BC-AP Americas Digest
MINNEAPOLIS — The coldest, most dangerous blast of polar air in decades grips the U.S. Midwest and pushes toward the East and South and eastern Canada, closing schools and day care centers, grounding flights and forcing people to pull their hoods and scarves tight to protect exposed skin from nearly instant frostbite. By Steve Karnowski and Rick Callahan. AP Photos. AP Video.
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirms Janet Yellen as the first woman to lead the U.S. Federal Reserve, elevating an advocate of fighting unemployment and a backer of the central bank’s efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases. By Alan Fram. AP Photo.
SUPREME COURT-GAY MARRIAGE
SALT LAKE CITY — The Supreme Court puts same-sex marriages on hold in the conservative state of Utah, at least while a federal appeals court more fully considers the issue. By Brady McCombs and Mark Sherman.
WASHINGTON — His agenda tattered by last year’s confrontations and missteps, President Barack Obama begins 2014 clinging to the hope of winning a lasting legislative achievement: an overhaul of immigration laws. It will require a deft and careful use of his powers, combining a public campaign in the face of protests over his administration’s record number of deportations and quiet, behind-the-scenes outreach to Congress, something seen by lawmakers and immigration advocates as a major White House weakness. By Jim Kuhnhenn. AP Photo.
NSA SURVEILLANCE-DUELING RULINGS
WASHINGTON — Opposing court rulings on the National Security Agency’s massive phone record surveillance — one threatening the program and the other supporting it — are stirring fast legal footwork as both cases start to wind their way through federal appeals courts and possibly to the Supreme Court. By Stephen Braun. AP Photo.
WASHINGTON — The new year looks a lot like the old one in the Senate, with Democrats scratching for votes to pass an agenda they share with President Barack Obama, and Republicans decidedly unenthusiastic about supporting legislation without changes. At the dawn of the 2014 election year, the issue is unemployment benefits, and a White House-backed bill to renew benefits that lapsed last week for the long-term jobless. The measure is the leading edge of a Democratic program that also includes raising the minimum wage, closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations, and enacting other measures designed to demonstrate sympathy with those who suffered during the worst recession in decades and a subsequent long, slow recovery. By Special Correspondent David Espo.
AMERICAN TERROR PLOT
PHILADELPHIA — A U.S. woman involved in a plot to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after telling a judge she was once obsessed with jihad. Fifty-year-old Colleen LaRose had called herself “Jihad Jane” online and agreed in 2009 to kill artist Lars Vilks over his series of drawings depicting the prophet Muhammad as a dog. Vilks was never attacked. By Maryclaire Dale. AP Photo.
CHINESE CONSULATE FIRE
SAN FRANCISCO — A Chinese national called police to tell them he lit a blaze at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, telling investigators he was driven by voices he was hearing, the FBI says. By Scott Smith. AP Photos.
ST KITTS-VENEZUELA EMBASSY FIRE
BASSETTERRE, St. Kitts — Arson destroys the Venezuelan Embassy and damages offices used by the Organization of American States in St. Kitts and Nevis in what the prime minister of the small Caribbean nation says was a politically motivated attack. By Emily Patrick.
CHICAGO — A federal judge overturns Chicago’s ban on the sale and transfer of firearms, ruling that the city’s ordinances aimed at reducing gun violence are unconstitutional. By Herbert G. McGann.
WASHINGTON — Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, makes a sudden exit from her Wyoming Senate race in a surprise end to a high-profile campaign that touched off a bitter fight within the Republican Party as well as a public spat with her lesbian sister over gay marriage. By Donna Cassata and Mead Gruver. AP Photo.
WASHINGTON — Time travelers, if they really exist, seem to be keeping their adventures to themselves. Researchers with perhaps a bit too much time on their hands conducted an extensive Internet and social media search for evidence of time travelers going back in history and then bragging about it online. And they came up empty. No real life Dr. Who or Marty McFly from the movie “Back to the Future” tweeting secrets a bit early. By Science Writere Seth Borenstein.
WASHINGTON — No longer taboo, living together has become a more common arrangement for America’s couples who become pregnant while dating. Soon-to-be-released government figures show a major cultural shift since the days of “shotgun weddings” aimed at avoiding family embarrassment. With marriage on the decline, the shift is helping redefine the traditional notion of family. By Hope Yen. AP Photos.
GADGET SHOW-SMART TV-SOFTWARE
NEW YORK — More choice — and confusion — is coming to the next generation of TVs. At least three new software systems are announced for Internet-connected television sets, which let viewers watch Internet video and interact with friends online on the big screen. The new smart TV operating systems will compete with software already available from Google and individual TV manufacturers. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun.
With: GADGET SHOW-PANASONIC 4K-WEARABLE; GADGET SHOW-SAMSUNG-4K TV; GADGET SHOW-HUAWEI-REVERSE CHARGING; GADGET SHOW-DISH’S HOPPED-UP HOPPER; GADGET SHOW-ROKU TV; GADGET SHOW-DOLBY TV.
GADGET SHOW-TOYOTA-HYDROGEN-POWERED CAR
LAS VEGAS — Toyota says that a hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits only water vapor as exhaust will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, a year earlier than it promised just two months ago. By Business Writer Ryan Nakashima. AP Photos.
GADGET SHOW-GLOBAL SPENDING
LAS VEGAS — The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that global spending on technology will slip 1 percent in 2014 to $1.06 trillion as the lower average selling price of smartphones and tablets offsets unit growth in markets like China. By Business Writer Ryan Nakashima.
WASHINGTON — U.S. factories orders climbed in November, led by a surge in aircraft demand. And businesses stepped up spending on machinery, computers and other long-lasting goods, a sign of investment that could fuel economic growth. By Economics Writer Josh Boak. AP Photo.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
THE LITTLE PRINCE EXHIBITION
NEW YORK — Antoine de Saint-Exupery crafted “The Little Prince” in New York City, mentioning Rockefeller Center and Long Island in one draft of the beloved children’s tale — references he ultimately deleted. That page is contained in the French author’s original handwritten manuscript, which is the subject of a major exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum on the 70th anniversary of the book’s French publication — a year after its U.S. debut. By Ula Ilnytzky. AP Photos.
NEW YORK — The Eurythmics are reuniting — to pay tribute to the Beatles. The Recording Academy announced Monday that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart will perform as a duo for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles.” The event will be taped at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27, a day after the Grammy Awards. By Mesfin Fekadu. AP Photo.