5 Things to know for your New Day

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 12:00am

Kenya says it's in control on the fourth day of terrorist siege, the clock ticks toward a government shutdown and a $400 million lottery winner keeps a big secret.

It's Tuesday, and here are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."


When will it end?

It's day four of the hostage siege inside Nairobi's Westgate mall. Kenyan officials say they have the upper hand, but no one is predicting when things might end. At least 62 people are dead and more than 60 others are unaccounted for. Several gunmen - including snipers - are still inside the mall, two senior officials said. Kenya's Interior Ministry reassured the public that there was little chance of escape for any surviving Al-Shabaab gunmen, but security is still extra tight at airports and border crossings. Two or three of the attackers are Americans, the ministry says. "Security at all entry and exits across the country has being heightened," it said.


The countdown is on

Can you hear it? Can you hear the clock ticking toward a government shutdown? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says game on. If that's the cost of defunding Obamacare, then so be it. Last week, House Republicans passed a continuing resolution that strips the money from President Obama's signature health care law. Cruz wants to do the same thing in the Senate, where the GOP is in the minority. To get his way, he's promising a filibuster, but unless Cruz can keep 40 Republicans on his side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have the votes to end the debate and pass a continuing resolution that keeps Obamacare funding in place. Cruz has irritated enough fellow Republicans with his tactics that a filibuster could be difficult to keep going. The federal government will shut down on October 1 if Congress can't agree on a way to pay the bills.


Iran and Syria and Israel! Oh my!

His domestic agenda stuck in neutral by those pesky Republicans, the president's best chance to score political points this week comes at the United Nations. Potential international diplomatic opportunities are there for the picking. Iran's new president is playing nice, for now. The U.N. Security Council is huddling over the details of a deal to get Syria to give up its chemical weapons. And there's the matter of the rebooted peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. The president is expected to tackle them all today when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly for the fifth time. There is "a lot of diplomatic activity taking place as we go into the United Nations General Assembly, and we want to take advantage of those opportunities," says Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. "We're always open to diplomacy, if we believe it can advance our objectives." But believing it can and making it happen -- especially when it involves the Middle East -- has burst the bubble of more than one U.S. president. Just ask Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush ...



CrackBerry no more

Long gone are the days when BlackBerry ruled the roost in smartphones. Business miscues at every turn have sapped the once dominant company and seen it eclipsed by Apple and Android. Just five years ago, BlackBerry was worth $80 billion. Now, after a $1 billion quarterly loss and layoffs for 4,500 employees, the company's largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, is trying to buy it for just $4.7 billion. Still a lot of money, but a fraction of what it was worth in 2008. Counteroffers may be in the offing. Will BlackBerry ever be addictive again? It's hard to say. The company lost the number for dialing up success a long time ago. Maybe it's in the Rolodex.



Mum's the word

Someone around Columbia, South Carolina, is a whole lot richer, but we don't know who it is. And that's the way he wants it. The man who won last week's $400 million Powerball jackpot stopped by state lottery headquarters Monday with his winning ticket. Beyond that, we don't know much. South Carolina doesn't give out the names of winners if they don't want to share them. We do know that the winner plunked down $20 for tickets when his wife asked him to pick up some hot dog buns on the way home. With the 1-in-175 million odds, that purchase turned out to be worth a lot of bread.

Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a few others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.

-- Nipple lock

The new iPhone 5S does everything. The best of the best in high-tech security. This man in China uses his nipple instead of a fingerprint to lock and unlock his phone. The unregistered nipple is a no-go.

-- Naked Halloween

Let me see your hands. How many of you want to don your birthday suit and run through a haunted house? Thought so. Shoctoberfest, a "haunted scream park" in Pennsylvania, is just providing a public service. They provide two services, BTW: nude or prude. You get to keep on your undies with the second option. Our advice: Stay away from the guy with the chainsaw. You never know what he might lop off.


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