, this being COVID times and all. The ship is expected to return to New York on Wednesday. While the company didn't share the extent of cases on board, it did say all passengers will receive a full refund. THE HILL
They’re going to need a vacation from this vacation.
LEFTOVERS: MLK DAY
The nation celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, to honor the civil rights leader who organized and led peaceful protests that played a role in advancing civil rights. This holiday, take a listen or read Dr. King’s famous 17-minute speech, ‘I Have a Dream,’ delivered in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. NPR