(CNN)The State of the Union address is tonight. Marches mark MLK Day. And the Pope gives out birth control advice.
5 Things to Know for Your New Day -- Tuesday, January 20, 2015
It's Tuesday, and here are the "5 things to know for your New Day."
Trending upward: Headed into tonight's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama finds himself riding the first approval ratings uptick in nearly two years. Fifty percent say they approve of the job Obama's doing as President, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday. Improving economic conditions may be the reason why, but still, 56% of Americans feel the country is on the wrong track. Tonight's speech will focus on middle-class economics. The President will propose a $500 tax credit for married couples, a child care tax credit increase to $3,000 and two free years of community college to qualified applicants.
Ransom: The militant group ISIS has threatened to kill two Japanese citizens unless Tokyo hands over $200 million within 72 hours. Already in the Middle East, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the international community needs to "deal with terrorists without giving into them." But he stopped short of explicitly ruling out the payment of a ransom or negotiations with the hostages' captors. "The government of Japan will make maximum efforts for the early release of the Japanese citizens in cooperation with relevant countries," the country's Foreign Ministry said. In a video posted online today, a masked man dressed in black and holding a knife stands over two kneeling men in orange jumpsuits.
From coast to coast: The Martin Luther King Jr. Day demonstrations took on a new vigor this year after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner -- two black men who were killed by white police officers. The protests were nonviolent, but they still caused their share of disruptions. Demonstrators partially closed the San Mateo Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area. In nearby Oakland, marchers shut down a subway station. Seattle protesters danced in and out of traffic, challenging authorities to corral them.
Surprised? A full four years before North Korea allegedly hacked into Sony Pictures, the U.S. was cracking into North Korean computer networks and keeping an eye on its hackers, The New York Times reported yesterday. It was the information collected through the classified National Security Agency program that helped U.S. intelligence officials figure out Pyongyang's involvement in the cyberattack, the report says. The U.S. hit North Korea with new economic sanctions afterward, and North Korea also experienced widespread Internet outages in late December, which it blamed on Washington. The U.S. was mum on the matter.
He said what? It seems you can always count on Pope Francis for a head-turning quote. On his way back from the Philippines, he hit us with this one on birth control. While not advocating artificial methods, Francis said that parents shouldn't procreate endlessly, counting on God to work things out for them. "Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood."
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
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