Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

·5 min read

Suspect killed, hostages safe after Texas synagogue standoff

Four hostages are safe and their captor is dead after a tense, hourslong standoff Saturday that began when the man took over services at a Texas synagogue where he could be heard ranting on a livestream and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who endured the 10-hour standoff, said Monday that he and the other hostages fled after he threw a chair at the assailant, British national Malik Faisal Akram. Citron-Walker said he saw an opportunity, threw a chair at the gunman and safely escaped along with the other hostages, "without a shot being fired." Akram, 44, was killed after an FBI SWAT team swept into the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.

SWAT team members deploy near the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Dallas, on January 15, 2022.
SWAT team members deploy near the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Dallas, on January 15, 2022.

Fierce winter storm lashes eastern US with ice, dangerous cold

The winter storm that slammed much of the South with ice over the weekend rolled north on Monday, bringing havoc to holiday travel plans and snow so furious even forecasters in snow-accustomed Buffalo, New York, said "Wow!" More than 3,200 flights within, into and out of the U.S. were canceled or delayed as of noon Monday, according to FlightAware. Sunday's weather forced similar issues for almost 8,000 flights. More than 110,000 homes and businesses were without power in West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Parts of New York state were expecting up to 18 inches of snow before the storm moves away sometime Tuesday, and in Ohio, the city of Ashtabula reported more than 25 inches of snow Monday. Residents across Southwest Florida were cleaning up after Sunday morning storms brought a powerful tornado to Lee County near Fort Myers, damaging nearly 200 mobile homes and leaving 30 destroyed.

Visitors walk through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial as a winter storm blows through the Washington area.
Visitors walk through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial as a winter storm blows through the Washington area.

Tonga volcano eruption brought tsunami impacts to West Coast

An undersea volcano erupted Saturday near the Pacific nation of Tonga, triggering tsunami advisories for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific coast – an unusually long stretch of coast. The tsunami threat around the Pacific began to recede Sunday, while the extent of damage to Tonga remained unclear. Satellite images showed the spectacular eruption with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters. A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska. In Tonga, the eruption sent people rushing to higher ground as tsunami waves crashed across the shore. Roughly 5,000 miles away, West Coast authorities pleaded with residents to stay away from beaches because of unpredictable currents and tides. In Peru, two people drowned off a beach and there were reports of minor damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California.

Sheriff's deputies stand by after closing the harbor launch ramp as a tsunami surge flows through the Santa Cruz Small Craft harbor on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Sheriff's deputies stand by after closing the harbor launch ramp as a tsunami surge flows through the Santa Cruz Small Craft harbor on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Real quick

Health insurers will now cover costs of home COVID tests

Requirements for private health insurers changed over the weekend. They are now required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance, or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. In another step to help Americans get access to tests, the federal government on Wednesday will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail. The administration also is scaling up emergency rapid-testing sites in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.

Home teams take control in wild-card round of NFL playoffs

The NFL playoffs got started this weekend, with nearly all home teams winning the wild-card matchups — except for one. So far, the Dallas Cowboys are the only team to lose at home this postseason, falling to the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs all took care of business against lower seeded teams this weekend. The Bengals survived a late Las Vegas Raiders rally on Saturday, winning, 26-19. The other games weren't as close, with the Bills blowing out the New England Patriots, 47-17, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning comfortably against the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-15, and the Kansas City Chiefs routing the Pittsburgh Steelers, 42-21. The Los Angeles Rams hope to continue the trend, as they host the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady  hands his hat to a fan after a 31-15 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady hands his hat to a fan after a 31-15 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card game.

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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas synagogue standoff, winter storm, Betty White, Tonga volcano: Biggest news you missed

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