Good morning. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Gunmen Take 170 Hostages at Mali Hotel
The upscale Radisson Blu hotel in the former French colony of Mali was raided Friday with about 140 guests and 30 employees locked inside, a hotel spokesman told NBC News. The U.S. Embassy in Mali added that it was aware of an "ongoing active-shooter operation." The standoff in Mali's capital comes a week after attackers killed 129 people in Paris. Read more in NEWS.
2. Female Suicide Bomber in Paris Raid ID'd
The woman who blew herself up during an anti-terror raid in suburban Paris on Wednesday has been identified as Hasna Aitboulahcen, a daughter of a Moroccan immigrant. The woman detonated a suicide vest as police stormed an apartment as part of the hunt for those responsible for planning and executing the attacks. Read more in NEWS.
3. How Secure is America's Refugee Program?
Statistically and logically, it makes little sense to block Syrians fleeing persecution and war from making new homes in America, government officials and advocates say. Likewise, they say, if a terrorist group were to launch an operation in the U.S., they couldn't find a more cumbersome way to do it than through the refugee program. Read more in NEWS.
4. Israeli Spy Freed From U.S. Prison
Jonathan Pollard was released on parole in the United States after 30 years in prison, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday. The case became a serious strain in relations between the close allies. Read more in NEWS.
5. Trump's Muslim Plan Draws Nazi Comparison
Donald Trump's latest proposal to implement a database system tracking Muslims in the United States has drawn sharp rebuke from critics. A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations told NBC News: "What else can you compare this to except to prewar Nazi Germany?" Read more in POLITICS.
6. Jared Fogle Gets 15 Years in Prison for Child Porn
The former Subway pitchman was sentenced to over 15 years behind bars Thursday for child porn and sex crime charges. Experts had testified that he fantasized about young girls and had a sex drive that ramped up after he begun shedding the pounds. Read more in NEWS.
7. FDA: It's Safe to Eat Genetically Modified Salmon
The decision, which has taken five years, is certain to anger consumer groups who want companies to be forced to label GM foods, as well as environmental groups who are afraid the modified fish will breed with wild fish. Read more in HEALTH.
In the Place de la Republique in Paris, strangers embraced each other — young and old, women and men — after an appeal by Muslim men for trust and solidarity.