There was no grand-prize winner in last night’s Mega Millions drawing. The jackpot’s now at $418 million. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. North and South Korea
The North and South are talking again, on a hotline they hadn’t used for two years. The North Koreans made the call this morning (on Kim Jong Un’s orders), talking with their South Korean counterparts for about 20 minutes. We don’t know what they said, but it’s a welcome sign and a big diplomatic breakthrough that could jump-start more talks in the future.
Meanwhile, President Trump communicated with Kim the old-fashioned way — via Twitter. After Kim warned the US that “the nuclear button is always” on his desk, Trump boasted he has one, too, and that it’s “much bigger & more powerful.” Well, of course. CNN’s Jake Tapper was kind enough to remind us (once again) that none of this is normal, just in case we’d forgotten.
With Orrin Hatch calling it quits in the Senate, don’t be surprised if Mitt Romney makes a run at the seat. The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee hasn’t said if he’s running, but his Twitter account just happened to be updated the same day to note that he calls Utah home. Coincidence? Romney in the Senate would be quite interesting, since he’s become one of the most prominent so-called “never Trumpers” on the political right. And it’s beginning to look a lot like 2012 in these early days of 2018, with other prominent 2012 GOP presidential rivals — former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Rep. Michele Bachmann — both said to be mulling jumping into the race to permanently replace Democrat Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota.
3. Iran protests
A new set of demonstrators hit the streets in Iran — pro-government counter-protesters. These protesters waved Iranian flags and held signs voicing support for the government and its rulers. This comes after a week of anti-government demonstrations across the country, sparked by economic concerns and overall dissatisfaction with the government. These latest demonstrations are not a total surprise, since counter-protests are a common reaction to dissent against the government there. More than 20 people have died in the demonstrations, and more than 450 people have been arrested.
4. Joshua Boyle
Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who spent five years in captivity with his family in Afghanistan, has been arrested. Boyle faces 15 charges, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement. All the charges are connected to incidents which allegedly happened after Boyle and his family returned to Canada in October. Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were kidnapped in Afghanistan by terrorists in 2012. Coleman was pregnant, and the couple had two more children during their five years in captivity. The family was freed in a mission carried out by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from US authorities.
Oh yeah, this winter weather mess is about to get a whole lot worse. Already, there have been 11 cold-related deaths, and much of the nation is now due to stay in the deep freeze through the weekend. Now, the East Coast will have to deal with what meteorologists are calling a “winter hurricane” (it’s technical name is even scarier: “bombogenesis.”) It’ll bring hurricane-force winds and snow. Great. It’ll start in Florida, of all places, where residents of places like Tallahassee — which hasn’t seen measurable snow in almost 30 years — could get as much as an inch of snow and ice today. Coastal Georgia and the Carolinas will get some snow, too, before the storm plows up to the Northeast.
NUMBERS OF THE DAY
The number of security barriers going up in high-profile locations in New York to help ward off terror attacks
That’s the value of damages sought in a lawsuit that a music publishing company has filed against streaming giant Spotify.
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
(Not) all by myself
If scaling Mount Everest is on your bucket list, you probably won’t be doing it alone. Nepal has banned foreigners from making solo climbs of its mountains.
Pay you in what?
What is ripple? Redd Foxx’s favorite drink? (Kids, Google “Sanford and Son.”) No, it’s yet another crypotcurrency, like bitcoin.
Only in California
The post-boxing life of Mike Tyson has included a (tiny) acting career and questionable face tattoos. Now, he’s plans to live life as a marijuana farmer.
A big deal
Weight Watchers’ pockets just might get fatter if its deal with DJ Khaled pays off the way its deal with Oprah did.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
I might look a bit different.
Singer Carrie Underwood, saying she received more than 40 stitches to her face after she was injured in a fall in November
AND FINALLY …
Who needs a band when you have a synthesizer? This Swedish musician uses every bit of his keyboard during his cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” (Click to view.)