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  1. RAMPAGE More Than 100 Dead in French Strikes French aircraft en route to Mali. (Ecpad, via AP)

    1. More Than 100 Dead in French Strikes

    At least 100 people—including rebels and government soldiers—were killed in Mali during French airstrikes over the town of Konna, according to the Malian military. One Army officer reported that nearly 30 vehicles carrying Islamic rebel forces had been hit. Malian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Diaran Kon told Reuters that the strikes were a success but the fighting is far from over. French troops arrived in Mali on Friday to help the African nation battle the approaching Islamic rebel forces. Neighboring West African states have sped up plans to deploy troops in an effort to prevent Islamist rebels from expanding power. 

    January 12, 2013 5:00 PM

  2. EPIDEMIC Cuomo: NY 'Public Health Emergency' Flu shot administered in Cleveland. (Tony Dejak/AP)

    2. Cuomo: NY 'Public Health Emergency'

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared New York State a public health emergency Saturday as the flu epidemic continued to wreak havoc on the nation. The flu officially reached epidemic proportions in the United States Friday, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting 47 states with "widespread flu epidemic." The flu's corresponding vaccine is proving 62 percent effective. New York City and Boston are being hit particularly hard, with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declaring his city a public health emergency Thursday.

    January 12, 2013 12:17 PM

  3. Rumor Control Brother: Hugo Chavez Not in Coma Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    3. Brother: Hugo Chavez Not in Coma

    Don’t believe the rumors, says Adan Chavez, brother to cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Reports that Chavez was in a coma following a surgery lat month and that his family was weighing disconnecting his life support equipment are false, Adan said in a press release Saturday. “The head of state continues to assimilate treatment well and his recovery is advancing daily,” he said. Rumors of the coma were stoked after Chavez missed his own inauguration and failed to speak at Thursday’s pro-government rally.

    January 12, 2013 3:26 PM

  4. Global Warming Report: Climate Change Disrupts Daily Life KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

    4. Report: Climate Change Disrupts Daily Life

    It’s just not about the heat. Global warming is disrupting the daily lives of Americans, a new report called the National Climate Assessment says. “It affects where you live, where you work and where you play and the infrastructure that you need to do to do all those things,” Susan Cutter, one of the report’s co-authors, says. “It’s more than just polar bears.” A list of every aspect of life that’s been altered because of climate change would total more than 100, the authors say. The  assessment was written by a team of 240 scientists and details the way global warming is affecting our “bodies, homes, offices, roads, airports, power plants, water systems, and farms.”

    January 12, 2013 5:17 PM

  5. SAY, WHAT? California Hit With Big Freeze Bundled up on Santa Monica-area beach. (Reed Saxon/AP)

    5. California Hit With Big Freeze

    The latest sign of the apocalypse? Frost on San Diego’s beaches. That’s what the National Weather Service has in its forecast for the state, which foretells sub-freezing temperatures from central California on down. The lows for Big Sur, in the central part of the state, are 20 degrees below Boston’s. But the insanity doesn’t stop there. A 12-degree low has been recorded in the Big Bear mountain resort, and a 40-mile stretch of Los Angeles highway was shut down on Thursday—for snow. Californian snow-angel dreaming.

    January 12, 2013 8:35 AM

  6. Flu Shot Debate Hospitals Crack Down Syringes containing flu vaccine. (Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty)

    6. Hospitals Crack Down

    The flu shot debate is heating up—but if you’re a doctor or nurse, are you allowed to take sides? As the flu epidemic plagues the nation, hospitals are reportedly cracking down on staff who refuse to get flu shots. In the past two months alone, 15 nurses and other hospital staffers across four states have been fired for refusing to get one. “Where does it say that I am no longer a patient if I’m a nurse,” argued Carrie Calhoun, a Chicago critical-care nurse who was fired last month. According to federal data, about 63 percent of U.S. health care workers had flu shots in November.

    January 12, 2013 2:25 PM

  7. REDDIT SUICIDE Reddit Cofounder Commits Suicide Swartz in August 2007. (The Boston Globe, via Getty)

    7. Swartz Family Blames MIT

    Reddit cofounder and Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide on Friday in New York City, according to MIT’s newspaper The Tech. The 26-year-old hacker and information specialist had hinted at depression in the past, but his death came as a surprise to those close to him. A statement from Swartz's family Saturday called his death “the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” and blamed the tragedy on “decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office and at MIT.” Swartz was arrested in July 2011 for attempting to disseminate 4 million academic journals from JSTOR to the wider Internet community, and faced 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines. 

    January 12, 2013 8:15 PM

  8. TENSION French President Raises Terror Threat Level Franch Defense Minister speaks on operations in Mali. (Thibault Camus/AP)

    8. French President Raises Terror Threat Level

    A French helicopter pilot was killed in Mali, on the same day French troops arrived there to help bolster the African nation's fight against Islamist rebel forces. The al Qaeda-linked militant group, which has steadily claimed Malian territory for themselves over the past nine months, has been pressing dangerously close to Konna—a major base for the Malian army. But the French defense minister reported on Saturday that French airstrikes—aid requested by the former French colony’s president—had not only driven back the rebels but also destroyed one of their command centers. Despite the positive start, Lt. Col. Diarran Kone said victory is still out of reach. “We remain vigilant,” he warned.

    January 12, 2013 12:45 PM

  9. no change

    9. Treasury Rules Out Platinum Coin

    Dreams of a platinum coin are dead. In a statement to Ezra Klein of The Washington Post, a Treasury Department spokesperson said "neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit." Translation: the Treasury won't mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling and if they did, the Federal Reserve wouldn't accept it, making it unusable for the purpose of paying the government's bills. The idea had been endorsed by some journalists, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, and even a few congressmen. Experts expect the U.S. to hit the statutory debt ceiling of $16.394 trillion between Feb. 15 and March 1.  


    January 12, 2013 9:45 PM

  10. Serial Killer Sheriff May Dig for John Wayne Gacy Victims AP Photo

    10. Sheriff May Dig for John Wayne Gacy Victims

    The crimes were committed four decades ago and the killer is already executed, but there are still new developments in the John Wayne Gacy murder cases. Detectives are one step closer to being given a warrant to search the grounds of the notorious serial killer’s late mother’s apartment complex for bodies of victims, it was announced Saturday. Investigators would use thermal imaging devices to detect underground anomalies while searchers dig holes, and FBI cadaver dogs sniff for remains. Request for such search warrants are routinely approved, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff says.

    January 12, 2013 3:47 PM

  11. BABY, ONE MORE TIME? Report: Britney, Fiancée Split Over Kids Spears and Trawick at "The X Factor" premiere in Sept. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

    11. Report: Britney, Fiancée Split Over Kids

    Britney Spears and ex-fiancée Jason Trawick allegedly broke off their engagement because Spears wants more kids and Trawick did not, TMZ reported Saturday morning. Although he reportedly loves her two sons, he did not want children of his own. But there may be another, juicier reason: Trawick was concerned that being Mr. Britney Spears “took away his individuality.” One good thing that could come out of the split? A killer breakup song.

    January 12, 2013 8:45 AM

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  13. Oscar Drama Sony Exec Defends ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Jonathan Olley / Sony Pictures

    12. Sony Exec Defends ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

    And the award for Best Drama goes to … the debate over Zero Dark Thirty. Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal defended the Oscar Best Picture nominee against an Academy member who said he would not vote for the film because it promotes torture. “We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status … as a platform to advance their own political agenda,” Pascal said, adding that the film “does not advocate torture.” Pascal’s comments were made in response to actor David Clennon, who posted his opinion on the progressive website Truth-out.org. Zero Dark Thirty is up for five Academy Awards.

    January 11, 2013 10:11 PM

  14. SUSPICIOUS Family of Poisoned Lotto-Winner Lottery winner Urooj Khan. (Illinois Lottery, via AP)

    13. Family of Poisoned Lotto-Winner Speaks

    In the weeks since the cyanide-induced death of lottery winner Urooj Khan came to light, and shocking details about his family continue to emerge. Khan’s nephew, Minhaj Khan says he suspected foul play immediately upon hearing of his uncle’s death. The Indian-immigrant’s widow and four siblings allegedly fought for months over his estate—specifically the $1 million lottery ticket he’d cashed only days before. His father-in-law—who had dinner with him the night he died—owes tens of thousands in taxes. Authorities may soon be learning more about his death, after the recent decision to exhume his body as early as Thursday.

    January 12, 2013 3:00 PM

  15. DEFIANCE Pakistanis Protest With Coffins Shiiite Muslims sit among coffins in Quetta, Pakistan. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty)

    14. Pakistani Shiites Protest With Coffins

    More than 3,500 Pakistani Shiites flooded the streets of a southwestern city for a second day on Saturday, this time with a new protest technique: blocking the roads with around 50 coffins of relatives killed in recent explosions. The unconventional protest also marks a break with Islamic custom, which dictates that the dead be buried as soon as possible. In refusing to bury their dead, the protestors hope to make a statement to the government about its lack of protection following the twin bombings of a billiards hall on Thursday that left 86 dead. “My son went to a billiards hall to play, but now I am sitting with his body here,” said Begum Dilawar Shah. “I want to know what was the fault of my son and who killed him and why?”

    January 12, 2013 7:55 AM

  16. WE THE PEOPLE

    15. White House Responds to Secession Petitions

    Ever since President Obama’s reelection, petitions from various states have been cropping up on the White House’s “We the People” website calling for permission to secede. On Saturday, the administration decided to reply to all those that reached over 25,000 signatures within one month (including one from Texas, which received 125,000). Unsurprisingly to everyone save maybe those who started the petitions, the Office of Public Engagement, instead of blessing the request, responded with a reminder that the Founding Fathers gave us many liberties. Surprise: splitting off when things get complicated isn’t one of them.

    January 12, 2013 10:50 AM

  17. OUT OF THIS WORLD Found: Largest Structure in Universe ESO/M. Kornmesser

    16. Found: Largest Structure in Universe

    Astronomers announced Saturday the discovery of the largest known structure in the universe. The large quasar group (LQG), which is a clump of active galactic cores that stretches 4 billion light-years from end to end. Lead author of the study, Roger Clowes, says its size is hard for even him to imagine. "While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe," he said.

    January 12, 2013 3:00 PM

  18. FINAL CHAPTER Costa Concordia to Be Removed Costa Concordia lay among recovery apparatuses. (Filippo Montreforte/AFP/Getty)

    17. Costa Concordia to Be Removed

    This Sunday marks the first anniversary of the Costa Concordia’s deadly crash off the Tuscan island of Giglio. Ahead of the anniversary, Italy’s Social Defense Department announced Saturday that plans to remove the ship are underway, and slated for sometime between June and September of this year. Since the crash, which led to the death of the 32, the massive cruise ship has remained in its resting place as a ghastly tourist attraction, brining hundreds of sightseers to Giglio. The June-Sept. time frame was chosen because it’s likely to have the best weather conditions for the salvage operation. After over a year, it will no doubt be good for survivors, families, and islanders alike to put the ship to rest.

    January 12, 2013 9:35 AM

  19. DRAWDOWN Obama, Karzai Speed Up Withdrawal Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

    18. Obama, Karzai Speed Up Withdrawal

    This is certainly an optimistic start to the new year. President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Friday that they had agreed to a slightly sped-up withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan—although Karzai declined to say how many U.S. troops will be left behind after the 2014 deadline. “Starting this spring our troops will have a different mission—training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces,” Obama said at a joint press conference. In a joint statement, the two said the Afghan Army is “exceeding initial exceptions” and the Afghan forces will be in a combat role throughout the country by this spring. 

    January 11, 2013 2:23 PM

  20. TRAGIC

    19. Deaf Belgian Twins Self-Euthanize

    Two identical twins last month gained the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first twins to exercise their legal right to euthanasia, a Belgian newspaper reported Saturday. The 45-year-old men were born deaf, but were beginning to lose their eyesight as well, which was their only means of communication. The brothers had lived together all their lives and claimed that being able to communicate only by touch would be an "unbearable burden.” Although they suffered no terminal illness or physical pain, doctors agreed to their request on grounds of intolerable suffering. They died on Dec. 14.

    January 12, 2013 8:40 AM

  21. COUGH COUGH 47 States Report ‘Widespread Flu’ Flu shot administered in Cleveland. (Tony Dejak/AP)

    20. Flu Reaches Epidemic Proportions

    The flu has officially reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to a weekly report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 states across the nation are reporting “widespread flu activity.” On the bright side, the CDC also reports it appears the epidemic may be at its peak, and that this year’s flu vaccine is about 62 percent effective. Of all U.S. regions, only the Southwest is exhibiting “normal” flu conditions. The CDC says 7.3 percent of all deaths last week were from pneumonia flu, just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. New York City and Boston are being hit particularly hard in what is being called the worst flu epidemic to sweep the nation in more than a decade.

    January 11, 2013 8:30 PM

  22. MISSION FAILED French Hostage Killed in Somalia Allex in June 2010. (AP)

    21. French Hostage Allegedly Killed

    Denis Allex, a French intelligence officer who had been held hostage in Somalia since 2009, was killed in a rescue attempt gone awry, the French Defense Ministry said Saturday. The intelligence agency’s team had attempted an overnight helicopter mission to retriever Allex, but we met with “violent combat” instead. The incident falls on the same day French President Francois Hollande ordered air strikes against Islami militants in Mali—two missions which are reportedly unrelated. The Defense Ministry said Allex and at least one other soldier were killed in the fighting and another gone missing. The insurgents claim Allex is alive and being held in Somalia.

    January 12, 2013 7:50 AM

  23. LOADED Gun Sales Hit Record High Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

    22. U.S. Gun Sales Hit Record High

    Like something out of a post-apocalyptic drama, or perhaps a zombie movie, gun stores across the country are now routinely boasting empty gun cases and picked-over shelves after politicians began campaigning for ownership restrictions following December’s Newtown, Connecticut’s deadly shooting massacre. While gun sales began their climb after Obama’s reelection, they steeply escalated in the wake of the wake of the massacre, and the heightened gun control debates that ensued. December set a record for the most criminal background checks of the type performed for gun purchases at 2.2 million, a 58.6 percent increase over last year’s number.

    January 12, 2013 7:15 AM