(Jan. 20) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(Jan. 20) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 8:33 am

1. Broncos and Seahawks head to the Super Bowl

The Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night to take the NFC Championship and earn a spot in next month's Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos, who defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC title game earlier the same day. Seattle came back from a 17-10 deficit in the middle of the third quarter to win 23-17. The Broncos were led by Peyton Manning, who threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns, outplaying rival star QB Tom Brady. [New York Daily News, Reuters]

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2. MLK's daughter calls for "no shots fired" day

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice, urged people around the world to honor the slain civil rights leader's memory and mark his 85th birthday by making Monday a "no shots fired" day. She said in an era of frighteningly frequent school shootings and increasingly violent films and video games make the federal holiday honoring her father an important time to renew his legacy. "Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence is more relevant, I believe, than it was 10 years ago," she said. [Chicago Tribune]

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3. Protesters battle police as Ukraine tensions escalate

Thousands of pro-European Union demonstrators clashed with police in Kiev on Sunday in rallies against a new protest ban imposed by Ukraine's government. Protesters, seeking President Viktor Yanukovich's removal for reneging on promises to strengthen ties to the EU, threw stones and torched a police bus. Riot-control teams responded with stun grenades in the most violent confrontations the country has seen since mostly peaceful demonstrations began nearly two months ago. [Financial Times]

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4. Intelligence committee chairs suggest Snowden worked with Russia

Congressional intelligence committee leaders said Sunday that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden might have been working for Russian spy services before he fled the U.S. and leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents. Moscow granted Snowden temporary asylum last year. "I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). Snowden supporter Ben Wizner, an ACLU lawyer, said the accusation was "not only false, it is silly." [The New York Times]

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5. Police arrest 14 after protest against California officers' acquittal

Police arrested a 14th person on Sunday following a protest against the acquittal of Fullerton, Calif., officers accused of beating a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, to death in 2011. The demonstration began peacefully on Saturday, but grew violent after protesters attacked a TV news videographer. Charges against the protesters include assault, vandalism, and refusing to obey police orders to disperse. [Associated Press]

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6. Obama says pot is no more dangerous than alcohol

President Obama told The New Yorker magazine that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol. "As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice," said Obama, whose administration has given states the green light to test laws legalizing marijuana. Nevertheless, the president said, pot smoking is "not something I encourage, and I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy." [The Washington Post]

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7. Syrian opposition threatens to withdraw from peace talks

Tensions are growing ahead of talks on ending Syria's nearly three-year civil war. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Sunday that he had invited Iran to participate in a meeting of foreign ministers on Wednesday, two days before negotiations are scheduled to begin. Syria's political opposition said on Monday that it would withdraw from the talks unless the invitation is withdrawn. In another potential deal-breaker, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted Sunday he wouldn't step down. [Reuters, The Guardian]

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8. U.S. readies plans in case of attacks on Sochi Winter Olympics

Islamist militants have claimed responsibility for deadly bombings in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd last month, and threatened in a video posted online to attack the February Winter Olympics in Sochi. U.S. officials are working on plans to rescue Americans if there is violence. The preparations are being complicated, however, by Washington's testy relationship with Moscow. "The Russians "are not going to welcome with open arms" any foreign forces, especially Americans, a source told Reuters. [Financial Times, Reuters]

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9. China's economic expansion slows

China's economy grew by 7.7 percent in 2013, its slowest pace in 14 years, according to figures released Monday. The rate of expansion for the world's second largest economy was a little better than the 7.5 percent rate the government had targeted. Economists expect China's growth to continue slowing as it moves from the investment and export growth model that fueled its recent boom to one fueled by domestic consumption. [BBC News]

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10. Christie ally denies holding Sandy aid hostage

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno reportedly plans to "categorically deny" on Monday that she told Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer she had to back Gov. Chris Christie's redevelopment plan to get Hurricane Sandy recovery money. The denial, if it comes as expected, would mark the first response from anyone high up in Christie's administration to the accusation, which Zimmer made on MSNBC on Saturday. [CNN]

Compiled by theweek.com

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