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  1. OPPOSITION Syrian Defectors Kill 27 Soldiers AP Photo

    1. Syrian Defectors Kill 27 Soldiers

    More than two dozen members of Syria’s security forces were killed Wednesday in an ambush by military defectors—a retaliation for the deaths of five others earlier in the day. The defectors attacked four military vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire on a supply route between the central city of Hama and the northern province near Turkey, where troops have been fighting against military defectors. This was the second attack by Army defectors this week, as retaliation for civilian deaths.

    December 15, 2011 6:30 AM

  2. TERRORISM White House Won't Veto Defense Bill Martin H. Simon / Getty Images

    2. White House Won't Veto Defense Bill

    Legislators altered a massive defense-spending bill to clarify that the new proposed requirements in detaining al Qaeda suspects will not interfere with civilian law enforcement’s pursuance of domestic terrorism investigations. The change prompted President Obama to guarantee that he won’t veto the controversial $662 billion bill. The bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, will now move on to the Senate without the threat of rejection from the White House.

    December 14, 2011 10:41 PM

  3. CRUNCH Euro Crisis Stresses World Banks Michael Probst / AP Photo

    3. Euro Crisis Stresses World Banks

    Despite a fiscal pact agreed on last week by European leaders, investors have little faith that the debt crisis will be solved—putting the banks that hold billions of dollars of government bonds at risk of failing. In reaction to this, interest rates are climbing, while some banks are not giving out loans. The euro fell below $1.30 for the first time since January. In an emergency measure, French Bank Credit Agricole SA announced it would exit 21 of the 53 countries it’s located in; Commerzbank AG will attempt to avoid a German bailout and move money to a government-owned bank. Global Markets fell—the Dow sank 1.1 percent, while Japanese and Australian markets fell 1 percent early Thursday. Meanwhile, Fitch downgraded five big European banks.

    December 15, 2011 12:23 AM

  4. ENOUGH National Review Bashes Gingrich Win McNamee / Getty Images

    4. National Review Bashes Gingrich

    National Review really doesn’t like Newt Gingrich. While the conservative journal praised the GOP frontrunner for persevering when his campaign looked dead, it asks the GOP—in a 1,200-word editorial—to “reject a hasty marriage” to the candidate. Gingrich’s “impulsiveness, his grandiosity, his weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas” make him a dangerous candidate who would jeopardize the GOP’s chances of winning the election. Along with his history of questionable ethics, National Review hits at his personal life: “Very few people with a personal history like his—two divorces, two marriages to former mistresses—have ever tried running for president.” Who wins the magazine's endorsement? At this point, no one.

    December 14, 2011 10:37 PM

  5. NEGOTIATIONS Senate At Standstill Over Payroll Tax J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

    5. Senate At Standstill Over Payroll Tax

    Senate negotiations over how to fund the payroll tax cut extension have stalled and the ability to agree on a plan may cause a government shutdown. Earlier Wednesday, Senate Democrats dropped their demand that millionaires pay for the continuation of the payroll-tax cut through a surtax. President Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Senate Democrats today to discuss the hotly debated proposed tax. The decision was a huge concession to Republicans in the payroll-tax-extension negotiations, which have gotten so dire they threaten to cause a year-end government shutdown.

    December 14, 2011 7:17 PM

  6. UNDER THE BUS Putin Ally Resigns  Landov

    6. Putin Ally Resigns

    In the latest sign that Vladimir Putin is feeling the heat, the chairman of his party, United Russia, resigned from his post. The chairman, Boris Gryzlov, was famous for putting down dissent in the Russian Parliament, once saying that the political body was “no place for political battles.” Gryzlov didn’t give a reason for his resignation, but it is widely seen as an attempt to appease protesters accusing the government of rigging recent parliamentary elections.

    December 14, 2011 12:15 PM

  7. THE END Obama Speech Marks Iraq War End Cliff Owen / AP Photos

    7. Obama Speech Marks Iraq War End

    President Obama addressed some 3,000 returning soldiers and their families at Fort Bragg, N.C., in a speech that marked an end to the Iraq War. Obama welcomed the soldiers home and told them, “The war in Iraq will soon belong to history, and your service belongs to the ages.” Obama acknowledged that while the U.S. knew the end of the war was coming, “there is still something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long.” The president's remarks made no mention of his opposition to the war but rather focused on his appreciation for the troops and pledging that the veterans will be cared for.

    December 14, 2011 12:36 PM

  8. BACK AT IT Egypt Starts Second Round of Voting Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty Images

    8. Egypt Starts Second Round of Voting

    Egyptians in nine provinces headed to the polls Wednesday to vote in the second round of parliamentary elections held to replace the government of Hosni Mubarak, whom a popular uprising ousted in February. The political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood dominated the first round of voting, taking 47 percent to the ultraconservative al-Nour party’s 21 percent. The turnout is expected to be lower in the second round, but the Muslim Brotherhood is widely expected to triumph, thanks to its decades of charitable work and political endurance.

    December 14, 2011 11:14 AM

  9. STAGGERING

    9. 1 in 5 U.S. Women Sexually Assaulted

    The results of a survey released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly one fifth of American women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The numbers were surprising to many experts, with one CDC director saying, “I don’t think we’ve really known that [sexual assault] was this prevalent in the population.” In the survey, one in four women reported being beaten by an intimate partner and one in six women reported being stalked. Meanwhile, one in seven men reported severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner. One third of women had been victims of a rape, a beating, a stalking, or a combination of assaults.

    December 14, 2011 6:01 PM

  10. STRANGE MOVE Duggars Show Photos of Dead Fetus Beth Hall / AP Photo

    10. Duggars Show Photos of Dead Fetus

    Michelle Duggar was on her way to becoming the mother of 20 children when she miscarried this week. The Duggar family, who are the subject of a TLC reality show, held a memorial at their church for the unborn child where they distributed photographs of the fetus printed with messages such as “There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.” TMZ has the exclusive—and disturbing—photos.

    December 14, 2011 8:26 PM

  11. GOOD GIRL Lohan Gets Glowing Probation Report Michael Nelson, Pool / AP Photo

    11. Lohan Gets Glowing Probation Report

    Is Lindsay Lohan turning over a new leaf? Though she missed the taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday due to “a travel-related issue,” according to her rep, the troubled starlet made it to her court appearance on Wednesday morning—and got a glowing report from Judge Stephanie Sautner. While Sautner has previously had a no-nonsense attitude toward Lohan’s shenanigans, sentencing her to 30 days in jail for violating her probation, she gave Lindsay a gold star this time around. She applauded Lohan for completing her community-service hours “not only on time, but early.” But Lohan isn't out of the thick just yet. She will have to prove that her good behavior wasn’t just a fluke by abiding by her probation rules again before her next progress hearing next month.

    December 14, 2011 3:05 PM

  12. Occupy Newt Gingrich Heckled by Protesters Brian Snyder, Reuters / Landov

    12. Gingrich Heckled by Protesters

    Current GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich was interrupted during a speech on brain science at the University of Iowa on Wednesday when more than a dozen protesters cried out, “Mic check. Mr. Gingrich, we are here to protest your speech today.” The disruption delayed his speech by about five minutes, after which Gingrich responded with a cheeky reference to the Occupy movement, saying he appreciated the “99 percent” who wanted to have an “intelligent discussion” without being “drowned out by the 1 percent … trying to make noise.” The former speaker of the House was also asked to address Mitt Romney’s attacks earlier in the day in interviews with The Washington Post and The New York Times. “I think a brain-science initiative is the way of helping human beings … I’ll let him decide if it’s zany,” Gingrich said in response to Romney having called him “zany” in the Times interview.

    December 14, 2011 8:04 PM

  13. HOLOCAUST Nazi Hunters Launch Prosecuting Initiative Gero Breloer / AP Photo

    13. Nazi Hunters Launch Prosecuting Initiative

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched a new initiative in Germany to prosecute Nazi war criminals who are still alive in attempt to set a major legal precedent. The center’s top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said they would offer a reward of 25,000 euros (more than $32,000) for any information that would lead to capturing and prosecuting criminals who remain at large. The effort comes after German prosecutors successfully convicted former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, 91, who served as a guard at a Nazi death camp. Roughly 4,000 people were either guards at four Nazi camps or members of death squads who went on mass killing rampages early in the war. Zuroff estimated that 80 or more people—the youngest of whom would be in their 80s—could still be alive.

    December 14, 2011 3:36 PM

  14. KIDS OF THE STARS Paris Jackson Gives First Solo Interview Ethan Miller / Getty Images for Cirque du Soleil

    14. Paris Jackson Gives First Solo Interview

    Michael Jackson's 13-year-old Paris is stepping out of the shadows Thursday, making her first solo appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Paris talks about her upcoming acting gigs, and how her dad inspired her work. "We would do improv together," she says. "He would give us little scenarios. He would say, 'OK, in this scene, you're going to cry,' and I'd cry on the spot." She also comments on her dad's requirement that she wear a mask in public. "I'm like, 'This is stupid. Why am I wearing a mask?' But I kind of realized the older I got like he only tried to protect us and he'd explain that to us, too."

    December 14, 2011 1:37 PM

  15. HONORS Time’s Person of the Year: Protester Mohammed Abed, AFP / Getty Images

    15. Time’s Person of the Year: Protester

    Drum roll please. Time’s “Person of the Year” for 2011 is … the Protester. The magazine announced Wednesday that “no one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit stand vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent.” The magazine mentions uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Britain, Spain, Greece—and of course, the U.S.’s own Occupy movement. The issue also profiles 10 protesters from different movements around the globe. The magazine also profiled four runners-up for the honor: Navy SEAL Captain William McRaven, Chinese dissent Ai Weiwei, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and Kate Middleton.

    December 14, 2011 8:20 AM

  16. CONFUSED Birds Slam into Walmart Parking Lot Lynn Chamberlain / AP Photo

    16. Birds Slam into Walmart Parking Lot

    Thousands of migratory birds expecting to take rest in a body of water crashed into a Walmart parking lot in Utah on Monday night. Environmental crews scrambled to clean up the dead birds and rescue some 2,000 straggling survivors, which were then released in nearby bodies of water. Local wildlife expert Teresa Griffin said the birds were “just everywhere” and that the clean-up effort had been “nonstop.” She added that bad weather conditions likely confused the flock of grebes, a ducklike bird making its way south for the winter. “The storm clouds over the top of the city lights made it look like a nice, flat body of water,” Griffin told local reporters.

    December 14, 2011 2:01 PM

  17. CREEPY Body Found at Home of Belgian Gunman Sudpresse / Reuters

    17. Body Found at Home of Belgian Gunman

    Belgian police on Wednesday found a woman’s body at the house of a man behind a deadly grenade attack in Liege, bringing the total number of fatalities to four. Liege prosecutor Daniele Reynders said the woman was discovered in Nordine Amrani’s garage, and she was his cleaning lady. “This is how she met him yesterday,” Reynders said. “She dies, shot with a bullet in the head.” Police say Amrani, 33, died Tuesday in an apparent suicide, and with a number of grenades still on him. Two male teenagers and an 18-month-old toddler also died in the attack on the bus station, while 123 people were injured.

    December 14, 2011 8:36 AM

  18. ATTACKS Romney: Newt’s a Flip-Flopper Matthew Putney, ABC / Getty Images

    18. Romney: Newt’s a Flip-Flopper

    Mitt Romney isn’t losing any opportunity to attack another candidate as a flip-flopper. He attacked Newt Gingrich harshly in an interview with The Washington Post Wednesday, saying “He has been an extraordinarily unreliable leader in the conservative world—not 16 or 17 years ago but in the last two to three years. And even during the campaign, the number of times he has moved from one spot to another has been remarkable.” The new attacks come as a Wall Street Journal poll shows Gingrich as the huge national favorite among Republicans, leading Romney 40 to 23. A national Reuters poll shows him leading Romney 28 to 18, though President Obama crushes Gingrich in the same poll 51 to 38 (and beats Romney 48 to 40). Still, Gingrich may have to look over his shoulder, as a PPP poll shows Ron Paul pulling within one point.

    December 14, 2011 6:25 AM

  19. WHO KNEW? Marriages at All-Time Low

    19. Marriages at All-Time Low

    Could married people soon be a minority? Just 51 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are married, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a six percent drop from 2000. The decline is, in part, a reflection of a higher median age of marriage—older than 26 for women and nearly 29 for men. There is a socieconomic distinction, as well: Nearly two out of three college graduates have tied the knot, with less than half of people with only a high-school education can say the same.

    December 14, 2011 11:00 AM

  20. SCANDALS Syracuse Coach Sued for Defamation Kevin Rivoli / AP Photo

    20. Syracuse Coach Sued for Defamation

    Former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine may be protected against sexual-abuse charges, since the statute of limitations has expired. His alleged protectors, however, may still be held accountable. Two of Fine’s alleged victims have filed a defamation lawsuit against Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim, its head basketball coach. Boeheim originally stood by Fine, saying the accusations were “patently false in every respect,” before he later said, “I misspoke very badly.” The men, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang, announced their intentions to sue Tuesday at a press conference with their lawyer, Gloria Allred (of course). The lawsuit alleges that Boeheim once saw Davis lying on a bed in Fine’s hotel room.

    December 14, 2011 6:40 AM

  21. BUSINESS Witness: Corzine Knew Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images

    21. Witness: Corzine Knew

    It’s fourth-hand information, but it’s the closest investigators have come to proving former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine knows where $1.2 billion in customer funds went missing: Sean Duffy, the executive chairman of CME Group, said Thursday that one of his auditors took part in a phone call in which an MF Global employee indicated Corzine knew about loans being made from “customer segregated accounts.” Duffy said the loan was worth $175 million and made to a European affiliate in the days before MF Global’s collapse. Corzine also testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday, saying, "I simply do not know where the money is.”

    December 14, 2011 6:30 AM

  22. AUCTIONS Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewelry Sets Record Terry O'Neill / Getty Images

    22. Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewelry Sets Record

    A collection of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry sold for $116 million at a Christie’s auction—more than double the record for a collection. Pieces included a necklace featuring “La Peregrina,” a 16th century pearl once painted by Velazquez, owned by Mary Tudor, and purchased by Richard Burton as a gift for Taylor for $37,000 in 1969. It sold for $11.8 million, well above the $2 to 3 million that was expected. Also included was Taylor’s famous 33.19 karat diamond ring from Burton, which sold for $8.8 million.

    December 14, 2011 7:11 AM

  23. CURRENCY U.S. to Cut $1 Coins Brian Kersey, United States Mint / AP Photo

    23. U.S. to Cut $1 Coins

    The United States is set to curtail production of dead-president $1 coins due to low demand. "Nobody wants them," Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday. According to The Wall Street Journal, there are enough $1 coins in the Federal Reserve to meet demand for a decade. More than 40 percent of newly minted coins are returned to the government as unwanted; the rest mostly sit in vending machines or in collections. In 2007, the government began minting $1 coins, planning to make one for each president until 2016. It will continue to mint the coins—next up is Chester B. Arthur—but only at a quantity to meet collector demand, not for widespread circulation.

    December 14, 2011 7:18 AM

  24. TECH Facebook Launches Anti-Suicide Tool Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

    24. Facebook Launches Anti-Suicide Tool

    Facebook rolled out a new suicide-prevention tool Tuesday. The new feature allows friends to report suicidal behavior under the report option on any piece of content on the social network. Such an action will prompt Facebook to email the suicidal person with a link to a private chat with a crisis representative from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The person who reports the behavior will also receive an email saying Facebook has acted; his or her identity will be kept anonymous, however, from the person reported.

    December 14, 2011 6:43 AM

  25. CRIME Shannan Gilbert’s Body Maybe Found Suffolk County Police Department / AP Photo

    25. Shannan Gilbert’s Body Maybe Found

    The search for Shannan Gilbert may have led police to discover the bodies of 10 victims of a serial killer on Long Island. But Gilbert may not have been a victim herself. Police said Tuesday they have discovered the remains of a body they believe to be Gilbert’s. They were found in an area that suggests, however, that she drowned while attempting to reach a parkway by crossing through swampland. Gilbert ran from a john’s house in May 2010, screaming “They’re trying to kill me,” but police have ruled the john out as a suspect. She then knocked on a neighbor’s door. The neighbor, Gus Collettti, took her inside but she ran when he called the police. He says he last saw her going into toward the swampland where her body was found.

    December 14, 2011 7:09 AM

  26. MIDDLE EAST Syria Arrests U.S.-Born Blogger Reuters / Landov

    26. Syria Arrests U.S.-Born Blogger

    The Syrian government has detained Razan Ghazzawi, a U.S.-born blogger, and charged her trying to incite sectarian strife, spreading false information, and weakening national sentiment—charges that could carry a sentence of 15 years. Ghazzawi had been reporting on human-rights abuses and was arrested Dec. 4 at the border while trying to cross into Jordan for a conference on press freedom. Separately, the Syrian government killed at least 28 people Tuesday, at least two of whom were shot during a funeral procession in the city of Idlib.

    December 14, 2011 6:29 AM

  27. HARDWARE ‘The Help’ Sweeps SAG Nominations Dreamworks

    27. ‘The Help’ Sweeps SAG Nominations

    The Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees this morning, showering praise on the ensemble of The Help. Stars Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, and Octavia Spencer all earned nods for their performances in the 1960s-set drama. Other actors earning notice included Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn, George Clooney for The Descendants, Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar, and—of course—Meryl Streep for her turn as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady. On the TV side, Modern Family led the pack with five citations.

    December 14, 2011 9:43 AM

  28. DéJà VU Payroll-Tax Spat Threatens Shutdown Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    28. Payroll-Tax Spat Threatens Shutdown

    Federal workers may be in for a rough holiday: a government shutdown is looming once again as debate over a payroll-tax extension threatens to derail a separate government-funding compromise. While Republicans and Democrats have mostly agreed to terms on a deal to fund the government through next September, Democrats are withholding their signatures until a compromise is made on the payroll tax. Otherwise, Republicans could pack up for the holidays, forcing the Dems to either let the payroll tax expire or to swallow the version the House passed Tuesday, which President Obama has threatened to veto for linking the tax-extension to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. A few issues also remain to be settled in the government-funding bill: whether to ban Washington, D.C., from using taxpayer money to provide abortion services; whether to reverse an Obama administration decision making it easier for Americans to visit family in Cuba; and whether to block new standards for incandescent light bulbs.

    December 14, 2011 6:28 AM

  29. SCARY

    29. Woman Dies in Elevator Accident

    A woman was killed Wednesday after getting pinned between floors in an office elevator in New York City. The victim, who was not identified, had stepped halfway into the elevator when it started to ascend to the second floor with the doors still open. She was reportedly then pinned between floors and was crushed when the elevator took off before she could fully enter the car, an FDNY spokesman said. Two people in the elevator suffered minor injuries. The Madison Avenue office building where the incident occurred houses Young & Rubicam Brands, one of the world’s largest consumer advertising agencies, but it was not yet known if the woman worked for the firm.

    December 14, 2011 12:19 PM

  30. HEAVYWEIGHTS Christine O’Donnell Endorses Romney Rob Carr / AP Photo

    30. Christine O’Donnell Endorses Romney

    Maybe she can put a spell on Newt. Former Delaware Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night. O’Donnell cited Romney’s executive experience as being the reason for her bid, saying, “I trust him to do the right thing.” As for his supposed flip-flopping? "He's been consistent since he changed his mind," O'Donnell claims. Romney said he is pleased to have O’Donnell’s backing, calling her a “leader in the conservative movement” who agrees with him on the problems of “excessive government.” Romney had endorsed O’Donnell last year and donated $5,000 to her campaign.

    December 14, 2011 9:10 AM

  31. UM … Kayak Defends Yanking Ad on Muslim Show Adam Rose

    31. Kayak Defends Yanking Ad on Muslim Show

    There’s nothing like a corporate blog post to make your company look even worse. The travel website Kayak defended its choice to pull advertisements from TLC’s controversial show All-American Muslim, in a blog post by chief marketing officer Robert Birge. Though Birge said his company handled things “poorly,” he said TLC pitched the show as a fair and balanced look at the Muslim American community, when it was really about the “pre-existing controversy surrounding race, religion and specifically the divide between the Muslim and Christian communities in Dearborn, Mich.” As if that weren’t enough, Birge went on to say that scrapping the ads “comes across as bending to bigotry” and caving to hatred. Finally, he expressed his main issue with the program: “I just thought the show sucked.”

    December 14, 2011 5:02 PM

  32. DEBT CRISIS Euro Loses Value Michel Euler

    32. Euro Loses Value

    European turmoil is taking its toll on the euro, as the region’s currency dropped to below $1.30 today for the first time since January. Today’s valuation was a 10-week low against the yen for the euro, some of whose member states such as Spain and Italy continue to fall deeper into debt. The euro’s loss was Britain’s gain, as the pound rose against its neighbors’ currency for the third day in a row—the longest streak this month. Britain declined to join the rest of the European Union in a recent pact to revise the group’s treaty regarding debt rules. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Parliament that she regrets that the U.K. did not back the new fiscal rules, since Britain is a key EU partner.

    December 14, 2011 7:03 PM