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Morning Briefing: John Kerry to sail through confirmation hearing

John Kerry is shown in September 2012 leading a hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Kerry has recently divested from Canadian oil companies amid conflict of interest concerns as he’ll deal with the Keystone XL pipeline approval in his new role as U.S. Secretary of State.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Jan. 24, 2013

Kerry to get easy go in bid to replace Clinton

One day after outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a grilling on Capitol Hill, John Kerry is expected to get a much gentler reception as he auditions for her job today. The veteran senator is expected to sail through his confirmation hearing for the position of America's top diplomat, a job that opened up after President Barack Obama's first choice Susan Rice was forced to withdraw. On this side of the border, the environmentally conscious politician's comments over the proposed Keystone pipeline will be closely parsed. The Obama administration, which put the project on hold, is expected to make its decision in March or April.

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Spence to end hunger strike

The chief of the Attawapiskat band has agreed to end the hunger strike she began in early December in exchange for commitments from opposition and aboriginal leaders to continue the fight for change. The decision by Ms. Spence and a fellow protestor came after days of negotiations led by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae. This morning they are expected to leave the teepee on the Ottawa River where they have staged their protest and go to an Ottawa hotel where they will receive tributes.

Redford to address province over budget woes

Alberta premier Allison Redford is set to lay out the extent of the province's financial woes in a television address tonight. The province, which once enjoyed years of massive surpluses thanks to its energy riches, has been hammered by lower oil prices. The speech, which will lay the ground for an early March budget, is expected outline restraint measures, but stop short of tax and fee increases.

North Korea issues threat to test nuke

Once again, Pyongyang is playing a game of nuclear chicken with the world. North Korea has announced it will conduct its third test of a nuclear weapon, adding that the exercise would target the United States, its "sworn enemy." The impoverished and isolated nation has been sanctioned twice by the United Nations in 2006 and 2009 over earlier tests, and the latest pronouncement by Pyongyang comes a day after the UN Security Council voted to censure it over a December rocket launch.

Delhi rape trial begins behind closed doors

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A Delhi court has heard opening arguments in the explosive rape case that sparked protest around the world. Five men accused of the rape and murder of a 23-year-old student covered their faces with caps as they were ushered into the courtroom for the closed door, two hour hearing. The special, fast-track court was set up in the wake of the attack to deal more quickly with crimes against women.

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