Payroll Tax Cut Extended; Kobe Bryant Divorce; Rare ‘Generator Suicide’ to Blame for Fatal Elevator Accident?


Senate leaders agreed to extend the payroll tax cut, the Washington Post reports, “averting a New Year’s tax increase for millions of workers.” “Under the separate Senate agreement on the payroll tax, the rate paid by 160 million workers would remain at 4.2 percent through February, rather than reverting to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.” The legislation also includes language that would force the Obama administration to make a decision about the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days. [Washington Post]

Yesterday, Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from her husband, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. The two had been married for a decade, and the Los Angeles Times reports “the couple had no prenuptial agreement” and that “property rights were to be determined.” The two stayed together “through allegations of sexual assault and admission of an extramarital affair” on his end, but Friday Vanessa Bryant cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for her decision.

Investigators trying to piece together the cause of the elevator malfunction that killed Suzanne Hart at 235 Madison Avenue are looking into the possibility of a rare power surge. The Daily News reports the so-called “generator suicide” could “override [the elevator’s] safety systems and send it shooting up.” Investigators are trying to figure out if a circuit board that was replaced before the accident could be to blame. [NYDN]

Robert Champion Jr.’s death has been ruled a homicide by a medical examiner, CNN reports. The 26-year-old Florida A&M marching band member died last month after a suspected hazing incident. According to anonymous sources, “Champion died after taking part in a rite of passage called ‘crossing Bus C,” an event where “students ‘walk from the front of the bus to the back of the bus backward while the bus is full of other band members, and you get beaten until you get to the back.'” [CNN]

Expect a clear day with temperatures in the mid-thirties. [TWC]