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  1. CONTROVERSY Senate: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Inaccurate Jonathan Olley / Sony Pictures

    1. Senators: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Inaccurate

    Dianne Feinstein and other senators have drafted a letter bashing Sony for portraying torture in the upcoming film Zero Dark Thirty. The movie, which claims to be based on true events and had CIA cooperation during the making, depicts torture as an instrument of interrogation that was used in the manhunt. In a letter to Sony CEO Michael Lynton, the senators write: “Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.” Too late now, senators.

    December 19, 2012 9:55 PM

  2. Let It Snow Winter Storms Coming Across U.S. Brennan Linsley/AP

    2. Winter Storms Coming Across U.S.

    The weather outside is frightful and so, too, will be your holiday travel plans. A major winter storm moving across much of the country Wednesday is threatening to throw a snowy wrench in the plans of millions of Americans prepping to head home for the holidays. Currently, there are winter-storm watches or warnings in 16 states, with Colorado, Kansas, and Iowa facing blizzard warnings. The Pacific Northwest is already digging out of a strong storm that left roads a mess. Come Thursday, heavy snow is expected in Chicago, with the worst weather expected from the Great Lakes to New England on Friday. Delays are expected…everywhere. Happy travels!

    December 19, 2012 1:49 PM

  3. STEPPING DOWN State Dept. Security Chief Resigns STR / AFP / Getty Images

    3. State Dept. Security Chief Resigns

    A report finding management failures are to blame for a lack of security at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, resulted in the resignation of four State Department officials Wednesday. The security before the attack that left four dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was called “grossly inadequate” by the board’s co-chairman. Sources tell Politico the officials resigning are Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security; Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security; and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state.

    December 19, 2012 11:15 PM

  4. Fiscal Cliff

    4. Stocks Fall as Talks Stall

    U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after a brief two-session rally. Stocks began retreating after negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner hit another impasse. Obama called GOP actions “puzzling” adding that Republicans find it “very hard” to say yes to him, while a spokesman for Boehner described the White House as “irrational.” After a two-month high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.99 points and the S&P 500 Index lost 10.98 points to 1,435.

    December 19, 2012 8:53 PM


    5. Newtown Leaves Nancy Lanza Off Victims' List

    In the omnipresent vigils and speeches commemorating the victims of the Newtown massacre, one name remains conspicuously absent: Nancy Lanza. According to new interviews with Newton residents, the shooter’s mother has been subject of scorn and sympathy in the town, where residents either blame her for her son’s actions, or see her as another innocent victim. Nancy was known to have trained her son on proper gun handling, which many feel was wrong, given his behavior. “I am feeling that there is more anger toward the mother than there is toward the son,” one Newtown parent said.

    December 19, 2012 9:54 PM

  6. DEALS Negotiators Agree on Defense Deal Hisham Ibrahim / Getty Images

    6. Negotiators Agree on Defense Deal

    The House and Senate have agreed on something: $640.7 billion for defense spending in the current fiscal year will go to the Pentagon and related programs at other agencies. The budget would benefit defense contractors, calls for added economic sanctions for Iran and includes $88.5 billion for the Afghan war. The measure will get a final approval at the House and Senate before being given to Obama to sign, but it’s still possible he could veto the decision.  On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called on lawmakers to cut $74 billion in “needless” spending on weapons—to no avail.

    December 19, 2012 4:12 PM

  7. REACTION Obama: We Need Gun Restrictions Win McNamee/Getty

    7. President Calls for Gun Control

    President Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Biden would be leading the push for stricter gun laws. In a speech at the White House that coincided with some of the funerals for the victims of the Newtown school shooting, President Obama insisted that these attacks are “violence that we cannot accept as routine.” Obama said he would “urge Congress” to take on gun-control legislation no later than January—especially a return to the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004. At the end of the press conference, ABC News’s Jake Tapper noted that this is not the first time there has been gun violence in Obama’s four years in office, asking, “Where have you been?” to which the president defended his record on gun control, saying, “I don’t think I’ve been on vacation.”

    December 19, 2012 12:12 PM

  8. BUSTED Report: Sam Donaldson Arrested for DUI Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

    8. Report: Sam Donaldson Arrested for DUI

    It looks like the end of 2012 isn’t going so well for Sam Donaldson. According to TMZ, the famed ABC anchor and former White House correspondent was reportedly arrested Dec. 1 for driving under the influence in Delaware. Donaldson was pulled over after allegedly driving onto the shoulder of the road. Local authorities said that Donaldson, who reportedly failed a sobriety test, was cooperative during the arrest and when he was taken to the police station for booking.

    December 19, 2012 3:28 PM

  9. MY SO-CALLED BABY Claire Danes Gives Birth Kevork Djansezian/Getty

    9. Claire Danes Gives Birth

    Soon, the star of Homeland will be taking some precious cargo, well, home. Actors Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy welcomed their first child into the Hollywood world Monday, a representative has confirmed. The baby boy, whose sex was kept a secret by Danes until now, is named Cyrus Michael Christopher Dancy. Danes, who won an Emmy this year for her role in the hit show Homeland, told People magazine she looking forward to using the break between seasons get “to know our new Dancy.” That’s going to be one cute kid.

    December 19, 2012 8:40 PM

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  11. SURPRISE? Obama Time’s Person of the Year Bill Pugliano/Getty

    10. Obama Time’s Person of the Year

    At least it’s better than when Time named “you” the person of the year, right? Time magazine named President Obama 2012 “person of the year,” managing editor Rick Stengel said Wednesday. The editors choose the honor for the person—or sometimes group—that is considered to have had the greatest impact during the past year. Last year, amid the Arab Spring uprising and Occupy Wall Street in the U.S., Time chose “the Protester.” The title doesn’t always come with honor, as the magazine has been known to pick those famous for notoriety, such as Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. This year, Time took a poll with six frontrunners, but Obama didn’t win that contest—readers chose Kim Jong-un.

    December 19, 2012 8:06 AM

  12. FAR OUT

    11. Livable Planet Possibly Discovered

    See you in 12 light-years. International astronomers said on Tuesday that they had found a possibly habitable planet just 12 light-years from Earth. Astronomers said that the nearby star, Tau Ceti, has five planets circling it, and one of those planets is in the “habitable zone” where water can exist on its surface. “This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many potentially habitable planets," said Steven Vogt, the U.C. Santa Cruz astronomer on the international team. The telescopes used to observe the planets are located in Hawaii, Chile, and Australia.

    December 19, 2012 7:35 AM

  13. SELLING PHOTOS Instagram Selling Photos ‘Not Our Intention’ THOMAS COEX

    12. Instagram: Selling Photos ‘Not Our Intention’

    Instagrammers, relax. After the photo-sharing site’s controversial new Terms of Service sparked outrage Tuesday, the company’s co-founder Kevin Systrom spoke out to clarify concerns. Systrom assured users that it is not the company’s “intention” to sell personal photos, or to use them as advertisements. He placed full blame for the misunderstanding on Instagram itself for “confusing” language in the Terms of Service. The purpose of the changes, he says, are to “create meaningful ways to help [users] discover new and interesting accounts, while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.” Hmm, why are we still suspicious?

    December 18, 2012 5:49 PM

  14. BAD NEWS U.N. Pulls Anti-Polio Workers Mohammad Sajjad/AP

    13. U.N. Pulls Anti-Polio Workers

    The United Nations said on Wednesday that it would scale back its anti-polio vaccination effort in Pakistan after three more health workers were shot, two fatally. Eight health workers have been killed in the past 48 hours, and the U.N. spokesman said all workers had been pulled off the streets. No group has claimed responsibility, but the Taliban have issued threats before against the U.N.’s anti-polio campaign, although a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban insisted the group is not responsible for the attacks. Pakistan is one of just three countries left in the world where polio is rampant, and the government has tried to insist on the vaccination program despite backlash from the hardline Islamic community.

    December 19, 2012 7:17 AM

  15. TRY, TRY AGAIN Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff ‘Plan B’ Stalls J. Scott Applewhite/AP

    14. Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff ‘Plan B’ Stalls

    Things are looking worse and worse for that holiday break for Congress. House Speaker John Boehner’s so-called Plan B for avoiding the fiscal cliff is stalled in both houses of Congress on Tuesday—and the White House has already rejected it. Boehner’s plan calls not only to hike tax rates on those making over $1 million per year, but also to extend the current tax rates for the rest of Americans. Boehner’s plan comes amid mounting criticism that Republicans have not offered serious proposals to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, the name given for what will happen should Congress not come up with a deal by Jan. 1 to avoid draconian spending cuts and extend the Bush tax cuts.

    December 19, 2012 7:02 AM

  16. SO IN RIGHT NOW ‘Girls’ to Get Nail-Polish Line HBO

    15. ‘Girls’ to Get Nail-Polish Line

    The nail polish of a generation. Deborah Lippmann has created a new line of nail polish based on the show’s characters. The four colors, each inspired by a different character, will cost $45 combined. Girls creator Lena Dunham called Lippmann’s designs “irreverent and classy,” and said she’s been “wearing Hannah like it’s going out of style.”

    December 19, 2012 7:37 AM

  17. NOT SO FAST Judges Allow DSK’s Pimping Charges Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP, via Getty

    16. Judges Allow DSK’s Pimping Charges

    Looks like some people aren’t falling for the old “I didn’t know they were prostitutes” defense. French judges decided Wednesday to keep pimping charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn has been accused of participating in a prostitution ring while at “libertine” parties, but Strauss-Kahn has insisted that while he may have attended some of these parties, he did not know the women were paid. His lawyers said Wednesday the charges were unspecified. Strauss-Kahn had once been considered a frontrunner to run for president as a Socialist, but his reputation collapsed after a hotel maid in New York accused of him rape. He was cleared of all charges in that case last year, and agreed to a civil settlement with his accuser last week.

    December 19, 2012 7:21 AM

  18. CHANGE Biden to Push for Gun Control Hunter Martin/Getty

    17. Biden to Push for Gun Control

    President Obama will name Vice President Biden to head the push for gun-control policy change, reports said Wednesday. The White House has faced increasing calls for stricter gun control in the wake of the deadly rampage in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children, seven adults, and the shooter, Adam Lanza, 20. Obama issued a call to action at a vigil in Newtown on Sunday, saying he would “use whatever power this office” has to push for a way to end these tragedies. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president supports banning assault weapons, as well as closing the so-called gun-show loophole. The assault weapons Lanza used in the massacre were all purchased legally by his mother.

    December 19, 2012 6:54 AM

  19. OFFICIAL UBS Will Pay $1.5B Fraud Fine Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

    18. UBS Will Pay $1.5B Fraud Fine

    At least you’re not HSBC, right, UBS? Swiss bank UBS said Wednesday it will pay a $1.5 billion fraud fine for orchestrating the manipulation of benchmark interest rates in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Last week, British bank HSBC agreed to pay $1.92 billion—the largest bank fine ever—to settle a U.S. investigation into the bank’s alleged money laundering with drug cartels. But still, UBS’s stiff penalty is more than three times the $450 million fine levied on British bank Barclays in June, which had also admitted to rigging the LIBOR rate, which is used to price worldwide loans. It hasn’t been a good couple of years for UBS, which also lost $2.3 billion in a rogue trading scandal earlier this year.

    December 19, 2012 7:19 AM

  20. ANSWERS Benghazi Review Finds Security Faults Esam Omran Al-Fetori, Reuters / Landov

    19. Benghazi Review Finds Security Faults

    Security in Benghazi was “grossly” inadequate, an independent panel investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the Libyan mission found Tuesday. “Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs resulted in a mission that was not nearly equipped to deal with the kind of attack that took place. The report also found that no individual violated their duties, and, at this time, no one should receive disciplinary action for the security faults.

    December 18, 2012 10:36 PM

  21. DROP THE HAMMER Inquiry: BBC Failed on Savile Case Doug McKenzie / Getty

    20. Inquiry: BBC Failed on Savile Case

    You messed up, BBC—but it wasn’t malicious. An inquiry into the Jimmy Savile sexual-abuse claims found that there was no evidence of a cover-up, but came down hard on senior management. Citing the “complete inability to deal with the events that followed” the shelving of the story, the inquiry found that management was “completely incapable” of stopping the chaos and confusion that arose when news of the scandal broke. Savile, who died last year, was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young women over decades.

    December 19, 2012 9:07 AM

  22. TRAGEDY 6 Funerals Planned for Wednesday David Goldman/AP

    21. Six Funerals Planned for Wednesday

    Six more funerals will be held Wednesday for the victims of the deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., while the school’s superintendent said classes are expected to resume for the survivors at a nearby school in January. Funerals will be held for principal Dawn Hochsprung; teacher Victoria Soto; Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Caroline Previdi, 6; and Chase Kowalski, 7. All were killed Friday along with 20 others at Sandy Hook Elementary School when Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire in the school before killing himself. Lanza’s mother was found dead in her home nearby on the same day. A family acquaintance said Tuesday that Lanza had been estranged from his father and brother for the past two years.

    December 19, 2012 6:48 AM

  23. RIP Robert Bork Dies at 85 John Duricka/AP

    22. Conservative Jurist Bork Dies at 85

    Robert Bork, the conservative judge whose Supreme Court nomination was famously rejected by the Democratic Senate in the Reagan years, died Wednesday in Virginia. He was 85. The cause of death was heart complications. Bork served as a law professor at Yale, where he was known as an anti-trust scholar and taught Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Robert Reich, and John Bolton, among others. In 1987, he was nominated for the Supreme Court, where he was vehemently opposed by Senate Democrats, who eventually were able to block his nomination, but not before a circus-like nomination process where even his video-rental records were leaked to the press. After failing to secure the Supreme Court seat, Bork went on to work for a series of conservative think tanks and write books.

    December 19, 2012 9:49 AM

  24. AFGHAN MASSACRE Army to Seek Death for Robert Bales Ryan Hallock, DVIDS, Spc. / AP Photo

    23. Army to Seek Death for Robert Bales

    Army officials announced on Wednesday that they will seek the death penalty for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians in March. Prosecutors say that Bales, who is charged with premeditated murder, attacked two villages in southern Afghanistan during early-morning raids on March 11. He allegedly attacked one small town, returned to base, and then snuck out to attack the second village. Nine of the dead were children. Bales is still waiting to learn the date of his court-martial, which will take place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle.

    December 19, 2012 1:18 PM

  25. Tik Tok Ke$ha Apologizes for ‘Die Young’ Butch Dill/Getty for Jingle Ball 2012

    24. Ke$ha Apologizes for ‘Die Young’

    She must have known she’d be apologizing for this song eventually. Ke$ha has issued an apology, after radio stations began pulling her song “Die Young” in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, which killed 20 children. The pop star tweeted, “So so sorry for anyone who has been effected [sic] by this tragedy and I understand why my song is now inappropriate. Words cannot express.” She also tweeted that was “forced” to sing the lyrics, which include phrases like “We’re gonna die young.” The song reportedly lost 19 million listeners on Monday alone.

    December 19, 2012 1:10 PM

  26. NICE TRY Obama: GOP ‘Puzzling’ on Fiscal Cliff Win McNamee/Getty

    25. Obama: GOP Actions ‘Puzzling’

    President Obama said on Wednesday that it is “puzzling” that Republicans haven’t accepted his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, saying he has gone “at least halfway” to meet them. “I’m prepared to get it done, but [Republicans] are going to have to go ahead and make adjustments,” Obama said. But the president insisted that there is “no reason” the country should go over the fiscal cliff, the name given for what will happen on Jan. 1 if no budget compromise is reached, allowing major spending cuts to go into effect and the Bush tax cuts to expire. Obama insisted this is a “self-inflicted crisis” that Republicans are putting the country through, and that House Speaker John Boehner's plan “defies logic.”

    December 19, 2012 12:34 PM

  27. Aftermath Three Resign at State Department J. Scott Applewhite/AP

    26. Three Resign at State Department

    Three people resigned from the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, one day after an independent panel found serious security flaws at the embassy in Benghazi prior to the Sept. 11 attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. According to an administration official, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for embassy security Charlene Lamb, and an unnamed official in the Bureau of Near East Affairs stepped down after the report found that poor leadership had led to the breakdown of security.

    December 19, 2012 1:41 PM

  28. BAILOUT PAY BACK GM to Buy Back Shares Paul Sancya / AP Photo

    27. GM to Buy Back Shares

    General Motors has finally come up with a bailout-payment plan. The auto-industry giant announced Wednesday that it plans to buy back 200 million, or $5.5 billion worth, of its own shares from the U.S. Treasury. Over the next 15 months, the Treasury, for its part, will sell the rest of its GM stake—ending the government’s ownership over the company. The U.S. Treasury invested $50 billion in General Motors as part of its auto-industry bailout.

    December 19, 2012 12:04 PM

  29. GLASS CEILING Park Wins South Korean Election Jung Yeon-Je / Getty Images, JUNG YEON-JE

    28. Park Wins South Korean Election

    Sixty-year-old Park Geun-hye won South Korea’s presidential election after her opponent conceded the race. The conservative politician spent 15 years in politics as a leading legislator in the ruling Saenuri Party. Though she is unmarried and has no children, she served as South Korea’s first lady during her father’s presidency, after her mother was assassinated. Park’s father, Park Chung-hee, was president of South Korea for 18 years and helped transform the country after the Korean War, though his opponents called him a “dictator.” Park will begin her five-year term in February.

    December 19, 2012 10:18 AM

  30. Can't be too careful

    29. Multiple Schools Placed on Lock Down

    Last week’s tragedy in Newtown has schools across the nation on high alert. On Wednesday afternoon, Texas’s Crowley school district placed three of its schools on lock down after word of a potential security threat spread through social media and text messages. It had been a “precautionary measure” requested by the police, the district’s website said. Investigators found no credible threat, and an all-clear was issued later in the afternoon. Another school in Michigan was also placed on lock down Wednesday, after a photographer attempted to enter the school to report on school safety. Well done.

    December 19, 2012 7:00 PM