10 Things to Know: This Week's Takeaways
1. U.S. SWEEPS THE PODIUM IN SLOPESTYLE SKIING, GETS SHUT OUT IN MEN'S HALFPIPE
For only the third time in Winter Games history, the United States swept the podium Thursday, capturing the top three spots in slopestyle skiing's Olympic debut. Joss Christensen, a 22-year-old making his first appearance on the Olympic stage, won the gold, while Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper captured the silver and bronze. The triumph follows a shocker earlier in the week when two-time gold medalist Shaun White got knocked off the podium, the first time the Americans were shut out of the halfpipe since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1998.
2. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYS BANKS MAY DO BUSINESS WITH LEGAL MARIJUANA SELLERS
The Obama administration gave banks a road map on Friday for doing business with legal marijuana sellers without getting into trouble with the law, a major step by the federal government toward enabling a legalized marijuana industry to operate in states that approve it. The guidance issued by the Justice Department and Treasury Department was intended to make banks feel more comfortable working with legal marijuana businesses, while preserving the government's enforcement power.
3. IN A FIRST FOR THE SOUTH, VIRGINIA GAY MARRIAGE BAN OVERTURNED
In a first for the South, Virginia's same-sex marriage ban was overturned, with a federal judge ruling Thursday that the voter-approved amendment is unconstitutional and declaring the move "another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive." U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it is appealed, meaning that gay couples in Virginia will still not be able to marry until the case is ultimately resolved. Both sides believe the case won't be settled until the Supreme Court decides to hear it or one like it.
4. COMCAST STRIKES DEAL TO BUY TIME WARNER CABLE
Comcast will buy Time Warner Cable for about $45.2 billion in a deal signed Thursday that combines the nation's top two cable TV companies and would create a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. Comcast, the nation's No. 1 pay TV and Internet provider, says the purchase will provide faster, more reliable service to more customers and save money on TV programming costs. But industry watchdogs say the deal will give the company too much power and ultimately raise the price of high-speed connections.
5. CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY COMMITTED IN NORTH KOREA, UN PANEL FINDS
A U.N. panel concludes that crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and will call for an international criminal investigation, The Associated Press has learned. The report, to be released Monday, is the most authoritative account yet of rights violations by North Korean authorities and is bound to infuriate the country's unpredictable leader. Justice remains a distant prospect: North Korea's ally, China, is likely to block any referral to the International Criminal Court.
6. HOUSE VOTES TO RAISE GOVERNMENT'S BORROWING LIMIT, WITH NO CONDITIONS
Unwilling to spook the markets and divided among themselves, House Republicans backed away Tuesday from a battle over the government's debt limit and permitted President Barack Obama's Democratic allies to drive quick passage of a measure raising the government's borrowing authority until March 2015, without any concessions from the White House.
7. FACEBOOK OFFERS NEW GENDER OPTIONS FOR USERS
You don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore, with the launch Thursday of a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender, as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. Facebook says the changes are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
8. NOT AGAIN: NORTHEAST HIT WITH ANOTHER STORM; SOUTH REELS FROM ICE AND POWER OUTAGES
Yet another storm paralyzed the Northeast with heavy snow and sleet Thursday, while hundreds of thousands across the ice-encrusted South waited in the cold for the electricity to come back on. At least 25 deaths were blamed on the treacherous weather, including that of a pregnant woman struck by a mini-snowplow in a New York City parking lot as she loaded groceries into her car.
9. CURLS AND DIMPLES: SHIRLEY TEMPLE DIES AT 85
Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-topped little girl who tap-danced and sang her way to a height of Hollywood super-stardom and worldwide fame in the 1930s that no other child has reached, died Monday. The former child star and diplomat, known as Shirley Temple Black in her later years, was 85.
10. WIRE FOX TERRIER WINS BEST IN SHOW AT WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW
The bloodhound drew the loudest cheers, the Portuguese water dog came with presidential connections and the Irish water spaniel tried to earn another win for Seattle in the Super Bowl - of dogs, that is. A little wire fox terrier called Sky stood in their way. The 5-year-old terrier with the ginger-and-white coat won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night, finishing off a season in which she was ranked the nation's No. 1 dog.
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