Gunmen stormed a luxury Tripoli hotel popular with diplomats and officials Tuesday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, killing at least nine people -- including five foreigners -- before blowing themselves up. After setting off a car bomb outside the Corinthia Hotel -- where visiting world leaders have met local dignitaries in the past -- three militants rushed inside and opened fire, Issam al-Naass, a security services spokesman, told AFP. They made it to the 24th floor of the hotel, a major hub of diplomatic and government activity, before being surrounded by security forces and detonating explosive belts they were wearing. The dead included three security guards killed in the initial attack, five foreigners shot dead by the gunmen and a hostage who died when the attackers blew themselves up.
New York authorities on Tuesday vigorously defended a decision to shut down America's biggest city for a storm that skirted the Big Apple, dumping the worst snow on Long Island and New England. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city got only a fraction of the two feet (60 centimeters) of snow that had been widely predicted in the 48 hours leading up to the storm. The National Weather Service warned that life-threatening conditions persisted along the coast from Long Island into Connecticut and Massachusetts, where more than two feet of snow blanketed some areas. "You plan the best you can and you lean toward safety," New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference under a barrage of questioning.
Yahoo announced plans Tuesday for a tax-free spinoff of its stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, splitting off the valuable holdings from its core operations. The move aims to deliver more cash for shareholders than an outright sale of the $40-billion stake, avoiding a hefty tax bill, and to help Yahoo's efforts to refocus under chief executive Marissa Mayer. Mayer told a conference call the deal "maximizes value for shareholders" and avoids a potential tax bill of up to $16 billion under a traditional sales of the stake. She said the move is part of a broader effort to help Yahoo's "remixing" of its activities around mobile Internet, video and other forms of online media.