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Morning Briefing: Obama starts to put second-term team in place

President Barack Obama speaks after the House of Representatives passed legislation averting income tax increases for most U.S. workers.

Brendan Hoffman/via Bloomberg

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Jan. 7, 2013.

Obama, cabinet maker

President Barack Obama is moving quickly to put together his second-term team. The President is expected to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as defence secretary today. In addition, White House officials say the President also will tap John Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, to be the new head of the agency.

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Clinton back to work

Just days after leaving the hospital, Hillary Clinton is expected to be back on the job today. The hard-driving Secretary of State is scheduled to meet with staff today and has a number of appointments set this week, marking a return to work after falling ill in early December. A blood clot was discovered in her brain after Ms. Clinton suffered from a concussion as a result of a fall. She is finishing up the last weeks of her term, making way for Senator John Kerry who is expected to be easily confirmed as the new Secretary of State.

Delhi rape case suspects appear in court

Five men accused of the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old university student appeared in a Delhi court today, kicking off the trial over an attack that has sparked outrage and protest around the world. There was heavy police presence at the court where the men appeared in a closed hearing. The judge set the case over till Jan. 10. A sixth accused will be tried in juvenile court.

Fans await details on shortened NHL season

They're back – sort of. After a full day of debating the merits of an 11th hour deal to save the NHL season, the most important question remains unanswered: just when are fans going to get to see some hockey? Details are expected soon on how the truncated season – expected to run to around 50 games – will roll out. The player and owners cut a deal early Sunday morning just days ahead of a self-imposed deadline which would have killed the season.

Google chief visits North Korea

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The "Google delegation" arrived in North Korea today. Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, and Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, landed in Pyongyang for what is believed to be a humanitarian mission. The U.S. government has called the timing of the visit "unhelpful" given North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket last month.

Toronto mayor's job hangs in the balance

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gets a chance to hang on to his job today, with an appeal of the conflict of interest ruling that ordered him tossed from office. Mr. Ford is appealing the November ruling that found him in conflict over a council vote involving his football charity. If judges uphold the ruling, council has a number of options including appointing Mr. Ford or someone else to the remainder of the term, or holding a by-election, which Mr. Ford has said he will contest. A decision in the case may take weeks.

Colorado movie rampage suspect in court

The man accused of a deadly rampage in a Colorado movie theatre last summer appears in court today for the first day of a week-long preliminary hearing. James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 during a showing of the new Batman film last July.

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