ITALY—28-year-old Darco Sangermano was shot in the face on New Year’s Eve, only to sneeze out the bullet that shot him. Sangermano received an accidental bullet wound to the face during Naples’ New Year’s celebration, part of which traditionally includes the firing of guns. Upon rushing to the hospital, Sangermano sneezed out the bullet before doctors had a chance to remove it. He is expected to make a full recovery. (www.gizmodo.com)
TUCSON, Az—Jared Lee Loughner has been charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempting to assassinate a congresswoman and two counts of attempted murder after he shot 19 people during a public appearance of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Six of the injuries were fatal and Rep. Giffords remains in critical condition. Authorities have found evidence that suggests Lougher, 22, planned the shooting. Further charges are expected. (The Wall Street Journal)
THE WORLD—New figures released by the government place 2010 as the hottest year on record, tied only by 2005. According to the data, nine out of ten of the hottest years on record have taken place since 2001. The heat wave this year accompanied large floods on three continents, coral-reef die off and record breaking snowstorms. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this past year’s temperature was 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the century’s average. (www.nytimes.com)
BRITAIN—Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, threatened The Guardian, a British newspaper, with legal action after the media outlet planned to release documents before he was ready to do so. Although WikiLeaks began sharing some of its documents with several newspapers, Assange apparently became upset when The Guardian made an agreement with another journalist who also had copies of the document. Assange argued he owned the information and had a financial interest in its release. (www.nytimes.com)
SUDAN—Almost 2.3 million voters in southern Sudan have cast votes to decide whether or not the south should secede from northern Sudan. The vote, which is expected to result in secession, would mean that northern Sudan would lose most of the country’s oil fields. However, current Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said that he would allow the secession to happen peacefully. If passed, independence would not be a reality until at least July. (www.washingtonpost.com)
BRAZIL—The mountains around Rio de Janeiro received an average month’s rainfall in a period of just 24 hours, causing rivers to break their banks and sending tons of mud cascading into towns. At least 257 people are presumed dead and the death toll is expected to rise. Rescue crews are still arriving and over 1,000 people are currently homeless. (www.aljazeera.com)
CHICAGO—Mary Scruggs, the head of writing for the comedy center The Second City Training Center, died Tuesday night of a sudden illness. A well-known comedian, Scruggs was an active educator in the area of comedy. Second City performed at Knox College this past week. (www.chicagotribune.com)
ILLINOIS—In response to what he described as “a fiscal emergency,” Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois signed a bill to raise income tax. For the next four years the tax will rise anywhere from three to five percent, afterwards declining to 3.75 percent. Quinn signed the bill despite criticisms of breaking a campaign promise to not drastically increase the tax rate, saying the state was headed towards an emergency. The tax increase will lead to revenue increases of over $6 billion a year and be used for paying debts and increasing school funding.