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Week In The News: Russian Security, Obamacare Launches, Pot Legalized Out West

Bombs in Russia. Obamacare goes live. A dramatic rescue in the Arctic. And a brand new year. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Store owner Toni Fox, second from right, greets customers standing in a snaking line numbering several hundred people shortly after the opening of her 3D Cannabis Center in Denver at 8am on Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. Colorado began legalized retail recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1, a day some are calling "Green Wednesday." (AP)

Store owner Toni Fox, second from right, greets customers standing in a snaking line numbering several hundred people shortly after the opening of her 3D Cannabis Center in Denver at 8am on Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. Colorado began legalized retail recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1, a day some are calling “Green Wednesday.” (AP)

Week one, 2014.  Well, half a week, anyway.  And plenty of news.  In Russia, where terror attacks have shaken things up just weeks before the Winter Olympics.  In Colorado, where pot is now legal and shopping baskets are filling up.  In Iraq, where the Syrian war threatens to spill and spread.  And in the USA, where Obamacare is in effect as of January 1.  We’ve got a would-be definitive telling of what happened in Benghazi.  A dramatic Antarctic rescue.  Drone testing sites in the US.  And a blizzard in the northeast.  This hour On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Reid Epstein, White House correspondent for Politico. (@ReidEpstein)

Jill Dougherty, foreign affairs correspondent for CNN. (@CNNJill)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Politico: White House stands by birth-control rule — “The Obama administration Wednesday said the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage regulations are fair — and they don’t really hurt the Denver-based religious organization that got a temporary New Year’s Eve reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. ‘We defer to the Department of Justice on litigation matters, but remain confident that our final rules strike the balance of providing women with free contraceptive coverage while preventing non-profit religious employers with religious objections to contraceptive coverage from having to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for such coverage,’ a White House official said.”

National Journal: Everything We Learned From Edward Snowden in 2013 — “He didn’t win Time‘s Person of the Year award or rank in Google’s year-end list of top searches, but Edward Snowden repeatedly dominated Washington’s policy conversation in 2013—and he did it without ever setting foot here. Beginning in June, Snowden’s leaks detailing the National Security Agency’s vast data collection programs prompted a seemingly endless torrent of exposés in major publications around the world. The disclosures not only reveal the size of the NSA’s phone and Internet metadata dragnet, but the at-times cavalier arrogance with which agency analysts boast about their surveillance muscle.”

CNN: Russia’s Vladimir Putin visits victims of Volgograd blasts — “Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a New Year’s Day hospital visit to some of those injured in two suspected suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd. More than 30 people were killed in the attacks on Sunday and Monday at a rail station and on a trolley bus, just six weeks before Russia is due to host the Winter Olympics. Putin’s unannounced visit to Volgograd Wednesday came a day after he delivered a New Year’s message on Russian state TV in which he vowed to fight until terrorists were defeated.”

Watch A Video Of the Record-Setting New Year’s Fireworks In Dubai

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