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  1. STAYING PUT VP: Chavez Could Be Sworn In Later Francisco Batista/Miraflores Press Office, via AP

    1. VP: Chávez Could Be Sworn In Later

    Don't count him out yet. Venezuela’s vice president, Nicolas Maduro, said in an interview Friday that if President Hugo Chavez isn't well enough to take the oath of office on Jan. 10, he can be sworn in later by the Supreme Court, according to the country’s constitution. Opposition leaders were hoping new elections would be called if Chavez could not take the office, but Maduro says since the president is already in power, he can remain and take the oath later. Under the Constitution, a new election will only be held if the president is unable to take the oath, or dies during his first four years in office. On Thursday, Venezuelan officials revealed that Chávez is suffering from a “severe” respiratory infection after undergoing his fourth surgery in the past year and a half.

    January 4, 2013 8:53 PM

  2. HOT SEATS Congress Extends Sandy Aid Mark Wilson/Getty

    2. Congress Extends Sandy Aid

    Time to seal the deal, Boehner. Both the House and the Senate voted Friday to release $9.7 billion in aid for superstorm Sandy victims, after House Republicans were excoriated for tabling the $60 billion bill New Year’s Day. House Speaker John Boehner reversed the decision after he was blasted by fellow Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called the House’s decision to pull the bill “disappointing and disgusting.” Boehner promised that Congress would vote on the remaining $51 billion in requested funds Jan. 15. FEMA has been footing the bill for flood damage, but has warned that the National Flood Insurance Program’s funding will run dry next week if Congress doesn’t pitch in. The bill will now go to President Obama, who is likely to sign it, since earlier in the week he urged the House to vote on it immediately.

    January 4, 2013 2:34 PM

  3. WORD ON STREET Sources: Obama to Pick Hagel Jae C. Hong / AP

    3. Sources: Obama to Pick Hagel

    Ready for the inevitable fight, Chuck Hagel? According to multiple sources working on the nomination process, President Obama is poised to nominate Purple Heart recipient and former Nebraska GOP senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. Despite controversy from both sides over Hagel’s views on Iranian sanctions, Israel, and Hamas, a Democratic Party official says that “the president has made crystal clear what his policies are on issues like Iran and Israel, and Senator Hagel will of course have a chance to discuss those issues in a confirmation hearing.”

    January 4, 2013 6:30 PM

  4. HEARTBREAKING India Rape Victim’s Friend: No One Helped Us Daniel Berehulak/Getty

    4. India Rape Victim’s Friend: No One Helped Us

    “I wish I could have saved her.” That’s what Avaindra Pretap Pandey is saying, breaking his silence for the first time since his 23-year-old friend was gang-raped by six men on a bus last month in India. He says that he and the victim, who has since died from her injuries, were dumped on the side of the road with most of their clothes removed and bloody from their injuries, but no one would help them. “We were lying in the cold night for 20 minutes … no one stopped to offer us help, even though I was crying for help,” he said. The six men responsible for the attack are in police custody.

    January 4, 2013 2:45 PM

  5. BUSTED Obama ’08 Campaign Fined Michael Reynolds / EPA-Landov

    5. Obama ’08 Campaign Fined

    "Betting On America" was more expensive than he imagined. President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign was hit with a record $375,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission Friday for violations related to donations received during the final days of the campaign. The fines-are detailed in a document obtained by Politico. In it, the FEC reports a series of "missing 48-hour notices" for over 1300 contributions which amounted to more than $1.8 million dollars. The fines are the result of an audit spurred by complaints from the Republican National Committee.

    January 4, 2013 7:10 PM

  6. SANDY HOOK Giffords Arrives in Newtown Jeff Siner

    6. Giffords Arrives in Newtown

    Former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords arrived in Newtown, Conn., on Friday to offer empathy and support to a community devastated by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings three weeks ago today. Giffords, who survived a shot to the head two years ago when a gunman opened fire at a campaign event, was warmly greeted by schools superintendent Janet Robinson. Accompanied by her husband, Mark Kelly, the former congresswoman is scheduled to meet with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and others at the town hall and will meet privately with families of shooting victims later this afternoon.

    January 4, 2013 4:16 PM

  7. YOU GOT ME Armstrong Cuts Livestrong Ties Rogerio Barbosa / AFP / Getty Images

    7. Report: Armstrong May Admit to Doping

    The fallen cycling star may be changing his tune. Lance Armstrong is reportedly considering admitting to doping charges in order to be able to compete again, sources tell The New York Times. After being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles on doping charges, Armstrong has officially cut all ties with Livestrong, the charity he founded 15 years ago while battling testicular cancer. But Armstrong's lawyer is denying the report, for now anyway. Tim Herman, Armstrong’s longtime lawyer, said: “I do not know about that. I suppose anything is possible, for sure. Right now, that’s really not on the table.”

    January 4, 2013 10:30 PM

  8. HEALTH INSPECTION FDA Unveils New Food-Safety Rules

    8. FDA Unveils New Food-Safety Rules

    Hopefully this will lead to fewer listeria and E. coli outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration proposed the most sweeping (and long-awaited) food-safety rules in decades Friday—two years after the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The new regulations will require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, so that the organization can prevent contaminated food from hitting grocery shelves, and potentially reduce the estimated 3,000 deaths a year linked to food-borne illness. The FDA is responsible for roughly 80 percent of the food the nation consumes, while the Department of Agriculture is held accountable for contaminated meat, poultry, and some eggs.

    January 4, 2013 5:30 PM

  9. NO FAIR

    9. Microsoft Slams Google FTC Agreement

    After a 19-month investigation into Google’s allegedly self-serving search system, the Federal Trade Commission has decided to settle with the tech giant—and not surprisingly, Microsoft is not happy about it. Calling the deal “unusual” and “weak,” Microsoft said Friday it believes Google is being held to a different standard than other companies. As part of the settlement, has Google agreed to honor prior commitments to license industry-standard patents instead of trying to get competing products banned. "We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree," Microsoft VP Dave Heiner wrote in a blog post.

    January 4, 2013 4:05 PM

  10. NEVER BEFORE SEEN Princess Diana Photo Up for Sale RR Auction/Caren Archive

    10. Princess Diana Photo Up for Sale

    What will the queen say? A newly revealed photo of a teenage Lady Diana Spencer cozying up with a mystery man is up for auction in New Hampshire. The photographer’s identity is also unknown, but the picture—which is scrawled with the warning “not to be published”—was allegedly sold to the Daily Mirror on Feb. 26, 1981, just two days after Diana’s engagement to Prince Charles. The image of a nubile Diana is believed to have been captured when she was on a skiing holiday in Switzerland around 1979 or 1980, when she would have been 18 or 19. It ended up in the hands of its current owner, Eric Caren, when the New York–based Caren Archive acquired the Mirror’s photo library seven years ago.

    January 4, 2013 2:18 PM

  11. HEY, IT’S OK Pelosi Explains Photoshopped Image Mark Wilson

    11. Pelosi Explains Photoshopped Image

    If Photoshopping is wrong, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to be right. A historic photo showing the 61 Democratic congresswomen sworn in Thursday isn’t exactly what it seems. The four members in the back—Reps. Yvette Clarke, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Shelia Jackson Lee, and Corrine Brown—were later Photoshopped into the image. The congresswomen allegedly left the photo op early due to “freezing temperatures” and the need to get back to work. When questioned about her office’s decision to post the retouched photo, House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended its validity. It is a “historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are,” she said. You can’t really argue with that—and being that it’s Pelosi, you really wouldn’t want to.

    January 4, 2013 3:03 PM

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  13. Written in the Stars George Lucas Engaged Matt Sayles/AP

    12. George Lucas Engaged

    May the force be with them always. George Lucas is engaged to marry his girlfriend of six years, Mellody Hobson. Hobson, 43, is the president of Chicago investment firm Ariel Investments, and also serves on the board of directors for Dreamworks Animation, Estee Lauder, Starbucks, and Groupon. It is the second marriage for the Star Wars creator, who was previously married from 1969 to 1983. Lucas recently sold Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise to Disney for $4.05 billion.

    January 4, 2013 7:40 AM

  14. Cameo Pelosi to Appear on ‘30 Rock’ Youtube

    13. Pelosi to Appear on ‘30 Rock’

    Jack Donaghy probably isn’t her biggest fan, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the hour-long series finale of 30 Rock anyway. The finale, which airs on January 31, will be her first scripted television appearance. Pelosi’s role in the episode is unclear, but she said of the appearance, “I would do almost anything Tina Fey asks me to do.” Ice-T is also scheduled to appear in the finale.

    January 4, 2013 10:42 AM

  15. Protective U.S. Troops Arrive in Turkey Andoni Lubaki/AP

    14. U.S. Troops Arrive in Turkey

    A group of 27 U.S. troops arrived in Turkey on Friday to man Patriot missile-defense batteries near the Syrian border. The troops landed in the city of Gaziantep. The U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands deployed Patriot missile-defense batteries to intercept Syrian ballistic missiles. Syria has launched Scud missiles at targets near the Turkish border in the past. The troops will be under the control of NATO, but the missiles will be operated by the U.S. forces. The United Nations announced on Wednesday that the overall death toll in Syria has risen to 60,000.

    January 4, 2013 6:40 AM

  16. ENOUGH Indian Politician Stripped, Beaten NNIS/AP

    15. Indian Politician Stripped, Beaten

    A member of India’s Congress was stripped and beaten by a crowd of women in Assam on Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly raping a woman the night before. A group of local women surrounded Bikram Singh Brahma, a member of the Congress Party in Assam, ripped off his shirt, smacked him in the face and stomach, and then were joined by men who continued to hit him. Brahma is accused of raping a woman while staying at her family’s house. Meanwhile in Delhi, prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old student, which has sparked protests throughout the country.

    January 3, 2013 8:27 PM

  17. HANGING ON John Boehner Keeps His Job SAUL LOEB / AFP

    16. John Boehner Keeps His Job

    After a rough two years as House speaker, Rep. John Boehner is saddling up for two more. Despite some rumblings that, following displeasure with his fiscal-cliff negotiations, he faced some uncertainty, Boehner was handily reelected Thursday with 220 votes. Nancy Pelosi received a total of 192 votes, Eric Cantor received three, Allen West won two votes, and, despite not being a member of Congress, Colin Powell had a vote cast for him by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper.

    January 3, 2013 2:05 PM

  18. Don’t Like Teen Arrested After Facebook Post Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

    17. Teen Arrested After Facebook Post

    Maybe he checked in from jail and tagged himself in his own mug shot too. An Oregon teen was arrested after he posted about driving drunk on New Year’s Day. Police had been investigating a mysterious hit-and-run in Astoria, Ore., when they were tipped off to a Facebook post by 18-year-old Jacob Cox-Brown, which read, “Drivin drunk … classic ;) but to whoever’s vehicle I hit I am sorry :p." Investigators then went to his home and found his car was damaged, in addition to pieces of his car they had found at the scene of the accident. Cox-Brown has been charged with two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver.

    January 4, 2013 7:35 AM

  19. WORRIED Chávez Has Respiratory Infection Jorge Silva, Reuters / Landov

    18. Chávez Has Respiratory Infection

    It is appearing less and less likely that Venezuela’s ailing president will be able to make it back home in time for his swearing in Jan. 10. On Thursday, Venezuelan officials revealed that Chávez is suffering from a “severe” respiratory infection after undergoing his fourth surgery in the last year and a half. “This infection has caused a breathing insufficiency that requires Comandante Chávez to comply strictly with medical treatment,” a minister said. In an ominous sign, top officials gathered in Havana to visit Chávez on Thursday. Under the Venezuelan Constitution, a new election will be held if the president is unable to take the oath or dies during his first four years in office.

    January 3, 2013 10:30 PM

  20. Violence Three NYC Police Officers Shot New York City Police Department/AP

    19. Three NYC Police Officers Shot

    Three New York City police officers were shot in two separate encounters on Thursday night. Two officers were shot at an N train at the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station around 7:30 p.m. after they tried to detain a man who walked between the subway cars. Instead of accompanying the officers, the man opened fire, injuring both, but officer Michael Levay, who was shot in the back, returned fire, killing the shooter with seven bullets. In a separate incident, an off-duty police officer was shot around 6:30 p.m. during a robbery at a car dealership his family owns in the Allerton section of the Bronx, though he and an employee managed to subdue the gunman. All three officers are expected to recover.

    January 4, 2013 7:15 AM

  21. Diplomacy Iran Agrees to New Nuclear Talks Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty

    20. Iran Agrees to New Nuclear Talks

    Iran will hold talks in January with six world powers about its nuclear program, the country’s top nuclear negotiator said on Friday. The U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and China have held three rounds of talks with Iran since April, but have not been able to achieve success. The powers want to ensure that Iran’s uranium-enrichment program is for clean energy, while Iran denies that the program is for nuclear weapons. Negotiator Saeed Jalil said, “We have accepted that these talks should be held in January, but until now, the details have not been finalized.”

    January 4, 2013 6:45 AM

  22. Weinergate Woman Weiner Sent Photo to Apologizes Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

    21. Woman Weiner Sent Photo to Apologizes

    Forgive, forget, and post on Facebook. Lisa Weiss, the Las Vegas blackjack dealer who received lewd sex messages from Anthony Weiner and then gave an interview about it, posted an apology to the former congressman on his Facebook page. It turns out the two are still Facebook friends. After Weiner posted a picture of his family on Facebook in September, Weiss commented, “So great to see you back!  Your wife and son are beautiful! Please let me apologize again for any pain I caused your (sic) or the beautiful Huma … it was unintentional … I still think you are our liberal hero and we need you back in politics!!”

    January 4, 2013 8:55 AM

  23. Bold Google’s Schmidt to Visit North Korea Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty

    22. Google’s Schmidt to Visit North Korea

    Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt announced Thursday he may travel to North Korea for a “private” visit—despite State Department opposition to the trip. Schmidt plans to accompany former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, though it is not clear when the trip is supposed to take place. The nature of the trip is also unclear, but it is suspected that the delegation intends to help secure the release of a detained U.S. citizen. But the U.S. State Department is against the trip because of North Korea’s recent launch of a long-range rocket. “Frankly, we don’t think the timing of this is particularly helpful, but they are private citizens and they are making their own decisions,” a State Department spokeswoman said, adding that Schmidt and Richardson “are well aware of our views.”

    January 4, 2013 7:20 AM

  24. POLS GONE WILD Sen. Crapo Sentenced for DWI Mark Wilson / Getty Images

    23. Senator Crapo Sentenced for DWI

    He can flush that driver’s license down the toilet. Idaho Sen. Michael Crapo—a practicing Mormon—pleaded guilty Friday to drunken driving following his arrest Dec. 23 in Alexandria, Va. Crapo received a 180-day jail sentence, which was quickly suspended. His license was also suspended for a year, though he’s eligible for a restricted license, and he must pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol program. When he was pulled over for running a red light, Crapo said he had taken “several shots of vodka” before failing a sobriety test. Since his election to the Senate in 1998, Crapo has built a reputation as values champion and social conservative.

    January 4, 2013 11:49 AM

  25. Jobs Report Unemployment Rate Holds Steady Mary Altaffer/AP

    24. Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

    The U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in December, keeping the unemployment rate steady at just below 8 percent, according to Friday's job report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite keeping the unemployment rate at its lowest levels since 2008, economists warned that future job growth is unlikely, as they wait for the effects of superstorm Sandy to hit the economy—and also the effect of the Jan. 1 tax hikes. November's job numbers were revised upward slighty from an initial reporting of 7.7 percent unemployment rate.

    January 4, 2013 8:31 AM

  26. Recovering Malala Released From Hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital, via AP

    25. Malala Released From Hospital

    Malala Yousafzai was discharged from a British hospital on Thursday in order to spend time recovering at home with her family. The 15-year-old girls’ education advocate was shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 and was taken to Britain for treatment. Though she will be readmitted to the hospital in late January or early February for reconstructive surgery on her skull, doctors decided that she had made enough progress to spend some time at home. A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham said, “Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers.”

    January 4, 2013 6:50 AM

  27. AMERICAN EAGLE Drunk Pilot Arrested Before Takeoff Daniel Acker, Bloomberg / Getty Images

    26. Drunk Pilot Arrested Before Takeoff

    Looks like you’re not the only one hitting the booze to soothe post-holiday blues. An American Eagle pilot preparing for liftoff was arrested Friday after failing a blood-alcohol test at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Spokesman Patrick Hogan said witnesses found the pilot smelling of alcohol before getting on the plane, leading officers to board and conduct a Breathalyzer test. The American Eagle flight was headed to La Guardia Airport in New York City, but the passengers had yet to board. The pilot has been suspended pending an investigation.

    January 4, 2013 1:11 PM

  28. TEMP JOB Barney Frank Wants Senate Seat J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photos

    27. Barney Frank Wants Senate Seat

    Only a day out of Congress and he’s already plotting his next political move. Former congressman Barney Frank, who departed the House of Representatives yesterday after a 32-year tenure, has expressed interest to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick about serving as an interim senator when current Sen. John Kerry becomes secretary of state. “I’m not going to be coy. It’s not anything I’ve ever been good at,” the Democrat said Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, adding that he would like to serve during February, March and April, which he thinks will be “among the most important months” for the economy in the wake of the fiscal-cliff deal. Frank said that he wouldn’t want the seat for more than a three-month period—just enough time to stake his claim in the next fiscal battle on the Hill.

    January 4, 2013 10:45 AM


    28. Cannibal-Cop Accomplice Arrested

    This should make the upcoming trial very interesting. Feds charged a New Jersey man with offering $5,000 to aid the so-called cannibal cop in kidnapping a victim. Michael Vanhise, 23, of Hamilton, N.J., admitted sending emails to Gilberto Valle, 28, who is awaiting trial for allegedly plotting to kidnap, kill, and cook up to 100 women. Vanhise also admitted to sending emails to two other, unidentified people, “about kidnapping, raping, and murdering women and children,” according to a complaint filed in Manhattan criminal court. In the email exchanges with Valle, Vanhise allegedly tried to knock down the price after Valle sent him a photo of the alleged victim. Valle allegedly planned to rape and murder the woman.

    January 4, 2013 12:51 PM

  30. WHO KNEW? Cocoa Yummier in Orange Cups Stephen Chernin

    29. Cocoa Yummier in Orange Cups

    We all know colors affect our mood, and now a new study says they affect our taste buds, too. Apparently, savoring a warm cup of cocoa is all the more satisfying when consumed in an orange mug or cup. Researchers in Spain and England had 57 participants try hot chocolate in white, red, orange, and cream-colored plastic cups. Their results, published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, found that volunteers preferred their chocolat chaud when associated with the latter two colors. Starbucks, take note.

    January 4, 2013 1:05 PM