(Jan. 30) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(Jan. 30) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:30 am

1. Arctic blast paralyzes Atlanta

At least 12 deaths were blamed Wednesday on the freak snow and ice storm that created chaos in the Deep South. Elected officials in Georgia criticized the National Weather Service for inadequate warnings about the storm, which paralyzed Atlanta. More than 10,000 children had to stay overnight in schools, and 239 slept on their school buses before finally making it home Wednesday. An undetermined number of motorists were stranded, too, when evacuating crowds got stuck on highways that clog even during normal rush hours. [USA Today, Associated Press]

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2. Fed latest taper weighs on stocks

Emerging market stocks hit two-and-a-half-month lows on Thursday following the Federal Reserve's announcement that it would continue tapering its economy-boosting bond purchases. Major U.S. indexes dropped by 1 percent on Wednesday. At outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke's last policy meeting, the Fed decided that improvement in the economy justified buying $65 billion in bonds monthly, down from $75 billion in January and $85 billion monthly in 2013. Investors had hoped the Fed would pause to calm the markets. [Reuters]

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3. Justices lift stay that delayed Missouri killer's execution

The Supreme Court refused a last-minute appeal filed on behalf of a Missouri death-row inmate, Herbert Smulls, whose lawyers argued there was no way to know whether the state's lethal injection drugs cause undue suffering, because the state won't say who makes one of the components. The high court briefly delayed the execution, originally scheduled for Tuesday night, so it could have more time to review the case. Smulls, 56, was convicted of killing a jewelry store owner in a 1991 robbery. [CNN]

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4. California Assembly pushes restrictions on the use of drones

California lawmakers have approved a bill limiting how law enforcement and public agencies can use aerial drones in their state. The bill, if approved by the state Senate, would require agencies to destroy any data collected by unmanned aircraft within six months, and forbid arming them. The bill also would require law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before using surveillance drones, but Assembly member Jeff Gorell (R) opposed an outright ban, saying such technology "is the future." [Los Angeles Times]

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5. Snowden is up for a Nobel Peace Prize

Two Norwegian politicians have nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize for leaking secret documents on the National Security Agency's mining of phone and email records. Snowden, a former NSA contractor, is now hiding out in Russia evading espionage charges back home. Socialists Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen, who nominated him, said he probably damaged some nations' security, but that his leaks would help make the world more peaceful by igniting a debate on threats against civil liberties. [Voice of America]

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6. Times journalist pushed out by China's leaders

On Thursday, China expelled New York Times journalist Austin Ramzy, the paper's second reporter forced to leave mainland China in 13 months. Ramzy left on the day his visa expired because he was not issued a new one. The move is seen as an attempt by the country's new leadership to squelch reporting on the tremendous wealth amassed by top Chinese leaders and their relatives. [USA Today]

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7. Ship arrives home early after hundreds fall ill

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas returned to port Wednesday after cutting short a Caribbean cruise because 700 out of 3,050 passengers fell ill. The suspected culprit: Novovirus. If confirmed, it would be the biggest novovirus outbreak in 20 years. Travelers said people were getting sick everywhere. "They were throwing up in buckets and bags," said Briton Kim Waite, 50, who fell ill on a trip she took to celebrate ending her cancer treatments. "I've never wanted to go home so much in my life." [Associated Press]

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8. Google sells Motorola Mobility to Lenovo

Lenovo has agreed to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion. Google bought the company for $12.5 billion just three years ago, but has already recovered some of the money by selling off its cable-box division for $2.4 billion. Motorola Mobility's performance has been a disappointment since it was sold off by Motorola. It lost $248 million in the last quarter, and $192 million in the year-ago quarter, notes Matt Burns at TechCrunch, "so the trend here isn't positive." [TechCrunch]

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9. All-Star switch-hitter Lance Berkman retires

Six-time All-Star slugger Lance Berkman, who played for the Texas Rangers last year, announced his retirement Wednesday after 15 Major League seasons. Berkman, 37, had a .293 batting average with 366 home runs. His on-base percentage, .406, was fifth best among active players. That combined ability to get on base and swat extra-base hits made him one of the best switch-hitters of his era. He drove in a career 1,234 runs over 1,879 games for the Astros, Yankees, Cardinals, and Rangers. [NBC Sports]

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10. Bieber's legal troubles keep mounting

Justin Bieber, fresh off a DUI charge in Miami Beach, turned himself in at a police station in his native Canada on Wednesday night to face an assault charge. As he pulled into the station, his SUV was mobbed by screaming fans and a swarm of reporters and photographers. The case stems from an alleged confrontation Bieber had with a limo driver a month ago. The 19-year-old pop star is also under investigation in connection with the egging of his neighbor's house in California. [CNN]

Compiled by theweek.com

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