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    A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.
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Associated Press
People enjoy a snow-covered Cloud Gate at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, which became a great photo opportunity for visitors, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

10 Things to Know for Thursday, Jan. 2

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday

1. WHO'S BRACING FOR THE FIRST STORM OF 2014

A major winter storm is bearing down on the Northeast, promising heavy snows and strong winds. Up to 14 inches of snow is forecast for the Boston area.

2. COLORADO USHERS IN 2014 WITH ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

Long lines greet marijuana shoppers testing the nation's first legal recreation pot shops. But customers who waited hours in snow and frigid wind had few complaints.

3. ANTARCTICA RESCUE TAKES OFF

The long-awaited rescue of passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week finally gets underway.

4. HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL BECOMES A REALITY

After a troubled rollout, the health care overhaul faces its most personal test as major pieces of the Affordable Care Act take full effect with the new year.

5. IT'S TIME TO START MAKING HARD DECISIONS

That's the message Secretary of State John Kerry is taking to Israeli and Palestinian leaders as he returns to the Middle East to outline a peace plan.

6. HOW AMERICANS ARE FEELING ABOUT THEIR GOVERNMENT

Americans have a profoundly negative view of their government as they enter 2014. Half say the country's system of democracy needs a lot of change or even a complete overhaul.

7. STUDY CONFIRMS DISTRACTED DRIVING RISK

Dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss by seven times, especially for younger drivers.

8. EGYPT FLEXES SOME NEW MUSCLES

More than politics has changed in Egypt since autocratic Hosni Mubarak was forced from office. A cultural revolution has taken root, revolutionizing the pop culture scene.

9. HOW AN OBSESSION BECAME A MUSEUM

A Seattle couple's collection of pinball machines grew into something they wanted to share with others – a good solution after they ran out of space in their garage.

10. SPARTANS COME UP SMELLING LIKE ROSES

Connor Cook passes for a career-high 332 yards and No. 4 Michigan State holds on to beat No. 5 Stanford 24-20 for its first Rose Bowl title in 26 years.

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