Obama will announce the withdrawal of 34K troops from Afghanistan in his State of the Union address; North Korea conducts its most powerful nuclear test yet; a new report reveals that Pope Benedict XVI had secret heart surgery; a blast on Turkey and Syria’s border kills 14; ex-LAPD cop Steve Dorner may have had an accomplice; the Philippines hope for Asia’s first pope; and Twitter and Amex allow customers to buy items via hashtags. Meanwhile, wrestling will no longer be an Olympic sport; Adele’s Grammy crasher is arrested; and Rihanna takes a sad bath in her new music video.
AP SOURCE: OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE THAT 34K US TROOPS TO BE HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN A YEAR FROM TODAY,http://rtvote.com/Y9S0cV
According to the Associated Press, President Obama will announce the withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan one year from today. He is set to reveal these plans during tonight’s State of the Union address. Yesterday, Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha, who fought to save his fellow soliders during an insurgent attack orchestrated by al Qaeda. During the State of the Union, President Obama will most likely address the economy, the middle class, and his presidency. The address begins at 9:00 PM E.T.
North Korea Confirms It Conducted 3rd Nuclear Test, http://rtvote.com/XGxbGa
North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test yet last night, defying U.N resolutions. The test has caused strong condemnation from other countries, including China which is the country’s only major ally. President Obama called the detonation “highly provocative” and said that it “undermines regional stability.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the test as a “clear and grave violation” of the U.N.’s resolutions. North Korea is working to enhance its nuclear systems, yet it is a long time away from miniaturizing devices for missiles.
Pope Benedict Had Heart Surgery Three Months Ago, Il Sole Says, http://rtvote.com/XGE6Pw
The newspaper Il Sole is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his retirement yesterday, had heart surgery and a new pacemaker put in three months ago. The Vatican confirmed that the pope has been using a pacemaker for a long time, but that he is in good health. The surgery, which was kept secret, had no complications but made the pope reconsider whether he is well enough for the post.
Deadly bus blast hits Turkey’s Syria border, http://rtvote.com/159elNc
At least 14 were killed and 26 wounded after a minibus exploded near Turkey and Syria’s border Tuesday. The explosion took place at a popular crossing for Syrian refugees. A spokesman for the Turkish government said that Syrian forces were behind the “powerful explosion.” He went on to add that, “The information that we have for now is that a minibus with Syrian number plates coming from the other side exploded.”
Dorner may have had help in trying to flee to Mexico, http://rtvote.com/XGySn2
Authorities are considering the possibility that Steve Dorner, the ex-LAPD cop who is wanted for the murder of three, may have had an accomplice that helped him escape to Mexico. A report detailing Dorner’s path after the murders was released in court records Monday. It highlights Dorner’s efforts to steal a boat and subdue its captain in San Diego. There is a $1 million reward for Dorner’s capture. Murder and attempted-murder charges have already been filed against him.
Busted toilets, hot rooms, headaches after fire strands cruise ship in Gulf, http://rtvote.com/159az6t
A Carnival cruise ship is currently stranded off of the Gulf of Mexico with 3,143 passengers on board. An engine fire caused the ship to become immobile on Sunday. Passengers are facing a shortage of running water, electricity, and food. One passenger reported “sewage running down the walls and floors” and that those on board were being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers. Lines for food surpass 3.5 hours, and many passengers are sleeping outside due to the lack of air conditioning.
Philippines Catholics hope, pray for Asia’s first pope, http://rtvote.com/11E1eog
The Philippines’ Catholics, the largest Christian community in Asia, are hoping that their own Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle will replace Pope Benedict XVI when he resigns on February 28th. “The announcement also brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell,” said Tagle regarding the pope’s retirement. While his election is far from certain, Tagle has a reputation as a lively Vatican insider and former adviser to the pope.
Twitter and Amex to let you pay with a hashtag, http://rtvote.com/11DYuY5
Twitter and American Express have teamed up to allow customers to purchase items via a hashtag. Users who sign up to buy items will be able to tweet an Amex related hashtag when ready to purchase. The customers will know their purchase has gone through once they’ve received a confirmation hashtag from Amex. The new initiative will begin Wednesday morning.
IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics, http://rtvote.com/11DYpne
Adele’s Grammy Speech Crasher Arrested After Getting Stink-Eye From Jennifer Lopez, http://rtvote.com/Ya2MQh
Rihanna’s ‘Stay’ Video, Featuring Mikky Echo: The Saddest Bath In The World, http://rtvote.com/11E3Ja7
ABC, Univision unveil joint venture’s name: Fusion, http://rtvote.com/XGJdiN
Justin Timberlake Calls New Album ‘The Best Stuff I’ve Ever Done’, http://rtvote.com/XGJhiy