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  1. FAREWELL Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Resigns Alex Wong/Getty

    1. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Resigns

    Labor Secretary Hilda Solis—the first Hispanic woman in a presidential cabinet—has resigned, the White House confirmed Wednesday. In a statement on her resignation, Solis said we are "well on the road to recovery." An advocate for environmental justice in her native state of California, Obama praised her as a "critical" member of his team and a "tireless champion for working families." "I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people," he said. Staying on in Obama's cabinet, are Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

    January 9, 2013 4:23 PM

  2. PICK Obama to Nominate Lew for Treasury Jack Lew at the White House in Feb. 2012. (Susan Walsh/AP)

    2. Obama to Nominate Lew for Treasury

    Geithner out, Lew in. President Obama is expected to nominate his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary, Bloomberg News reports. Lew was previously the director of the Office of Management and Budget. He would replace Timothy Geithner, who told the White House he plans on leaving at the end of the month. One of his first orders of business: navigating the next congressional debate on the debt ceiling. Also, Lew has been universally mocked for his odd signature, which may soon have a spot on all U.S. paper currency.

    January 9, 2013 9:58 AM

  3. INFECTED 44 States Report Widespread Flu Charles Krupa/AP

    3. 44 States Report Widespread Flu

    Start washing your hands and sneezing into your elbows, folks. The national flu epidemic has spread to three more states, bringing the total number of states reporting widespread sickness to 44. On Wednesday, Boston declared a public health epidemic after18 were killed and 700 sickened by the virus. Cases were at just 70 this time last year. The Center for Disease Control reports hospital patients seeking treatment for the flu has doubled in the past month. Officials urge vaccinations for everyone over six months.

    January 9, 2013 8:10 PM

  4. SITTING THIS ONE OUT AIG Not Joining Greenberg Suit AP Photo

    5. AIG Not Joining Greenberg Suit

    Ouch. Executives at American International Group have decided not to sue the U.S. government for taking advantage of the company during the financial crisis, even though the suit is being filed on the company's behalf, sources say. Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the group's former chief executive, filed suit for $25 billion in damages for AIG and shareholders, and asked AIG to join the suit. Allegedly, the company is hesitant about tarnishing its reputation and appearing ungrateful for the bailout. The government made close to $23 billion selling shares of the company, which it just recently got rid of.

    January 9, 2013 3:27 PM

  5. Terrifying Holmes Took Pre-Massacre Selfies RJ Sangosti, Pool / AP Photo

    6. Holmes Took Pre-Massacre Selfies

    On Wendesday, accused Aurora shooter James Holmes turned his infamous wide-eyed look into smiles and smirks. Families of victims said Holmes visibly lit up and was "absolutely smirking" when prosecuters showed photos he had taken of himself right before the massacre, which killed 12 and wounded dozens in July. The pictures were found on his iPhone and show him with dyed orange hair peeking out under a black skull cap and black contacts covering his eyes, in some he is posing with his guns. "I watched him smile every time a weapon was discussed, every time they talked about his apartment and how he had it set up (with booby traps), and he could have gave a darn about the people, to be quite frank. But he's not crazy one bit. He's very, very cold. He's very, very calculated," Tom Teves, father of one of the victims, said.

    January 9, 2013 9:40 PM

  6. COOPERSTOWN Hall of Fame Rejects Everyone Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images

    7. Hall of Fame Rejects Everyone

    And the class of ’13 is … empty. For the first time since 1996, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame did not elect any players. It’s really not that much of a surprise, since this year’s ballot included home-run king Barry Bonds, pitcher Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. While Bonds needed 75 percent approval to enter Cooperstown, he only got 36.2 percent. Aside from being considered some of the all time greats, the players are also headliners for the league’s “steroid era.”

    January 9, 2013 2:14 PM

  7. Worst of the Year 'Twilight' Leads Razzie Nominations Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

    8. 'Twilight' Leads Razzie Nominations

    Those vampires in Twilight must have really sucked. The final installment of the popular franchise led the Razzie Award nominations, which reward the worst of the year in film, with 11 nominations. Among the dishonors it’s up for: Worst Picture, Actress (Kristin Stewart), and Actor (Robert Patinson). Also up for Worst Picture are Battleship, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, That’s My Boy, and A Thousand Words. Meanwhile, Tyler Perry pulled off the rare feat of being nominated for Worst Actor (Alex Cross and Good Deeds) and Worst Actress (Madea’s Witness Protection).

    January 9, 2013 6:04 PM

  8. FLU-BUG FRENZY Public Health Emergency in Boston Carsten Koall / Getty Images

    9. Public Health Emergency in Boston

    Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency Wednesday as a result of a massive flu outbreak sweeping across the city of Boston. At least 700 cases have been confirmed, a number up significantly from the 70 confirmed cases at this time last year. Thankfully, the majority of the strains—91 percent—are well matched to a highly effective vaccine. But the worst is far from over. Kevin Cranston, director of the DPH Bureau of Infectious Disease, says the state is off to a “moderately severe” start that is likely to get “more severe” as the weeks go on.

    January 9, 2013 12:19 PM

  9. GRAM SLAM Rihanna, Swift Get Grammy Gigs Simone Joyner / Getty Images

    10. Rihanna, Swift Get Grammy Gigs

    We found love in a hopeless place last year, but can we find it again? Topping the list of performers for the upcoming 55th annual Grammy Awards this year are five-time nominees Rihanna and Taylor Swift. But there are some new kids on the block this year too. Making a triumphant Grammy debut will be six-time nominees—and the only group honored in each of the so-called Big Four categories—Fun. Mumford & Sons will come out of their cave (walking on their hands), and the Black Keys will sing to (and maybe even find a little gold on) the ceiling. The show, set to air on CBS Feb. 10, will once again be led by the king of calm, LL Cool J. Here's hoping we dodge another Minaj-inspired “Roman Holiday” and find someone like Adele instead.

    January 9, 2013 11:39 AM

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  11. COMMANDER IN CHIEF Biden: Obama Will Enforce Gun Control Vice President Joe Biden. (Evan Vucci/AP)

    11. Obama Mulls Executive Gun Order

    If Congress won’t crack down on gun control, President Obama is prepared to take the matter into his own executive hands. “The president is going to act,” Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday before meeting with a task force that formed in the wake of Sandy Hook. “Executive orders, executive action can be taken,” Biden told reporters, adding that the task force—a group of cabinet members and government officials—is aiming to establish “concrete proposals” by the end of January to reduce gun violence. The group is also looking at new ways to deal with mental-health care and what the president has called a culture that “glorifies guns and violence,” Biden said.  

     

    January 9, 2013 1:16 PM

  12. Tragedy Winehouse Died Watching Her Videos Matt Dunham / AP

    12. Winehouse Died Watching Her Videos

    They tried to make her go to rehab, and we wish she had. A second inquiry into singer Amy Winehouse's death found she died of alcohol poisoning while drinking vodka alone in her bedroom and watching YouTube clips of herself. The raspy-voiced singer died from the fatal amount of alcohol in her blood and was found with two empty bottles of vodka next to her bed. She was watching YouTube videos of herself, which she hadn't done in a while, according to her live-in security guard. Winehouse's doctor said she had begun drinking again three days earlier out of boredom but wasn't depressed. “She specifically said she did not want to die,” she said.

    January 8, 2013 9:55 PM

  13. HONORS ‘Lincoln’ Leads BAFTA Nominees Scene from "Lincoln." (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, via AP)

    13. ‘Lincoln’ Leads BAFTA Nominees

    Steven Spielberg could have used Abraham Lincoln’s negotiating skills. Spielberg’s Lincoln dominated the BAFTA nominations on Wednesday, bringing in 10 nods, including Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones), and Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field)—but no love for the director. British critics said Lincoln could dominate the Oscar nominations, which will be announced Thursday. Meanwhile, the musical Les Misérables and the shipwreck saga Life of Pi came in not far behind Lincoln, with nine nominations apiece. The latest James Bond installment, Skyfall, received eight, and Ben Affleck’s Argo won six.

    January 9, 2013 7:34 AM

  14. HARSH PUNISHMENT Maid Beheaded in Saudi Arabia Parents of Rizana Nafeek in 2007. (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

    14. Maid Beheaded in Saudi Arabia

    A Sri Lankan maid has been beheaded in Saudi Arabia for killing a child in her care in 2005. Rizana Nafeek was convicted in 2007 of smothering 4-month-old Naif al-Quthaibi after an argument with the child’s mother, but supporters say that Nafeek was only 17 at the time of the child’s death, which would make her execution a violation of international child rights. Supporters also claimed that her initial confession was made under duress and without lawyers or linguistic assistance. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Saudi authorities for the handling of her case.

    January 9, 2013 10:11 AM

  15. clean sweep U.S. Could Pull All Afghan Troops Adek Berry, AFP / Getty Images

    15. U.S. Could Pull All Afghan Troops

    Post-2014, Afghanistan could find itself without American troops. On Tuesday, the White House announced that despite recommendations to keep upwards of 15,000 troops in Afghanistan, President Obama could decide to remove everyone, like he did in Iraq two years ago. The "zero-option" is one "we would consider," said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, but the decision will be based off of two factors: denying al Qaeda a safe haven and fully training and equipping Afghan troops. There are currently 66,000 troops in the country, which will be slowly reduced through 2014, when the NATO combat mission ends. Obama is scheduled to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week.

    January 8, 2013 10:36 PM

  16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kate Middleton Turns 31 Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

    16. Kate Middleton Turns 31

    Will Pippa publish a book next on how to celebrate your birthday when pregnant? The duchess of Cambridge turned 31 on Wednesday and is planning on celebrating “privately,” St. James’s Palace said. A source told Us Weekly that the duchess “wants something low-key” and will most likely spend the day with her parents at home in Bucklebury, although other sources said she will be celebrating in Wales, where she and William live. Catherine is pregnant with the couple’s first child. In Belfast, the Union Jack flew over City Hall to mark her birthday—the first time the flag has flown since the decision not to fly it permanently.  

    January 9, 2013 9:35 AM

  17. PROGRESS National Cathedral to Hold Gay Weddings National Cathedral in Washington. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

    17. National Cathedral to Hold Gay Weddings

    Time to start booking the National Cathedral for wedding season—looks like there’s going to be even more couples vying for the prime spot. Washington’s 106-year-old cathedral will begin performing same-sex weddings—one of the first Episcopal congregations to implement the church’s new policy, Cathedral officials are expected to announce on Wednesday. The cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, said same-sex weddings are keeping in line with laws in Maryland and Washington, both of which have legalized same-sex marriage. “I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” Hall said. “And my reading of the Bible leads me to want me to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community Jesus would have us be.”

    January 9, 2013 6:39 AM

  18. COMPROMISE Biden to Meet NRA Vice President Joe Biden. (Evan Vucci/AP)

    18. Biden to Meet NRA

    First the fiscal cliff, now the NRA—Joe Biden must really like impossible negotiations. The vice president will meet with the powerful gun lobbying group on Thursday as the leader of President Obama’s gun violence task force. Formed in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Biden’s task force is said to be working on significant changes to the nation’s gun laws, reportedly to be sent to the president by the end of the month. The NRA, which had defiantly rejected calls for stricter gun laws immediately after the shooting, said on Tuesday it would send a representative to the meeting “to hear what they have to say.”

    January 9, 2013 6:41 AM

  19. CRAZY SPACE Glenn Beck to Relaunch The Blaze Glenn Beck in September 2012. (Kris Connor/Getty for Dish Network)

    19. Glenn Beck to Relaunch The Blaze

    Another year, another reinvention by Glenn Beck? The former Fox News host announced Tuesday that he will relaunch his media company, The Blaze, as a libertarian network over the next 60 days. He said he will also open three foreign bureaus in cities “important to America,” relocate his staff from their New York offices, and debut a newsmagazine show that he called “our Nightline.” Standing in front of a split screen with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on one side and his former colleague Sean Hannity on the other, Beck said cable news is now “the far left [and] far right … yelling at each other,” and he insisted “we’re not going to play in that crazy space as a network.”

    January 9, 2013 7:31 AM

  20. REBELLION Conservative Group Targets McConnell Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    20. Conservative Group Targets McConnell

    John Boehner, is that you? A conservative advocacy group has targeted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, running ads in his home state of Kentucky highlighting his key role in negotiating a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Brent Bozell, the president of For America, the group pushing the ads, called them a “statement to make it emphatically clear that what the minority leader did was 100 percent unacceptable. Conservatives are going to hold him responsible for this.” McConnell negotiated with Democrats to create a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, although many Republicans felt betrayed by the ultimate deal, which allowed for tax increases. The ads will be distributed through Google display ads and will also run on conservative websites such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Caller.

    January 9, 2013 7:20 AM

  21. HOSTAGES Syrian Rebels Free 48 Iranians Syria rebels on frontline in Taftanaz. (Mustafa Karali/AP)

    21. Syrian Rebels Free 48 Iranians

    Syrian rebels will free 48 Iranian hostages in exchange for 2,130 prisoners held by the Syrian government, a Turkish charity reported Wednesday. Iranian state TV confirmed the release but did not comment on the swap. The Free Syrian Army, the country’s main rebel group, claimed the hostages had been carrying out a mission for the government, an ally of Iran. Iranian authorities admitted some of the hostages had been retired members of the armed forces but insisted they were visiting a shrine in Damascus. The Turkish state news agency said the deal was brokered by Turkey and Qatar, both of which have backed the rebels. 

    January 9, 2013 6:45 AM

  22. CENSORSHIP China Cracks Down on Media Protesters at newspaper office in Guangzhou. (AFP/Getty)

    22. China Cracks Down on Media

    The Chinese government insisted Tuesday that Communist Party control over the media is “unshakable,” according to an “urgent memo” sent from the Propaganda Department to the media. “The party has absolute control over the media,” the memo read. The move comes after anti-censorship protests were held outside the offices of Southern Weekly in Guangzhou earlier this week. On Tuesday, so-called new leftists—government supporters carrying pictures of Mao Zedong—clashed with the anti-censorship protesters, causing police to get involved. The memo ordered all media and websites to “prominently republish” an editorial that reinforces the government’s hardline censorship policies, and it blamed “activists”—including Chen Guangcheng—for causing the protests.

    January 9, 2013 7:13 AM

  23. DAYTIME REHAB Armstrong Will Talk to Oprah Lance Armstrong during 2010 Tour de France. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty)

    23. Armstrong Will Talk to Oprah

    Lance Armstrong better hope he doesn’t get the James Frey treatment. The disgraced cyclist will appear on Oprah Winfrey’s show in a “no-holds-barred” interview, the talk-show host announced Tuesday. Stripped of his Tour de France victories last year, Armstrong has denied any allegations of cheating, although reports surfaced earlier this week that he “has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.” Meanwhile, new allegations surfaced Tuesday that Armstrong offered to donate “in excess of $150,000” to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which polices the use of performance-enhancing drugs, prior to his seventh—and final—Tour de France victory.

    January 9, 2013 7:12 AM