MORNING BRIEF: taxes, Wal-Mart and going back to school in Newtown

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Around here

More than 500 Avista customers lost power in Coeur d'Alene because of yesterday's storm. (CDA Press) 

The Spokane City Council agreed last night to put three measures on a special February ballot including a city charter amendment to give the police ombudsman independent investigative powers. (SR) 

Medical costs for prisoners in the Spokane County jail are on the rise. (KREM) 

Out there

Syrian conflict continues in a Damascus neighborhood mostly inhabited by Palestinian refugees (AJ)

How Wal-Mart used bribes to build stores in Mexico (NYT) 

Students at Newtown, Conn. schools, except Sandy Hook Elementary, return to class today. (Chicago Tribune) 

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