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  1. POLLS Obama Holds Small Lead AP Photo

    1. Obama Holds Small Lead

    Despite a lackluster debate performance, President Obama maintains a slight lead over Mitt Romney. A Reuter/Ipsos poll found Obama leading with 47 percent support among likely voters compared with Romney’s 45 percent. It’s a virtual tie, but it does indicate that Obama is recovering from his debate performance. The vice president of Ipsos said: “Romney received a bump from the first debate, but the very nature of a bump is it recedes again. We’re now seeing Obama regaining a little bit of a foothold as we go into the second debate. They go into the debate on equal footing.” Separate polls found that Obama still holds a narrow lead in the Electoral College.

    October 15, 2012 5:49 PM

  2. BENGHAZI Clinton Takes Blame for Libya Attack Mark Wilson / Getty Images

    2. Clinton Takes Blame for Libya Attack

    The blame game is over. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assumed full responsibility Monday for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya on Sept. 11 that claimed the lives of four Americans. “I want to avoid some political gotcha,” she said in an interview Monday with CNN. She confirmed Vice President Joe Biden’s controversial claim that the White House didn’t know that there were requests made to enhance security in Benghazi, saying that those requests were handled exclusively by the State Department. She said that the mission now is to ensure it never happens again: “We can’t not engage. We cannot retreat.”

    October 15, 2012 8:38 PM

  3. MOBILE Softbank Strikes $20B Sprint Deal AFP / Getty Images

    3. Softbank Strikes $20B Sprint Deal

    Japanese mobile-phone company Softbank announced Monday that it had struck a more than $20 billion deal to buy three quarters of U.S.-based Sprint Nextel. The acquisition is the largest foreign buy ever conducted by a Japanese company. Announced Monday in Tokyo, the purchase has been approved by the boards of both companies, but still requires the approval of regulators in the U.S. and Sprint shareholders. Softbank president Masayoshi Son said the deal made good sense because of America’s massive smartphone market.

    October 15, 2012 6:50 AM

  4. MILITARY AID U.S. to Set Up Libyan Commando Force Mahmud Turkia / AFP / Getty Images

    4. U.S. to Set Up Libyan Commando Force

    The United States has set aside approximately $8 million to help Libya establish a quick-reaction commando force designed to take on Islamic extremists. Last month Congress approved the Obama administration’s plan to shift the money from counterterrorism aid to Pakistan to Libya, and American Special Operations Forces are expected to conduct the training. The program was in the works before Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed in Benghazi. The final plan hasn’t been approved, and many details, including the size and mission of the new unit, still need to be determined.

    October 15, 2012 8:29 PM

  5. OUT OF THIS WORLD Planet With 4 Suns Discovered NASA / JPL-Caltech / AP Photo

    5. Planet With 4 Suns Discovered

    Let’s hope those aliens have some strong SPF. Astronomers have discovered a planet that has four different suns, the first known example of such a phenomenon. The planet is named PH1 because it was discovered in part by volunteers using the website. PH1 circles a pair of stars, but is remarkable for having another pair of stars revolving around it. “All four stars pulling on it creates a very complicated environment,” Dr. Chris Lintott of the University of Oxford says. “Yet there it sits in an apparently stable orbit.” But maybe it needs all those light sources—the planet is about six times the size of Earth.

    October 15, 2012 9:42 PM

  6. CHA-CHING Retail Sales Jump 1.1 Percent Frederic J. Brown / AFP-Getty Images

    6. Retail Sales Jump 1.1 Percent

    Who says expensive gasoline is a bad thing? Retail sales surged 1.1 percent in September from August, better than analysts’ expectations. Sure, higher gas prices accounted for a chunk of the gain. But the data suggest that jobs growth, rising home values, and higher consumer confidence is supporting more robust consumer spending.

    October 15, 2012 8:51 AM

  7. ACCIDENT Michelle Obama’s Motorcade Crashes Jewel Samad / AFP

    7. Michelle Obama’s Motorcade Crashes

    First Lady Michelle Obama was delayed getting to a campaign stop in Ohio Monday after two motorcycles that were part of her motorcade collided with each other. The two officials were transported to a hospital in Columbus following the crash. Mrs. Obama was not injured, and her motorcade continued to the Cuyahoga Community College, where she was scheduled to deliver a “get out the vote” speech.

    October 15, 2012 7:34 PM

  8. ROI

    8. Roth, Shapley Win Econ. Nobel

    In less head-scratching Nobel news, two eminent economists—not continental unions—walked away with the biggest economics prize in the business today. UCLA’s Lloyd Shapley and Stanford’s Alvin Roth won the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work on “stable allocations and the practice of market design.” In real-people-speak, that means they came up with a remarkable algorithm that helps match people and institutions—college applicants, hospital administrators, speed daters—to what will make them happiest.

    October 15, 2012 7:27 AM

  9. VACCINE HPV Shots Don’t Increase Promiscuity John Amis / AP Photo

    9. HPV Shots Don’t Increase Promiscuity

    HPV vaccines do not make girls more likely to engage in promiscuous sexual activity, according to a new study. Researchers tracked whether girls who had been given the vaccine against human papillomavirus became pregnant, sought birth control, or had tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases. The study found no difference on those markers of sexual activity between girls who did not receive the vaccine and those who did when they were 11 or 12 years old. One thousand four hundred girls in Georgia were involved in the study.

    October 15, 2012 10:14 AM

  10. DREAM TEAM Fey and Poehler to Host Golden Globes Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    10. Fey and Poehler to Host Golden Globes

    We all just got one step closer to our collective dream of becoming best friends with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The duo has just been tapped to co-host the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, which will air Jan. 13 on NBC. “Having both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to host this year’s festivities is a major coup,” says NBC exec Paul Telegedy in the understatement of the year. In addition to starring on the NBC sitcoms 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, respectively, Fey and Poehler have previously worked together on Saturday Night Live and the feature film Baby Mama.

    October 15, 2012 8:13 PM

  11. TELL-ALL Lohan to Talk to Barbara Walters Nicholas Kamm / AFP

    11. Lohan to Talk to Barbara Walters

    After a recent blow out with her mom, child star-turned-troublemaker Lindsay Lohan has apparently agreed to an interview with Barbara Walters. TMZ reports that sources close to the actress say Walters reached out to Lohan—and that the two have been close for years. Sources say the interview is slotted for next month, and will focus on comparisons of Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor, who she’s portraying in an upcoming movie.

    October 14, 2012 10:41 PM

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  13. MISDIRECTED Jihadists Obtain Most Syrian Arms AFP / Getty Images

    12. Jihadists Obtain Most Syrian Arms

    Weapons sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to aid Syrian rebels are ending up in the hands of Islamic jihadists, according to officials in the Middle East and the United States. The U.S. has supported a policy of indirect aid to the forces seeking to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad. New information, however, indicates to some officials that American-backed aid may be inadvertently equipping the jihadists and not secular opposition forces. “The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” one American official said.

    October 15, 2012 6:29 AM

  14. USER UNFRIENDLY EU to Reject Google Privacy Changes Peter Muhly, AFP / Getty Images

    13. EU to Reject Google Privacy Changes

    Google has to change its privacy policy, the French data commissioner will tell the search-engine giant Tuesday, according to sources. The ruling reached by European Union commissioners, according to The Guardian, could have wide-ranging impact and could inspire a spat of new sanctions against the company by other regulators. The probe by the French commissioner into Google’s privacy policy came about after users complained about new privacy policies introduced in March. Google did not provide a way for users to opt out of the changes—a decision that regulators now say was a breach of EU law.

    October 15, 2012 7:06 AM

  15. CIVIL WAR Syrian Troops Retake Historic Mosque

    14. Syrian Troops Retake Historic Mosque

    Innocent civilians and ancient sites alike have fallen victim to the latest clashes in Syria. The 12th-century Umayyad Mosque was damaged by fire on Saturday as rebels and troops fought over the historic Aleppo mosque, which the government army has reportedly regained control over. Aleppo is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but parts of its medieval marketplace were already destroyed in September. The head of the U.N. agency asked both sides to be careful and warned the Umayyad Mosque is “severely endangered.” In an exceptionally bloody day, opposition activists say 220 were killed across the country on Sunday.

    October 14, 2012 9:58 PM

  16. SAFETY Syrian Refugees in Turkey Tops 100K Manu Brabo / AP Photo

    15. Syrian Refugees in Turkey Tops 100K

    More than 100,000 refugees of Bashar Al-Assad’s bloodshed in Syria now reside in camps in the south of Turkey, according to the country’s disaster-management agency. The number announced Monday exceeds a limit past what leaders in the country previously said would prove difficult for them to take in more refugees. The 100,363 Syrians who have sought safety in Turkey are spread across more than a dozen camps along the southern border shared by the two countries. Over the weekend both nations banned air traffic from the other through its airspace.

    October 15, 2012 6:38 AM

  17. OOPS Jackson Jr. Being Investigated Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    16. Jackson Jr. Being Investigated

    Jesse Jackson Jr.’s reelection might not go according to plan now that the Chicago congressman is being investigated for improper use of campaign money. A federal probe is looking into allegations that Jackson allegedly used the money to decorate his home. The Jackson family recently put their D.C. house on the market, apparently to pay for medical bills. Jackson is currently undergoing treatment for bipolar depression and is on leave from office but is up for reelection this November.

    October 14, 2012 9:02 PM

  18. OUTBREAK Meningitis Cases Break 200 Pouya Dianat / AP Photo

    17. Meningitis Cases Break 200

    The number of people diagnosed with fungal meningitis has risen to 205 across 14 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday. The outbreak has been linked to tainted steroid injections produced by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. The company recalled its products, but more than 13,000 people may have used the medication. The death toll from the outbreak still stands at 15. Tennessee leads the country with the most cases—53 in total so far and six deaths. Michigan has also been hit hard with 41 cases and three deaths, according to the CDC.

    October 14, 2012 7:08 PM

  19. VOTE Libya Elects New Prime Minister Georges Gobet / AFP / Getty Images

    18. Libya Elects New Prime Minister

    Libya’s General National Congress elected Ali Zidan as the country’s new prime minister on Saturday. A former member of the legislative body and a human rights lawyer, Zidan eked out the win, receiving 93 votes, with his rival Mohammed Al-Harari getting 85. Just a few days ago, the congress sacked Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur after he failed to win approval for his cabinet. Abushagur took the helm just after U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, and had been in office for less than a month. His ousting is seen as a sign that the country’s fractious political atmosphere will be difficult to change.

    October 14, 2012 4:44 PM

  20. BREAK UP Russell Crowe and Wife Split Lisa Maree Williams

    19. Russell Crowe and Wife Split

    It’s not a good week for celebrities with long-standing marriages. Russell Crowe and his wife, Danielle Spencer, are reportedly no longer together. The two met on the set of the 1990 movie The Crossing and have two children together. Could an affair be behind the breakup? The Aussie musician is rumored to have been spotted with her dancing partner from Australia’s Dancing With the Stars.

    October 14, 2012 4:07 PM

  21. GERONIMO! Baumgartner Free-Falls 24 Miles Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

    20. Baumgartner Free-Falls 24 Miles

    He made it! Daredevil Felix Baumgartner survived a leap from 24 miles above the earth Sunday. He rode a balloon to an altitude of 120,000 feet this afternoon, then stepped out of the capsule and free-fell most of the distance back to earth—the highest jump ever accomplished by man. On the way down, he reached speeds in excess of 700 miles per hour and may have become the first sky diver to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner broke the jump record set in 1960, when Joe Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet. Some previous attempts to break the record have ended in death.

    October 14, 2012 2:30 PM

  22. EMPEROR UNCLOTHED DSK Seeks to Forge New Image Sergei Chuzavkov / AP Photo

    21. DSK Seeks to Forge New Image

    It’s a novel variation on an old lesson—a room full of beautiful naked people is probably too good to be true. Disgraced former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will likely strive to keep that in mind as he stages a very public transformation from libertine to respectable citizen. “I was too out of step with French society,” Strauss-Kahn said in an interview with a French magazine. “I was wrong.” Nevertheless, he’s trying to regain his stride as he embarks on a lecture tour and work with a new consulting company.

    October 14, 2012 1:53 PM

  23. OBIT
 Arlen Specter Dies, Age 82 Alex Brandon / AP Photo

    22. Arlen Specter Dies, Age 82

    Longtime Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was confirmed dead by his son Sunday, according to The Associated Press. The 82-year-old legislator succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at his Philadelphia home. Specter first made his mark on Washington as an assistant counsel for the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He served two terms as Philadelphia district attorney, but lost a bid to become mayor of the city in 1967. He ran for a Senate seat in 1980 and took office the next year. He would serve for three decades. He briefly considered a presidential run in 1995, but dropped out after a few months.

    October 14, 2012 1:09 PM

  24. STORM

    23. Hurricane Paul Forms in Pacific

    A tropical-storm watch has been issued in Baja California after Hurricane Paul formed off the coast on Mexico on Monday. With maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, the storm was more than 500 miles southwest of the Baja peninsula on Monday morning. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it expects the storm to lose force Tuesday. In the Atlantic Ocean, forecasters said they expected Tropical Storm Rafael to gain in force throughout the day and potentially reach hurricane strength late Monday.

    October 15, 2012 6:51 AM

  25. HIZZONER Bloomberg Backs MD Gay Marriage Brian Ach / AP Photo

    24. Bloomberg Backs MD Gay Marriage

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated $250,000 to a Maryland gay-marriage ballot initiative after a bill legalizing same-sex unions was signed into law in March of this year by Gov. Martin O’Malley. Bloomie has continued to support the right for same-sex couples to wed in the state, penning a letter to Maryland voters urging them to check yes next to a ballot initiative affirming the legislation in November. The donations are chump change for the billionaire mayor, but it’s hardly his first such gift—he backed Republican lawmakers critical to passing New York state’s marriage bill.

    October 15, 2012 6:58 AM

  26. CAPSIZED Costa Concordia Hearings Begin AFP / Getty Images

    25. Costa Concordia Hearings Begin

    A series of pretrial hearings into the Costa Concordia cruise-liner disaster began Monday in Italy. Among the hundreds of people in attendance was the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, whose personal conduct during and after the disaster has been at the center of the probe into what went wrong and when. “We came to see Schettino,” said one German passenger who attended the hearings. “I don’t know if the Italian justice system can be trusted, but I hope so.” The Costa Concordia, with 4,229 passengers on board, struck a reef in January and tipped completely on its side.

    October 15, 2012 6:52 AM

  27. DIPLOMACY New Envoy Says U.S. Supports Libya Ismail Zitouny, Reuters / Landov

    26. New Envoy Says U.S. Supports Libya

    In his first comments since arriving in Libya, new envoy Lawrence Pope said the United States remains “deeply committed to supporting the aspirations of the Libyan people.” Pope was appointed envoy after Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi along with three other Americans in September. Pope said that the U.S. would “continue on the path” forged by Stevens and work to help the Libyan people “build a sovereign, stable, and economically prosperous nation.” Pope said the U.S. would track down and punish those who carried out the attack in Benghazi.

    October 15, 2012 8:41 AM

  28. NAIL-BITER Race Remains Tight, New Polls Show AP Photo

    27. Race Remains Tight, New Polls Show

    Be prepared to keep nibbling your nails down through November. Despite both a presidential and vice-presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney are running virtually neck and neck in their race for the White House. A new poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News shows that the two candidates have seen no change in their standing among voters since the same poll was conducted two weeks ago. Forty-nine percent of likely voters surveyed in the poll say they will support the president, and 46 percent say they will vote for Romney.

    October 15, 2012 6:32 AM

  29. PRESSURE E.U. Toughens Iran Sanctions Virginia Mayo / AP Photo

    28. E.U. Toughens Iran Sanctions

    Putting its shiny, new Nobel Peace Prize to good use, the European Union announced plans to toughen sanctions against Iran as a result of the country’s continued efforts to pursue its disputed nuclear program. The new sanctions, which are the most far-reaching since the ban on oil imports in July, ban trade in finance, metal, and natural-gas sectors. They also make business transactions in other areas more difficult, prohibiting “all transactions” between Iranian and European banks. The European Union’s foreign-policy chief said, “We will continue to keep up the pressure,” adding that the sanctions policy “is important because it’s quite clearly having an effect.”

    October 15, 2012 1:38 PM

  30. CORRUPT Koch Sued for False Imprisonment Bloomberg

    29. Koch Sued for False Imprisonment

    Talk about giving your family a bad name. William Koch, the billionaire brother of Tea Party funders and Romney supporters David and Charles Koch, has been sued by a former senior executive at his Oxbow energy company for false imprisonment. Kirby Martensen has alleged he was held hostage for two days at Koch’s remote ranch in Colorado, after Koch discovered Martensen’s concern over the company’s plan to evade taxes. Martensen said he was brought to Koch’s ranch on false pretenses and was questioned. The complaint filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court says Koch “implemented a plan to intimidate and discredit” Martensen in order to keep him from spilling the company’s secrets and “damage his credibility.”

    October 15, 2012 2:26 PM

  31. POST-WAR Iraq Sees Surge in Birth Defects Muhannad Fala'ah / Getty Images

    30. Iraq Sees Surge in Birth Defects

    A “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war has been linked to military assaults, according to a new study. Reports of increased miscarriages, lead and mercury poisoning, congenital heart problems, brain defects, and malformed limbs appear to be worse in children born in Fallujah, where the U.S. launched two devastating military assaults eight years ago. American forces admitted to using white phosphorous shells during the bombardment, though they denied using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded.

    October 15, 2012 12:03 PM

  32. MALALA Pakistani Girl Airlifted to Britain Aamir Qureshi, AFP / Getty Images

    31. Pakistani Girl Airlifted to Britain

    Teenager Malala Yousafzai was airlifted to Britain on Monday to receive “prolonged treatment” one week after being shot in the head by the Taliban. Pakistani doctors decided to send Yousafzai abroad for care because of the extent of her injuries and the length of time her recovery may take. She was transported out of the country aboard a special air ambulance that arrived in Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates. Doctors said they decided to transport her Monday “during this time window whilst her condition was optimal and before any unforeseen complication had set in.”

    October 15, 2012 6:47 AM

  33. MYTHMAKING George Romney 1964 RNC Tale Refuted AP Photo

    32. George Romney 1964 RNC Tale Refuted

    An oft-repeated tale about how George Romney charged out of the 1964 Republican National Convention in a principled stand for civil rights ain’t necessarily so, according to a BuzzFeed report. The story has been repeated in numerous profiles, articles, columns, and Mitt biography The Real Romney. “I don’t remember him walking out, no,” former George Romney aide Walt DeVries said. In fact, the onetime Michigan governor stayed until the end of the 1964 party gathering, seconding Barry Goldwater’s nomination. “Every time I see that quote from Mitt, I just don’t remember,” DeVries said. “I’ve searched my mind, and I think I would have.”

    October 15, 2012 6:35 AM