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Morning Briefing: A tough swan song for Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Jan. 23, 2013

Clinton faces tough questions on Benghazi attack

In what may be her last act as America's top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to face tough questions from a congressional panel over the deadly attack by militants on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. The long-awaited testimony was delayed in December when Ms. Clinton got a concussion and blood clot as a result of a fall. John Kerry, nominee to replace Ms. Clinton, is expected to sail through his confirmation hearing Thursday.

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2 bsy 2 vandalize?

To busy texting to smash windows and spray-bomb walls? No one is quite sure why, but vandalism is plunging in England, leaving criminologists scrambling to explain why. Vandalism incidents have dropped 37 per cent since March 2007, the BBC reports, despite the tough economic times, traditionally fertile ground for anti-social behaviour. All sorts of explanations are being proffered for the decline – including flawed statistics and successful crime measures. But the most novel theory involves the exponential adoption of smart phones, which took off just as the vandalism stats turned south.

Netanyahu in a tough spot

It has not been a good election for Benjamin Netanyahu. Hopes that the Israeli prime minister would have an easy go of coalition building following Tuesday's vote were dashed by the shockingly strong showing by upstart centrist Yair Lapid. Mr. Lapid's Yesh Atid party won 19 seats, just shy of the 20 secured by Mr. Netanyahu's conservative Likud party. In the always complicated calculus of Israeli coalition building, that leaves Mr. Netanyahu with two stark choices – throw in his lot with Mr. Lapid or try and govern with a thin, unruly majority of conservative and ultra-orthodox parties, writes The Globe's Patrick Martin.

England will (possibly) get to vote on EU pact

The Brits will finally get a chance to have a say about their troubled ties to the European Union. Possibly. Maybe. Pressed by rising anti-EU sentiment, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a referendum on a re-tooled pact to be negotiated with the EU. But the vote wouldn't come until after the 2015 election and only if Mr. Cameron remains prime minister, writes The Globe's Paul Waldie.

Will Spence end her hunger strike?

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Theresa Spence, who helped inspire a national wave of protest over aboriginal rights, may be giving up her five-week hunger strike. The Attawapiskat chief is asking for a commitment by Assembly of First Nations leader Shawn Atleo and federal opposition leaders to continue to fight legislation she believes will adversely affect aboriginals, sources told The Globe's Gloria Galloway.

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