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  1. DENIAL NRA: Armed Police at Every School Chip Somodevilla/Getty

    1. NRA: Armed Police at Every School

    Well, this ends the National Rifle Association’s silence. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said Friday that there should be armed police officers at every school in the U.S.—and if the teachers in Newtown had been armed, the tragedy might have been avoided. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. LaPierre blamed the media for slanting the situation against gun owners, as well as the culture of violent video games. LaPierre said he had asked former congressman Asa Hutchinson to help an NRA program called the "National School Shield." But LaPierre might want to talk to his own security: he was interrupted by a protester holding a sign saying “NRA Kills Children.”

    December 21, 2012 11:24 AM

  2. Fiscal Cliff Obama: 'No Reason' for No Deal Mandel Ngan/AFP, via Getty

    2. Obama: 'No Reason' for No Deal

    After a Jesus-take-the-wheel kind of week, House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that it was up to Obama to keep the nation from falling over the fiscal cliff. Speaking to the press Friday afternon, Obama said he had met Republicans "more than half way," and there was "no reason" they couldn't reach an agreement. The president said had just finished talks with Boehner and Harry Reid, and that he remains "ready and willing" to cooperate with Republicans. Obama focused on the parties' agreement on middle-class taxes: "Averting this middle-tax class hike is not a Republcan responsibility or a Democrat responsibility, it's a shared responsibility."

    December 21, 2012 5:52 PM

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  4. PERSONNEL Obama Taps Kerry for State Brendan Hoffman/Getty

    3. Obama Taps Kerry for State

    Can't say we didn't see this coming. President Obama said Friday that he will be nominating Sen. John Kerry as Secretary of State, when Hillary Clinton retires early next year. Kerry's appointment has been somewhat of a foregone conclusion since United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her candidacy, spurred by Senate Republicans saying she misled them about the Benghazi attack. Kerry has been an unofficial emissary to hot spots like Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama administration.

    December 21, 2012 1:39 PM

  5. ANGRY Bloomberg: NRA Presser 'Shameful' John Moore/Getty

    4. Bloomberg: NRA Presser 'Shameful'

    Responding to the NRA’s fiery Friday morning news conference, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg called the event "shameful" and said the gun lobby "blames everyone but themselves." Bloomberg, considered a national leader on gun control, has also chided Obama for a lack of action on the issue. The NRA presser got bad reviews all around: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the group's response “sadly and shamefully inadequate.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) agreed, deeming the new school shield program a “distraction” and “delay tactic.” Blumenthal and Feinstein poked holes in the NRA’s sweeping solution to the Newtown massacre that killed 26 by pointing out that many shootings occur in places other than schools, like movie theaters and businesses.

    December 21, 2012 5:23 PM

  6. PRINT DRAIN Murdoch Publishing Lost $2.1B Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

    5. Murdoch Publishing Lost $2.1B

    This isn’t promising news for potential investors of Rupert Murdoch’s soon-to-be-separated publishing company. The publishing assets showed losses of $2.1 billion last fiscal year, with revenue falling from $9.1 billion to $8.65 billion. About $2.8 billion was lost in impairment and restructuring charges in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal last year. The new print side will retain the News Corp. name and includes HarperCollins, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. The entertainment side will take the name Fox Group.

    December 21, 2012 3:19 PM


    6. Iowa: OK to Fire ‘Irresistible’ Employees

    It’s just so hard being beautiful. The all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that a dentist who fired his assistant because he found her attractive and viewed her as a threat to his marriage acted lawfully. The court said that firing employees that bosses view as an “irresistible attraction”—even if no flirtatious behavior is involved—may be unfair, but it is not considered unlawful discrimination Iowa Civil Rights Act because the action is motivated by emotion, not gender. The dentist’s attorney called the ruling a victory for family values, as his client fired his employee in the interest of saving his marriage.

    December 21, 2012 5:25 PM


    7. Four Dead in PA Shooting

    One of the victims of this morning’s shooting in Pennsylvania was a woman decorating her church for a children’s Christmas party. Two more people, as well as the alleged gunman, died. Additionally, three state troopers were injured. The incident, in which a gunman went "“up and down” a rural road in Blair County firing, occurred just as NRA chief Wayne LaPierre was giving a press conference in which he said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

    December 21, 2012 12:45 PM

  9. UNBANNED Court Halts Gay Therapy Ban Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    8. Court Halts Gay Therapy Ban

    Looks like gay-conversion therapy might not be getting the boot in California just yet. On Friday a federal appeals court put a hold on the state’s new law that would stop therapists from trying to revert a minor’s sexual orientation. The state was sued on the grounds that the law, which was to take effect Jan. 1, is unconstitutional and violates free speech rights. Their first court case was lost, but the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to block the law as it investigates.

    December 21, 2012 10:27 PM

  10. Take Back Hagel Retracts Statement on Gays Eric Francis

    9. Hagel Retracts Statement on Gays

    Chuck Hagel is a changed man. That’s the message the former senator is sending to gay activists who were protesting his consideration for the next defense secretary. In 1998, Hagel expressed concerns over the nomination of James Hormel to be ambassador to Luxembourg because Hormel was “openly aggressively gay.” Now, Hagel is retracting that statement. “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive,” he says. “They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights.”

    December 21, 2012 1:44 PM

  11. FINALLY Ashton, Demi Head to Divorce Court Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    10. Ashton, Demi Head to Divorce Court

    Twitter’s most beloved couple will soon be over forever. One rehab stint (Demi) and cheating rumor (Ashton) later, the couple are heading to divorce court to finally end the marriage they broke up last year. Kutcher hired an attorney and submitted a petition for divorce this week. According to TMZ, he had originally hoped Moore would file the paperwork, but she didn’t.

    December 21, 2012 10:43 PM

  12. ‘ENOUGH’ Celebs Release Gun-Control PSA Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    11. Celebs Release Gun-Control PSA

    “How many more colleges? How many more classrooms?” So begins a star-studded new gun-control PSA released Friday—expertly timed after the NRA’s own press conference. Beyonce, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, Amy Poehler, and dozens more are among the 53 celebrities who appear in the ad, released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns to lobby for a new gun-control plan. “Enough,” the ad says. “Demand a plan right now.”

    December 21, 2012 3:01 PM

  13. ZOMBIE DRAMA ‘Walking Dead’ Gets Fourth Season Gene Page / AMC

    12. ‘Walking Dead’ Gets Fourth Season

    Zombies will remain a fixture of cable TV now that AMC has officially renewed The Walking Dead. But it remains to be seen how exactly the show will go on without its showrunner, Glen Mazarra. In a statement released Friday, AMC announced Mazarra’s “amicable” departure due to a “difference of opinion” between him and the network about “where the show should go moving forward.” Mazarra is the second showrunner to split from the creative team fighting the undead (Frank Darabont, who wrote The Shawshank Redemption, left after the first season). Under Mazarra, Walking Dead broke numerous ratings records, garnering nearly 11 million viewers for its December 2 episode, which ended the first half of its third season.

    December 21, 2012 3:18 PM

  14. MAYAN APOCALYPSE World Still Has Time to End

    13. World Still Has Time to End

    As you were, everyone. You officially survived the Mayan apocalypse, avoiding "cosmic inflation" or a collision of Earth with an unforeseen comet or some other end-of-the-world catastrophe that you hoped would keep you from having to work on Friday. But some scientists say doomsday may still be upon us. We may very well be in a "false-vacuum state," one apocalypse correspondent told The Guardian, adding that solar energy might "re-condense at some point into something else, new forms of matter governed by new laws of nature. But we wouldn't be here to see any of it." Now get back to work.

    December 21, 2012 9:50 AM

  15. AWKWARD Ke$ha Not ‘Forced’ to Sing ‘Die Young’ Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012

    14. Ke$ha Not ‘Forced’ to Sing ‘Die Young’

    Talk about backtracking. Ke$ha admitted on Thursday that no once “forced” her to sing the now-controversial lyrics to her single “Die Young.” Radio stations began quickly pulling the song from the airwaves in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, prompting Ke$ha to tweet that she was “forced” to sing the lyrics. But in a statement posted to her website, Ke$ha admitted “‘Forced’ is not the right word,” but that she had some “concerns” early. For the record, Ke$ha was also involved in writing the Britney Spears hit “Till the World Ends,” which could land her in even more hot water if certain predictions pan out today.

    December 21, 2012 7:50 AM

  16. FISCAL CLIFF Boehner: We’re ‘Prepared to Come Back’ Win McNamee/Getty

    15. Boehner: We’re ‘Prepared to Come Back’

    Without the world ending, it must be time to take back up that fiscal-cliff compromise. House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that the failure of the so-called Plan B fiscal-cliff deal was “the will of the House.” The “real issue,” Boehner said in a press conference, was that many GOP members did not want to be perceived as having to raise taxes. “It’s God’s will,” Boehner said. As for his future as the most powerful man on the Hill, Boehner said he is not worried. “If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” Boehner said. A deal must be reached by Jan. 1 to avoid the fiscal cliff, the name given for when a series of draconian spending cuts will automatically go into place and the Bush tax cuts will expire.

    December 21, 2012 10:29 AM

  17. Deadly Syrian Army Uses Cluster Bombs Muhammed Muheisen/AP

    16. Syrian Army Uses Cluster Bombs

    Bashar al-Assad’s military used cluster bombs against a civilian town earlier this month, a move that activists said on Friday could serve as a tipping point. The attack on Marea on December 12 killed 4 civilians and injured 23 others. The use of cluster munitions is banned by much of the world, but it is consistent with Assad’s slow escalation of weapons throughout the year. After starting with mortars and tanks, Assad began using cluster bombs against rebel forces over the summer. Just this month, the government started launching cruise missiles with conventional warheads. Analysts say he used this “boil-the-frog-slowly” strategy to prevent Western intervention.

    December 21, 2012 6:52 AM

  18. Justice Peter Madoff Gets 10 Years Spencer Platt/Getty

    17. Peter Madoff Gets 10 Years

    Peter Madoff was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday— the maximum punishment allowed by law—for aiding his brother’s Ponzi scheme. Madoff had admitted to aiding Bernard Madoff’s fraud, but denied any knowledge of the Ponzi scheme, a situation Judge Laura Taylor Swain described as “frankly, not believable.” Swain also sentenced Madoff to a year of probation after his release and approved a forfeiture order under which Madoff must give up all of his assets up to $143.1 billion. Swain also told Madoff to cooperate with investigators, saying, “I challenge you to be honest about all that you have done and all that you have seen.”

    December 21, 2012 7:27 AM

  19. ECONOMICS GOP Pulls ‘Plan B’ Bill Olivier Douliery, Pool / Getty Images

    18. GOP Pulls ‘Plan B’ Bill

    In a fairly stunning turnaround, House Republicans pulled Speaker John Boehner’s back-up tax bill from the floor late Thursday night, admitting that there was not enough support for the plan to pass. “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement. The bill would have let tax rates rise on the richest Americans, but would have protected other current rates. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said. 

    December 20, 2012 9:20 PM

  20. Hermit Kingdom North Korea Arrests American Ng Han Guan/AP

    19. North Korea Arrests American

    A Korean-American tourist has been detained by police in North Korea and charged with crimes against the state, North Korean officials said on Friday. Kenneth Bae traveled to visit North Korea last month. KCNA, the state news agency said, “In the process of investigation, evidence proving that he committed a crime against the DPRK was revealed. He admitted his crime.” KCNA did not explain Bae’s crime, but a South Korean newspaper owner said that Bae had been arrested for carrying a computer hard disk that contained footage of North Korea executing defectors and dissidents. The punishment for crimes against the state is five to 10 years of hard labor.

    December 21, 2012 6:54 AM

  21. Classified Libya to Release Lockerbie Files Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

    20. Libya to Release Lockerbie Files

    The new Libyan government said Friday that they plan to release all files related to the Lockerbie bombing, but said it will be at least a year before they can do so. Bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person ever convicted for the crime, died earlier this year after a highly controversial release from prison, but Scottish authorities hope to pursue other suspects now that Muammar Gaddafi is dead. Libya’s ambassador to the U.K. said that the files would be released once the new government has established security and stability, which will take at least a year. Today marks the 24th anniversary of the terrorist attack on Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.

    December 21, 2012 6:59 AM

  22. 180 Instagram Reverses Privacy Policy Karly Domb Sadof/AP

    21. Instagram Reverses Privacy Policy

    You complained, Instagram listened. The photo-sharing platform responded to an uproar from users after it changed its privacy policy earlier this week. The new policy appeared to allow for the company to sell posted photos to advertisers, and to share users’ data. Late Thursday night, Instagram announced in a blog post it will be reverting back to its original terms of service. “Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain …” Instagram’s cofounder Kevin System wrote.

    December 20, 2012 10:00 PM

  23. Aftermath Nationwide Moment of Silence Held Brendan Smialowski/AFP, via Getty

    22. Nationwide Moment of Silence Held

    Americans across the country will be observing a moment of silence at 9:30 this morning, in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred a week ago. The governors of Connecticut, Maine, Illinois, Michigan, and several other states have called on residents to observe the moment of silence and to ring bells. In Washington D.C., the National Cathedral will ring its bell 28 times as part of an interfaith memorial. Meanwhile, a private funeral was held on Thursday for Nancy Lanza, the mother of the gunman, in New Hampshire. About two dozen friends and family members attended the service at the home of Lanza’s brother, a retired police officer.

    December 21, 2012 7:21 AM

  24. Comeback Kid Mark Sanford to Run for Congress Chip Somodevilla/Getty

    23. Mark Sanford to Run for Congress

    Perhaps there will be fewer “hiking trips” this time around. Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is reportedly planning to run in the special election for senator-designate Tim Scott’s vacated House seat, sources said Friday. A strategist with knowledge of Sanford’s plans said an announcement will come soon. The election will be for the same seat that Sanford occupied for six years in the late 1990’s. But recent polls show that more than half of South Carolina voters view him unfavorably. Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny, was also said to be considering running for the seat, but the strategist said Sanford would not be running against her.

    December 21, 2012 7:45 AM

  25. Escape Artist Rappelling Fugitive Caught FBI, via AP

    24. Rappelling Fugitive Caught

    One of two fugitives who escaped jail by scaling down 20 stories was caught late Thursday night. The Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force and the Chicago Police Department arrested Joseph Banks around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. Fellow escapee Kenneth Conley is still at large. Banks and Conley escaped from Chicago’s Metropolitan Correction Center by breaking a hole in the bottom of a six-inch-wide window and climbing down 20 floors on a rope made from bed sheets on Tuesday—and went unnoticed for hours. Banks was convicted last week of robbing two banks and attempting to rob two others.

    December 21, 2012 7:48 AM

  26. TELEVISED NRA CEO Will Be on ‘Meet the Press’ Karen Bleier/AFP, via Getty

    25. NRA CEO Will Be on ‘Meet the Press’

    National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre wouldn’t answer any questions at a Friday press conference, but he will have to on Sunday: he will be appearing on Meet the Press for his first interview since the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. Earlier this week, the NRA released a statement promising “meaningful contributions” to keep such shootings from happening and said it would hold a press conference on Friday, but the organization has otherwise been virtually silent. Soon after the shooting, the NRA suspended social-media activity and refused several media requests. On Friday, LaPierre called for armed guards at every school, saying that they could have prevented the Newtown shooting.

    December 21, 2012 11:45 AM

  27. Severe Weather Snowstorm Slams Midwest Seth Perlman/AP

    26. Snowstorm Slams Midwest

    The first widespread snow storm of the season slammed the Midwest on Thursday, with six deaths being attributed to the storm as it made its way toward the East Coast early Friday. The storm canceled flights, caused power outages, and led to a 25-vehicle accident in Iowa, which killed two people. The storm also caused traffic deaths in Nebraska, Kansas, and Wisconsin; one woman died in Utah after walking to get help when her car became trapped in the snow. Tens of thousands of were left without power in Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. Twisters formed in Arkansas and Alabama, destroying some houses. Airlines have canceled 1,000 flights, though this is a relatively minor figure compared to previous storms.

    December 21, 2012 7:30 AM

  28. OUR CHILDREN Mobama Pens Letter to Newtown Kevork Djansezian

    27. Mobama Pens Letter to Newtown 

    "Holding You in Our Hearts.” That’s the title of an open letter Michelle Obama wrote to Newtown and the victims of the horrific Sandy Hook shooting, sharing her grief over the loss of the 20 children and seven adults killed in the Newtown shooting. “As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families,” she writes. She praises the heroism of Newtown’s first responders, as well as its children, parents, educators and “the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America,” adding that the president “will use all the powers of his office” to “prevent tragedies like this one.”

    December 21, 2012 1:46 PM