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5 things to know today: Paris reels; Beirut feels forgotten

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Paris reels. Hollande retaliates. And Beirut feels forgotten. It’s Monday, and here are the 5 things you need to know today:


Barbarians at the gate: In sunnier times, the French called it joie de vivre — a carefree enjoyment of life. These days, they have another expression: mal au coeur — nausea and heartache. Sure, schools are open today, as is the stock market. But all the Christmas markets in town are shuttered. And cops are everywhere. Paris is battered and bruised after its deadliest attack since World War II. It’ll pick itself up, dust itself off and soldier on. But it’ll take time. The wounds are raw; the manhunt is still on — 150 raids since Friday. Here’s the latest:

• Attacks: Six sites: a concert hall, a soccer stadium and four restaurants

• Victims: At least 129 dead, from France, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Chile and the U.S. Another 352 were wounded; 99 of whom are in very serious condition. (Read about them here)

• Attackers: Seven killed; one still on the run. Of them, at least three attackers spent time in Syria. One slipped into Europe with the wave of refugees. (What we know about them)


Two steps forward, three steps back: Friday morning, pundits were pontificating whether ISIS was on the ropes. “Jihadi John” was probably dead; Sinjar had been reclaimed. How wrong we were! Now, the conversation has shifted to how the world should respond. Continue with the nuanced approach or drive a stake in ISIS’ heart? French President Francois Hollande vowed a “merciless” response and followed through with 20 bomb drops in Raqqa, the caliphate’s capital, last night. But as one analyst put it: You can’t wipe out an ideology.


The unforgettable fire: Just like Paris, the Beirut attack was the deadliest in decades. Just like Paris, the killers in Beirut appeared to be connected to ISIS. But the hugely uneven coverage of the two attacks has thrown the Western media’s reporting into sharp relief. “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” a Lebanese doctor wrote on his blog. “Their death was but an irrelevant fleck.” It’s unfortunate, because Lebanon has done more than most other nations in welcoming Syrian refugees.


Feel the Bern: In case you didn’t watch the Democratic debate (and so few of you did), you missed Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton really going at it. Clinton claimed Sanders’ vote gave the gun lobby more power. Sanders accused Clinton of being in Wall Street’s pocket. But the sound bite that’ll come back to bite was Clinton’s own doing — when she said she is “from the ’60s.” Ditto for Martin O’Malley, who said he was “untested.” Those attack ads will write themselves.


Kim Jong U.N.: Ban Ki-moon is going to North Korea. This is a pretty big deal, because no U.N. chief’s been there in 22 years! At a time when we’re bombarded with so much bad news, anything he can do to mollify dictator Kim Jong Un is most welcome.


People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

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Car shopping just got a whole lot easier. Now, you can drop a coin in a vending machine and drive off.

In praise of pie

Know who loves pies more than Cartman? This dude, whose ode to Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies has them flying off the shelves.

Cat burglars

Tight security at the G20 Summit? Hah! These cats laugh at your tight security.


Here’s what’s coming up later


A volunteer firefighter, whose features burned off during a mobile home inferno, now lives with the face of a mechanic who died in a wreck. Doctors who’ll share more details this morning call it the most extensive face transplant ever. We call it the best John Woo movie never made.

Losing my religion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might want to rethink its new same-sex policy — you know, the one that bans kids of gay parents from being baptized? About 1,500 Mormons are saying, “I can’t even” and will quit today.


What’s black and white and red all over?

Embarrassed penguins. If you’re trying to make a break from a zoo, remember Rule No. 1: Leave no evidence behind.