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  1. PANIC New Zealand Rattled by Quake Landov

    1. New Zealand Rattled by Quake

    Only 10 months after a devastating earthquake that killed nearly 200, the New Zealand city of Christchurch was struck by several quakes Friday. The earthquake, initially measured to be 5.8 magnitude, hit in the midst of the Christmas shopping rush, sending people into a panic. Several strong aftershocks were also reported. There were instances of rock falls, but no casualties. Dozens of people are being treated for injuries, as well as panic attacks. The previous quake in February was 6.3 magnitude, cost $20 billion, and killed 182.

    December 22, 2011 11:29 PM

  2. Deal? House Caves on Payroll Tax Alex Wong / Getty Images

    2. House Caves on Payroll Tax

    It's official: House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that Republicans will accept the Senate deal to extend the payroll-tax cut for two months. The House will vote on the plan Friday in a "pro forma" session that will require affirmation by unanimous consent only, so House members do not have to return to Washington to vote. The new agreement also adds a measure to ease the burden on small businesses implementing the tax, Boehner said. The reversal comes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to appoint conferees to a committee on the payroll tax. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Obama urged House Republicans to pass the extension today. 

    December 22, 2011 5:30 PM

  3. VIOLENT PROTESTS Egypt’s Prime Minister Begs for Peace Middle East News Agency / AP Photo

    3. Egypt’s Prime Minister Begs for Peace

    Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri pleaded for peace in his country which has been ravaged by violent protests against military rule for nearly two months.  In a news conference today, the premier, who was appointed by Egypt’s military rulers, complained that he’s been rejected by other civilian political leaders because of his connection with the military. “Some of the senior colleagues in politics whom I completely respect, it has come to the point that when they ask to sit with the prime minister of Egypt, they ask to do it outside of the official building as if they’re meeting the high commissioner of the occupation,” he said. At least 17 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in recent clashes between military police and demonstrators following elections in which the military strategically put itself in a position to hold on to power.

    December 22, 2011 11:37 PM

  4. MEA CULPA U.S. Admits Blame in Pakistan Strike Asif Hassan, AFP / Getty Images

    4. U.S. Admits Blame in Pakistan Strike

    The Pentagon admits responsiblity for the air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border last month, saying "inadequate co-ordination" with Pakistani officers and reliance on "incorrect mapping" led to the error. The investigation concluded that U.S. and Afghan commanders incorrectly believed that there were no Pakistani troops in the area before they struck. The findings, though humiliating, could help begin to repair damaged diplomatic ties. They contradict earlier U.S. account, some of which blamed Pakistan for giving an all-clear.

    December 22, 2011 7:35 AM

  5. REPUBLICANS Bush 41 Backs Romney Pat Sullivan / AP Photo

    5. George H.W. Bush Backs Mitt Romney

    Former President George H.W. Bush threw his support behind Mitt Romney, an old family friend, on Thursday—but he stopped short of giving an official endorsement. Bush called Romney “a fine person” and said the former Massachusetts governor is “mature and responsible—not a bomb thrower.” While Bush wouldn’t speculate on any “bomb throwers” in the race, he did admit to a “conflict” with Newt Gingrich, recalling an incident when the former congressman was supposed to appear at a Rose Garden press conference when Bush had to renege on the “no new taxes” pledge, but instead Gingrich went to Capitol Hill to lobby against the president’s bill. Bush admitted he liked his fellow Texan, Rick Perry, but said Perry didn’t “seem to be going anywhere; he’s not surging forward.”

    December 22, 2011 2:53 PM

  6. DRUG WAR Mexican State Fires Corrupt Police Force Felix Marquez / AP Photo

    6. Mexican State Fires Corrupt Police Force

    Fed up with the police force’s corruption and inability to temper drug-related crime the Mexican state of Veracruz fired every police officer in its largest city. 900 officers and 100 administrative workers were let go in the port of Veracruz Wednesday, as Mexico’s Navy took over the city’s security. The mass firing was one of the biggest initiatives to clean up local police corruption stemming from the country’s drug war that’s killed at least 46,000 people since 2006.

    December 22, 2011 7:58 PM

  7. CHECKUP Arab League Monitors Enter Syria AP Photo

    7. Arab League Monitors Enter Syria

    As Syria’s crackdown gets even more brutal, a team of Arab League observers has finally entered the nation in an attempt to broker a peace deal. The small team will lay the groundwork for a larger group of 150 observers. They’ll be charged with enforcing an Arab League mandate that calls for President Assad to end violence against citizens and release political dissidents from prison. Estimates of the crackdown’s death toll hit 6,200 on Thursday, according to British-based human-rights group Avaaz. Over the past two days alone, up to 250 people have reportedly been killed for defying the regime.

    December 22, 2011 1:18 PM

  8. SUPPORT U.S. Embassy Backs Biden on Taliban Win McNamee / Getty Images

    8. U.S. Embassy Backs Biden on Taliban

    The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement Thursday clarifying Vice President Biden’s recent comments in Newsweek about the Taliban. “What the Vice President said was that the Taliban is not necessarily our enemy if they lay down arms and renounce violence, break ties with al Qaeda and accept Afghanistan’s constitution, especially concerning women and minorities,” said U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker in the statement. “The Taliban has a choice: Continue to fight or join Afghan society by accepting those conditions.” In the same statement, Department of Defense spokesman Capt. John Kirby said that while the Taliban continue to attack U.S. forces, “we consider that is a force we are going to deal with.” “That said, they have political ambitions, and that’s why there’s a reconciliation process being led by the Afghan government, with the support of the State Department,” Kirby said.

    December 22, 2011 12:06 PM

  9. KNOCKED DOWN Court: Stop Challenging Obama, Birthers Obama Presidential Campaign / AP Photo

    9. Court: Stop Challenging Obama, Birthers

    None of the dozens so-called birthers can take President Obama to court to answer their claims that he wasn’t born in the U.S., a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The three-judge panel said the birthers didn’t have the right to sue President Obama because none of them have suffered an injury at his expense. Although 2008 Independent Party candidate Alan Keyes was among the plaintiffs, the court ruled that even former presidential candidates cannot force Obama to come to court. The judges also noted in their ruling that aside from the lack of standing by the plaintiffs, the political question of Obama’s legitimacy as president is beyond their control as a court.

    December 22, 2011 6:08 PM

  10. REALITY VICTORY Melanie Amaro Wins "X Factor" X Factor / FOX

    10. Melanie Amaro Wins "X Factor"

    Melanie Amaro took home X Factor’s $5 million prize tonight in the finale of the singing competition’s first season. The 19-year-old was kicked off the competition and then brought back later on in the season. Following the announcement, the show’s judge and producer Simon Cowell said, “It couldn’t have been a better ending, the whole story, and the fact that everybody thinks it was something we put together for TV, me bringing her back. It wasn’t. It was a genuine mistake, the irony is she actually won.”

    December 23, 2011 12:05 AM

  11. UH- OH Source: New BlackBerries Don’t Work

    11. Source: New BlackBerries Don’t Work

    This is not the news that Research in Motion wants to get out in the holiday season. A well-placed source told the blog Boy Genius Report on Thursday that the company’s delay of the BlackBerry 10 is because the latest edition of the smartphone doesn’t work—despite what the CEOs have said. “RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason: they don’t have a working product yet,” said the source. RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie said last week the BlackBerry 10 was being delayed because the company is waiting on a new LTE chipset—something the source said is a lie.

    December 22, 2011 5:10 PM

  12. WHADDAYA WANT FROM ME? Adam Lambert Arrested in Finland Charles Sykes / AP Photo

    12. Adam Lambert Arrested in Finland

    American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert was arrested Thursday night in Finland, after reportedly getting in an argument with his boyfriend, Finnish Big Brother contestant Sauli Koskinen. The dispute reportedly began outside a Helsinki bar and spilled out onto the street, where the fight allegedly caused police to arrest the pair. They were reportedly questioned and released. The pair seemed to be taking it in their stride: Lambert tweeted that he and Koskinen are “laughing about it,” and Koskinen posted to his blog that “the evening was pretty fun and the hangover is already gone. Yay!” But there was a postscript that hinted things were not so funny: “By the way, paparazzi, including those at the door of the police station … Go home already!”

    December 22, 2011 1:47 PM

  13. UNPOPULAR Kris Humphries Most Hated NBA Player Al Bello / Getty Images

    13. Kris Humphries Most Hated NBA Player

    Kris Humphries may never outlive his 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian. He is the most hated player in the NBA, according to a new Nielsen poll. Fifty percent of respondents said they didn’t like him, making him even more unpopular than LeBron James, who was disliked by 48 percent. It was noticeable Wednesday when Humphries, the Nets forward, took the court against the Knicks in a preseason game: He was booed upon introduction and every time he touched the ball thereafter. His former brother-in-law, Lamar Odom, also made the unpopular list, with 21 percent of respondents disliking him.

    December 22, 2011 6:42 AM

  14. EUROPE France: Remove Bad Breast Implants Michel Euler / AP Photo

    14. France: Remove Bad Breast Implants

    French media is reporting that the government will order thousands of women this week to remove defective silicone breast implants. The move comes after a French company was shut down last year for making implants with cheap silicone normally used in electronics. By that point, 30,000 women in France had already received such implants, plus another 40,000 women in Britain. The bad implants also carry a high chance of rupturing, and panic peaked this week when French health officials announced that at least eight women who received them developed cancer (though no connection between silicone and breast cancer has been proven.) At least 2,000 French women have already filed police complaints. Another 250 British women are suing the U.K. clinics that gave them the bad implants.

    December 22, 2011 6:35 AM

  15. IN COURT Manning Defense Makes Final Pitch Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

    15. Manning Defense Makes Final Pitch

    Pfc. Bradley Manning's defense is no longer claiming their client is innocent, as the two sides make their closing arguments in the weeklong pretrial hearing. Instead Manning’s lawyers argue that the prosecution overcharged him in an attempt to pressure him into pleading guilty. The prosecution responded that the charge of aiding the enemy is justified because of evidence that information Manning allegedly gave to WikiLeaks made its way into the hands of al Qaeda. The defense asked the investigating officer to throw out the aiding-the-enemy charge, reducing Manning’s maximum penalty to 30 years instead of life.

    December 22, 2011 12:57 PM

  16. LIBYA Lockerbie Bomber Gives 'Last Interview' Reuters / Landov

    16. Lockerbie Bomber Gives 'Last Interview'

    After this, we will hear from Lockerbie Bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi no more. In what he insists will be his last interview before he dies, al-Megrahi tell the UK Press Association, "I am an innocent man. I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family." He claims to have never met or seen the witness shopkeeper who helped identify him at his trial. Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds after he was diagnosed with cancer. However, he has outlived his three-month prognosis at the time.

    December 22, 2011 6:24 AM

  17. SURPRISES

    17. Conjoined Twins Born in Brazil

    A 25-year-old woman in Brazil has given birth to conjoined twins (though the tabloid press isn’t being very polite about it, calling the twins “a baby with two heads”). While the twins have separate brains and spines, they share a heart, lungs, liver, and pelvis; they weighed 9.9 pounds at birth. The mother was poor and had no ultrasounds during pregnancy; she found out about her children’s condition just minutes before she gave birth. She has named them Emanoel and Jesus, and both appear to be healthy and feeding.

    December 22, 2011 6:41 AM

  18. Terrorism At Least 63 Killed in Iraq Bombings Hadi Mizban / AP Photo

    18. At Least 63 Killed in Iraq Bombings

    At least 63 people died in Baghdad Thursday after a dozen bombs went off around the city, mostly during rush hour. It’s the first major violence since American troops pulled out of the country earlier this week, though there have already been troubling political signs as well: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s arrest of a Sunni leader and threat to abandon a power-sharing government. No one has yet taken responsibility for the attacks, though they appear similar to previous attacks by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

    December 22, 2011 6:18 AM

  19. CORRUPTION

    19. CA Dems Tampered on Redistricting

    California Democrats may have a scandal on their hands: After the state voted in 2010 to vest redistricting power in a citizens' commission, state Democrats held secret meetings to figure out how they might influence the commission to protect their incumbents. "Never say anything AT ALL about redistricting—no speculation, no predictions, NOTHING," wrote one Democratic aide in an email about a secret meeting between Democratic lawmakers. Democrats sent plans to several community meetings, including in one case a woman who claimed to come from an Asian community in the San Gabriel Valley who was, in fact, a lobbyist born in rural Idaho and residing at the time in Sacramento. Democrats were largely successful in 2010 in achieving their goals. "Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to DC," read one Democratic memo when redistricting was nearly finished. "This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region."

    December 22, 2011 6:28 AM

  20. TESTY Ron Paul Storms Out of CNN Interview Elise Amendola / AP Photo

    20. Ron Paul Storms Out of CNN Interview

    A few months back, Ron Paul’s supporters complained he wasn’t getting enough media coverage. My, how things have changed! The GOP presidential candidate stormed out of a CNN interview, saying he was sick of being “pestered” by reporters about racist newsletters that were sent in his name during the 1990s. When CNN’s Gloria Borger asked Paul if he ever read the newsletters, he snapped back, “Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years… I didn’t write them, I disavow them.” The usually even-tempered Congressman grew more irritated as Borger further pressed the issue, saying there were reports he made “almost a million dollars” off the newsletters in 1993. The two went back and forth before Paul took off his mic and walked off the stage. Borger later explained, “He thinks it’s been asked and answered…it’s clearly a question he’d rather not be asked.”

    December 21, 2011 9:03 PM

  21. JERKS GOP Rep: First Lady Has ‘Large Posterior’ Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    21. GOP Rep: First Lady Has ‘Large Posterior’

    He must have been bored of talking about the payroll tax. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was overhead in an airport lounge by a Democratic operative talking about Michelle Obama’s derrière. According to Fishbowl DC, Sensenbrenner was heard speaking into his cellphone, saying he recently responded to a woman who praised the first lady by saying, “She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.” Reached for comment, a Sensenbrenner aide told Fishbowl DC "he plans to contact the first lady’s office to apologize for his comments."

    December 22, 2011 6:38 AM

  22. UNDER PRESSURE Rove Tells Boehner to Cave on Tax Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

    22. Rove Tells Boehner to Cave on Tax

    How many more days of criticism will the House GOP endure over its failure to pass a payroll-tax extension? The latest turn of the screw: GOP star strategist Karl Rove publicly urged House Speaker John Boehner to cave and pass the bill, saying the party has already "lost the optics on it." Meanwhile, in interviews with 10 current and former congressional Republican advisers, The Washington Post notes a “recurring critique” of House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor for failing to warn their Senate counterparts of House opposition—a failure that allowed nearly all Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the extension. A top House GOP aide called the Senate bill “disastrously bad” and say the House rank and file want leadership to better defend their position.

    December 22, 2011 10:00 AM

  23. DOCKSIDE Navy Lesbians Share Kiss U.S. Navy / Landov

    23. Navy Lesbian Couple Shares Kiss

    In case you hadn't realized "don’t ask, don’t tell" is over: two lesbian sailors became the first same-sex couple to have a dockside-homecoming kiss. Marissa Gaeta, who was returning from being at sea for 80 days, won a contest after buying 50 raffle tickets. Her partner, Citlalic Snell, was waiting at the Virginia Beach docks for the lip lock. The Associated Press said that the others waiting for their loved ones did not know that the lesbian couple would partake in the moment.

    December 21, 2011 10:48 PM

  24. FAMILY MATTERS Romney: I’d Deport Obama’s Uncle Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

    24. Romney: I’d Deport Obama’s Uncle

    This election battle is getting personal. Asked on a Boston radio show if he would deport President Obama’s uncle—a Kenyan whose case is pending in a Massachusetts court—GOP candidate Mitt Romney answered “yes.” Onyango Obama, 67, was detained on charges of violating an order to return to Kenya 20 years ago after being pulled over for drunk driving in August. He’s the half-brother of Obama’s late father. Romney didn’t recognize the name at first, but said he believes deportation laws should be enforced.

    December 22, 2011 9:04 AM

  25. CONGRATULATIONS  Anthony Weiner Becomes a Dad Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    25. Anthony Weiner Becomes a Dad

    Finally some good news for Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner. Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave birth to a baby boy, 10 days before the New Year’s Eve due date. The couple’s relationship survived Weiner’s tweeting nude pictures of himself to several young women this summer. Weiner’s political career, however, did not. He resigned and his New York congressional seat went to Republican Bob Turner in a special election.

    December 22, 2011 10:37 AM

  26. MIRACLE Arizona Student Rescued After 9 Days Susan Montoya Bryan / AP Photo

    26. Arizona Student Rescued After 9 Days

    An Arizona State University student was rescued Wednesday after her car was stuck in the snow for nine days in a remote part of Arizona. Lauren Weinberg, 23, was seen leaving her mother’s house on Dec. 11, and she said her car then became stuck in the snow. Weinberg, who did not have a heavy coat or blankets, had two candy bars with her, and she told a sheriff’s deputy that she put snow in a water bottle atop her car so it would melt and she would have water to drink. Other than being cold, hungry, and thirsty, Weinberg reportedly was in good condition, lucid and speaking coherently. In a separate incident, a Texas family was rescued in New Mexico after responders dug through four feet of snow and ice that had buried the Higgins’s family car since Monday.

    December 22, 2011 1:29 PM

  27. CAMPAIGN Perry’s Wife Stars in New Ad

    27. Perry’s Wife Stars in New Ad

    Rick Perry has gotten people talking about his ad again. In a 30-second ad released in Iowa on Wednesday, Perry’s wife Anita tells the “old-fashioned, American” story of her marriage—but her husband’s entrance in the ad has everyone buzzing. “I married my high-school sweetheart,” Anita Perry says. “We grew up in small towns, with Christian values, and we know Washington, D.C., could use some of that.” After she describes her husband’s time in the Air Force, he jumps in from nowhere to say “I’m Rick Perry, and I really approve this message.” The ad landed the same day that Mitt Romney released an ad starring his wife, Ann, who says, “If you really want to know how a person will operate, look at how they live their life”—a direct hit at Newt Gingrich.

    December 22, 2011 11:24 AM

  28. BLAST FROM THE PAST Ron Paul Liked His Newsletter in 1995

    28. Ron Paul Liked His Newsletter in 1995

    Ron Paul’s claim that he didn’t know about the racist content of the newsletter published under his name in the 1980s and ’90s is looking shaky a day after he stormed out of an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger. “Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years, 22 years ago?” he told Borger when asked about the newsletter. People did, and they found a 1995 C-Span interview in which he described the newsletter as a passion project after his career in Congress, a “political type of business, investment newsletter.” And in a 1996 interview with the Dallas Morning News, he didn’t deny authorship of the racist statements but said they had to be read in context.

    December 22, 2011 1:12 PM