US Attorney General Loretta Lynch looks toward US President Barack Obama during a meeting to discuss what executive actions he can take to curb gun violence, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 4, 2016. 
Credit: Kevin Lamarque

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NEED TO KNOW:

It's that time again, when the president enters his final year and starts doing all the things he really wants to do but Congress wouldn't let him. Today, Obama announces new executive action on gun control

A key piece of the president’s move will be to broaden who counts as a gun dealer, as the Wall Street Journal puts it. More gun sellers, whether they conduct business over the internet or at a gun show, will be required to be licensed and to screen buyers.

Not as earth-shattering as you were expecting? That's because it isn't. What Obama is announcing is truthfully pretty limited, as he has admitted, given the restrictions on what he can enforce unilaterally. The terms are a far cry from those Congress considered, and rejected, in 2013.

Still, that hasn't stopped Republicans on the campaign trail from seizing the day. Trump has pledged to "unsign" whatever Obama "signs" on day one of his term as president, and Gov. Chris Christie called Obama's actions "illegal" before saying he would take similar action once president to undo what Obama has done. See, they can come together when the timing is right. 

WANT TO KNOW:

Let's not forget that gun violence and small arms trade are global issues. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, GlobalPost took a look at three countries which changed their gun control laws following mass shootings: Australia, Scotland and Finland.

The in-depth series Gunworld, on the global small arms trade, took a closer look at all the conflicts worldwide, which are fueled by the multi-billion dollar industry.

Mexico, the Middle East and India all have problems with rising gun violence.

STRANGE BUT TRUE:

Four new elements were just added to the periodic table!

Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 are all considered "superheavy" elements, meaning they have more than 104 protons. They are synthesized in laboratories using particle accelerators to slam nuclei together, and they have very short existences. Element 113, for example, lasted less than a thousandth of a second. That's fast!

And if that news isn't exciting enough for you, get a load of this: now it's time to name them! "New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist," the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry explains. Ooh!

Science!

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