Ukraine says it plans to hold new elections. The Dalai Lama's White House visit irks China. And President Obama owes Canada a case of beer.
Welcome to the Friday edition of "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
Manic Mother Nature:
Another day, another weather roller coaster. Hold on tight. Last week, brutal snow paralyzed much of the nation. This week, rumbling tornadoes are knocking out power in various states. Large sections of the Midwest and South were under tornado watches last night, with Tennessee and Illinois among the hardest hit.
2. UKRAINE PROTESTS
More talks, more deals:
Yet another day of bloody street protests yesterday was followed by more talks today. After the talks, President Viktor Yanukovych announced a plan to hold early elections. His office had announced earlier that a deal has been reached to resolve the crisis. The opposition hasn't said a word yet. So far this week, two truces have crumbled, leaving protesters and police battling at Kiev's Independence Square. Opposition medics said 100 protesters died yesterday, but the government placed the toll much lower -- 77 people since Tuesday. And in Venezuela, the unrest is not letting up, either.
3. WINTER OLYMPICS
Race for gold:
As events draw to a close, the stakes are getting higher. National pride and cases of beer are on the line. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are betting cold ones on their nations' hockey matches. Obama owes him a case after the U.S. women lost to Canada yesterday. Canada has won the gold three times in a row - maybe the President should throw in some extra brews? The men's matchup is today, and the beer wager applies here too. (Rumor has it that the loser nation keeps Justin Bieber.) Other events today include men's short-track and women's slalom.
4. AL QAEDA LINKS
Shoe bomb warning:
The feds warned airlines this week about a shoe bomb threat. Turns out, the warning is a result of a credible threat. Intelligence points to tactics tied to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its master bomb maker, a federal official says. But counterterrorism officials played down the warning at first, saying there's no evidence of a specific attack in the works. But would the U.S. take steps to warn carriers if the threat wasn't real?
5. DALAI LAMA VISITS U.S.
China's not amused:
President Obama hosts the Dalai Lama at the White House today. But don't look for Beijing to break out the Champagne glasses. The Chinese are urging Obama to scrap the meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader. By arranging a meeting, the U.S. will "severely impair China-U.S. relations," its foreign ministry said. Beijing routinely protests when world leaders meet the Dalai Lama. It accuses him of trying to establish an independent Tibet, a region in China.