Dozens hospitalized, at least 19 dead after Bronx apartment building fire
Hospitals worked Monday to save the lives of multiple people gravely injured by smoke in a fire that killed 19 people, including nine children, in a Bronx apartment building. Dozens of people were hospitalized, and as many as 13 were in critical condition after Sunday’s blaze, the deadliest in New York City in four decades. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pledged to provide as much support as possible at the federal level, including housing and tax assistance as well as immigration assistance for those in need. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she plans to establish a victim’s compensation fund aimed at providing new housing and covering burial costs for affected families. New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the fire “started in a malfunctioning electric space heater” in a bedroom of a duplex apartment on the second and third floors of the 19-story Twin Parks North West complex in New York City’s West Bronx.
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Tensions over Ukraine high as US, Russia officials meet
Representatives from the United States and Russia began strategic talks Monday that could shape the strained relations between the two countries as well as the ties between the U.S. and its NATO allies. While a threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most urgent issue, other disputes include arms control, cybercrime, and Russia’s deployment of troops in Kazakhstan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday he doesn’t expect any breakthroughs on Ukraine in the coming week. U.S. officials said Russia will be hit hard with economic sanctions if it intervenes.
US, NATO reject Russian demands on pact expansion
The United States, NATO roundly reject Russian demands that the alliance not admit new members amid growing concerns that Russia may invade Ukraine. They also warned Russia of a “forceful” response to any further military intervention in Ukraine. (Jan. 7)
Alabama and Georgia face off in College Football Playoff championship
No. 1 Alabama is one win away from claiming its second straight national championship. It would make the Crimson Tide the first team in the College Football Playoff era to earn back-to-back titles. The Crimson Tide last won consecutive titles in 2011-12. Under coach Nick Saban, Alabama has won six national championships in 14 years. No. 3 Georgia, meanwhile, is trying to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tide, to win the school’s first title in 41 years and swing the SEC’s balance of power east. Monday’s game, which airs on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, will be played at Indianapolis — the first time Alabama and Georgia will meet outside their respective states.
What another championship would mean for Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty
Sports Seriously: Dan Wolken breaks down how Alabama can beat Georgia in the national championship game and what another title would mean for Nick Saban’s legacy with the Crimson Tide.
Sports Seriously, USA TODAY
Chicago fight with teachers union stretches into second week
Students in Chicago public schools are out of school for a fourth day Monday, as city and district leaders negotiate with the teachers union over the safety of in-person schooling in the nation’s third-largest district. Kids and families have been stuck in the middle since Wednesday, when teachers voted to go remote after two days of in-person instruction. Then the city said that wasn’t an option, and cut off remote schooling altogether. Negotiations continued over the weekend, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. “There has not been sufficient progress for us to predict a return to class tomorrow,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Sunday night.
Chicago Teachers Union vote remote classes again, city cancels classes
The Chicago Teachers Union voted to switch classes to remote learning due to the COVID-19 surge, city leaders reacted by canceling classes instead.
Associated Press, USA TODAY
Plea deal hearing for man charged with buying gun for Kyle Rittenhouse
Dominick Black, a friend of Kyle Rittenhouse who bought him an assault-style rifle when he was 17, will have a hearing Monday. Black was 18 when he purchased the rifle for Rittenhouse, who was too young to legally purchase the weapon. In August 2020, Rittenhouse used the rifle to kill two people – Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber – and wound a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In November, a jury found him not guilty on the five charges against him, based on his claim of self-defense. Charges against Black were up in the air after Judge Bruce Schroeder agreed to throw out one of the charges against Rittenhouse — that he unlawfully possessed a firearm as a minor. On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger filed a proposed plea agreement that suggested Black would plead no contest to a pair of citations, and pay a $2,000 fine, and the felony counts would be dismissed. Schroeder could reject the deal at Monday’s hearing, or dismiss the original felony counts based on his ruling about the minors-with-firearms law in the Rittenhouse case.
Contributing: The Associated Press