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  1. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

    1. LGBT Vets Get Full Separation Pay

    Gay and lesbian veterans discharged from the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will now get full separation pay, thanks to a court settlement reached Monday between the federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union. After DADT was repealed and expired in 2011, an unchanged statute forced gay and lesbian service members to receive half the separation pay from the U.S. government. “It makes no sense to continue to penalize service members who were discharged under a statute that has already been repealed,” said a staff attorney general for ACLU in a statement. The settlement covers roughly 181 gay service members who were honorably discharged on or after Nov. 10, 2004.

    January 7, 2013 5:34 PM

  2. Bombed Officials: Drones Kill 8 Militants Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP

    2. Officials: Drones Kill 8 Militants

    Anonymous Pakistani officials have reported that at least eight suspected militants, one believed to be an al Qaeda operative, are dead after American drones hit a compound near the Afghan border. They were located in the North Waziristan tribal area in a town called Mir Ali. The U.S. drone program is controversial in Pakistan, where it's viewed as an infringement on their sovereignty.

    January 7, 2013 10:40 PM

  3. The Time Has Come Giffords to Announce Gun Control Push Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords / AP Photo

    3. Giffords to Announce Gun Control Push

    Two years after her almost-fatal bullet to the head, it sounds like former Representative Gabrielle Giffords is ready to push for stricter legislation on firearms. After a visit to Newtown, Connecticut, and recent meetings with gun-control advocates, Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly are expected to reveal a fundraising effort and call for specific weapon restrictions during an interview with Diane Sawyer on Tuesday, according to sources. The couple haven't been involved with previous lobby efforts before, but have spoken about gun control on social media and in public. "This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow and condolence," Kelly wrote on his Facebook page after the Newtown shooting.

    January 7, 2013 10:50 PM

  4. REFUND Bank of America to Pay Fannie Mae $10 Billion John W. Adkisson / Getty Images

    4. Bank of America to Pay $10B

    Fannie Mae has a little more than $10 billion coming its way, as Bank of America has agreed to pay the mortgage firm for any unsettled claims from the housing-market crash. Under the terms of the agreement, on top of the $3.6 billion check Bank of America plans to write Fannie, it will also buy $6.75 billion on discounted mortgages. After settling its debt to Freddie Mac in 2011, paying back Fannie Mae is the next major step on Bank of America’s road toward recovery and away from the risky home-lending game.

    January 7, 2013 9:39 AM

  5. PRELIMINARY HEARING Police: Holmes ‘Relaxed’ At Theater RJ Sangosti/AP

    5. Police: Holmes ‘Relaxed’ at Theater

    Just moments after he shot dead 12 people and injured 58 others in the Aurora shooting massacre, suspect James Holmes seemed “very relaxed” and “detached,” a police officer testified Monday at a preliminary hearing. He originally thought Holmes was a fellow cop because of his calm demeanor and garb—layers of body armor, a helmet and a gas mask. Holmes, who was found standing outside his car in the cinema parking lot, did not exhibit “normal emotional responses to anything,” but eventually admitted that he had booby-trapped his apartment. Police were among the first to testify at the much anticipated, week-long preliminary hearing that began Monday. Prosecutors are expected to outline their case against Holmes—the first public disclosure of their evidence—and potentially the last we hear for months, as Holmes is still deemed mentally unfit for a criminal trial.

    January 7, 2013 2:29 PM

  6. FRENEMIES Israel Nervous Over Hagel Nomination Pool photo by Junko Kimur

    6. Israel Nervous Over Hagel Nomination

    President Barack Obama's decision to put Chuck Hagel at the helm as U.S. secretary of Defense is making some Israelis nervous. The former Republican senator's positions on Iran's nuclear program, Palestinian relations, and refusal to sign a letter in support of recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist group, aren't in line with Israel's government. "I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel," he once said. "Because of his statements in the past, and his stance toward Israel, we are worried," said Reuven Rivlin, the speaker of the Israeli parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office refused to comment.

    January 7, 2013 5:20 PM

  7. NOT-SO-FREE PRESS China Censorship Protests Flare Alexander F. Yuan/AP

    7. China Censorship Protests Flare

    Chinese journalists have attracted widespread support for their protest against alleged censorship at the Southern Weekly—considered one of the country’s “most daring” newspapers. Several hundred people gathered outside the paper’s headquarters Monday in frustration over a New Year’s editorial that was changed from a call for expanded legal rights to a pat on the Chinese government’s back. While rumors that the Southern Weekly’s staff staged a strike are unconfirmed, calls to the newsroom Monday went unanswered, something that—according to a receptionist who attempted to put a call through—“has never happened before.”

    January 7, 2013 2:13 PM

  8. TURMOIL Delhi Rape Accused Arrive in Court Sajjad Hussain/AFP, via Getty

    8. Delhi Rape Accused Arrive in Court

    The five men accused of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi arrived in court on Monday to hear the charges against them, which include charges of rape, murder, and abduction. The magistrate ordered that the court be closed to the media and cleared for the safety of the accused men. The five men have no lawyers, and members of the bar association in the Saket district, where the case is being held, have vowed not to represent them. Even so, police say they have recorded confessions, and two of the accused have offered to be informers against the other defendants in exchange for less-severe sentences. But a prosecutor said, “The five accused persons deserve not less than the death penalty.”

    January 7, 2013 6:41 AM

  9. SYBIL CUT HER HAIR?! Lady Edith Has Googly Eyes ITV/Masterpiece PBS

    9. Lady Edith Has Googly Eyes

    Said in the voice of Daisy: it’s Lady Edith, and she’s been inflicted with the googly eyes! Despite its much-hyped third-season premiere in the U.S. Sunday, the only mark Downton Abbey seems to have left on us all is this incredible Tumblr. Behold, pictures of Lady Edith—also known as the one sister who makes everyone cringe when she’s on screen—with googly eyes. Googly eyes, you’ll remember, are fake plastic eyes usually used for puppets. What sparked this unusual blog? Well, there isn’t really a war on this season, so that might be it.

    January 7, 2013 12:16 PM

  10. DIVINE MISS M Bette Midler Returning to Broadway

    10. Bette Midler Returning to Broadway

    Who better than Bette Midler to carry a one-woman Broadway show about the late Sue Mengers, the most powerful Hollywood agent in movie history? The Divine Miss M is returning to the Great White Way this spring in John Logan’s I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. Along with Logan, who won a Tony for Red in 2010 and wrote the box office hit Skyfall, Midler will be working with director Joe Mantello (Wicked) and—wait for it—Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter as the show’s lead producer. Logan tapped Carter, a friend of Mengers’s, to help him shape her character. It’s been thirty years since Midler last starred on Broadway, but something tells us the Grammy-and-Emmy-winning diva will bring the house down.

     

    January 7, 2013 7:33 PM

  11. FINALLY Obama Nominates Hagel, Brennan Mark Wilson/Getty

    11. Obama Nominates Hagel, Brennan

    Well, it’s official. After much speculation, President Obama announced his nomination of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next secretary of defense at a White House press conference Monday. Hagel, Obama noted, will be the first person of enlisted rank and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the Department of Defense, as well as the first secretary to be wounded in war. The president also announced John Brennan as his pick for director of the CIA, calling him “one of our nation’s most skilled and respected intelligence professionals.” On stage as well were outgoing Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, respectively, Leon Panetta and Mike Morell, who each said a few words following the president’s speech.

    January 7, 2013 1:31 PM

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  13. WHY YOU THERE? Google’s Schmidt  in North Korea Andy Wong/AP

    12. Google’s Schmidt in North Korea

    Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, arrived in North Korea on Monday. Schmidt is in the country as part of a delegation led by the former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson. Richardson described the four-day trip as a private humanitarian mission, during which he hopes to meet with an American citizen who was detained in the country for “hostile acts.” Richardson said Schmidt is “interested in some of the economic issues there, the social-media aspect.” Schmidt is a proponent of Internet connectivity and openness, but North Korea’s population is mostly blocked from the Internet. The U.S. State Department had previously called the delegation’s trip “unhelpful.”

    January 7, 2013 7:04 AM

  14. THAT'S THE WORST Glitch Botches Inauguration Tix Sale Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

    13. Glitch Botches Inauguration Tix Sale

    Usually people get screwed trying to buy tickets online. This is sort of the same thing. Those who thought they were getting exclusive tickets to one of the president’s two inaugural balls were foiled Sunday when a Ticketmaster glitch sent out an early email telling people to buy now. The unsuspecting Obama fans were told that a certain number of tickets were being offered to them on Monday for $60 a pop. While Ticketmaster apologized for the mishap, many of the tickets were already sold. Hundreds vented on the Inaugural Committee’s Facebook page.  

    January 7, 2013 2:14 PM

  15. EXPOSÉ Boehner: Obama Denied Spending Problem Alex Wong / Getty Images

    14. Boehner Still Blames Obama

    In a revealing interview with The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker John Boehner discussed the conversations he had with President Obama during closed-door fiscal-cliff negotiations. He says he was most shocked by Obama saying that Washington doesn’t have a spending problem. The speaker, just entering his second term, also explained his notorious “Go f--k yourself” snap at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I was in Ohio, and Harry’s on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don’t lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me,” he said. Boehner also discussed his decision to vote for the Senate tax package—saying a "no" vote would do "serious damage to the economy.”

    January 6, 2013 9:18 PM

  16. INTOXICATED Rand Paul’s Son Arrested Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, via AP Photo

    15. Rand Paul’s Son Arrested

    This is probably not the best thing for a 2016 presidential hopeful. Sen. Rand Paul’s 19-year-old son has been arrested for underage drinking. William Hilton Paul was arrested Saturday at North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport following a flight from Kentucky. It is not clear if he was drinking on the plane or on the ground, but he was charged with disorderly conduct at an airport, being intoxicated and disruptive, and consuming alcohol underage. Rand Paul’s office said in a statement, “Sen. Paul is a national public figure and subject to scrutiny in the public arena, however, as many parents with teenagers would understand, his family should be afforded the privacy and respect they deserve in a situation such as this.”

    January 7, 2013 6:52 AM

  17. REFORM China to End Labor-Camp Sentences David Gray/Reuters, via Landov

    16. China Ends Labor-Camp Orders

    China will cease giving out labor-camp sentences this year, according to the country’s top law-enforcement official. During a conference, Meng Jianzhu, the head of the Communist Party Politics and Law Commission, reportedly said that although the system was once useful, conditions have changed. The move would be a major step in reforming China’s judicial system, but it is not clear what will become of existing “reeducation through labor camps” or their current inmates. China claims to have 310 labor camps, which hold 310,000 prisoners and employ 100,000 staff. One activist said, “This announcement is a very good thing, but we’d still like to hear them say that they’re getting rid of reeducation through labor entirely.”

    January 7, 2013 6:44 AM

  18. BLOOD AND GUTS ‘Texas Chainsaw’ Wins Box Office Justin Lubin/Lionsgate

    17. ‘Texas Chainsaw’ Wins Box Office

    Leatherface has still got it. Texas Chainsaw 3D rose to the top of the box office this weekend, earning ticket sales of $23 million in the U.S. and Canada. Experts did not think that the newest entry in the 40-year-old franchise would be able to best holiday hits like The Hobbit and Django Unchained, but Texas Chainsaw’s $20 million marketing campaign apparently paid off. Django Unchained ended up in the No. 2 spot after selling $20 million in ticket sales, and The Hobbit came in third with $17.5 million. Texas Chainsaw was the only new nationwide release this weekend.

    January 7, 2013 7:06 AM

  19. NOT FOOLED U.S. Dismisses Assad Speech Andoni Lubaki/AP

    18. U.S. Dismisses Assad Speech

    The U.S. State Department has openly dismissed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Sunday speech in Damascus calling it “meaningless,” and yet another attempt retain power. “His initiative is detached from reality, undermines the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and would only allow the regime to further perpetuate its bloody oppression of the Syrian people,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. Assad’s rare address—delivered before a photo collage of the war’s victims—proposed a peace plan made of a national reconciliation conference, a new government, and constitution. The State Department continues to urge President Assad to step down.

    January 6, 2013 4:30 PM

  20. SHE’S BACK Clinton Returns to Work Monday Mandel Ngan/AFP, via Getty

    19. Clinton Returns to Work Monday

    Hillary Clinton is set to return to work Monday for the first time since being released from the hospital. The State Department released a schedule that shows Clinton meeting with assistant secretaries Monday morning, though her most significant meetings will not come until Wednesday and Thursday, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington. The secretary of state had been admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on Dec. 30 after doctors discovered a blood clot in her head, but she was released last Wednesday.

    January 7, 2013 6:49 AM