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  1. CONCLUSION Algerian Officials: Hostage Crisis Over Amenas natural gas field. (BP/AP)

    1. Algerian Officials: Hostage Crisis Over

    Algerian state news agency APS said Thursday that the military operation launched to free hostages at a remote desert gas facility in the country has ended. Earlier Thursday the U.S. State Department called the situation “extremely fluid” and claimed it was working with “affected nations” to resolve the conflict. It is now being reported 30 hostages were killed in the assault. The Islamist militants were demanding an end to the French-led military invasion of Mali. Officials say five Americans escaped from Algeria terrorists, and are now safe. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered a review of security for diplomats in the country. 

    January 17, 2013 5:45 PM

  2. Moving On Aurora Theater Reopens Dom Emmert, AFP / Getty Images

    2. Aurora Theater Reopens

    The movie theater that was the scene of a shooting rampage in July during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises is back in business. A night of remembrance was held Thursday at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colo., with more than 2,000 tickets distributed to victims, first responders, volunteers, and hospital workers. After opening remarks and a tribute to the victims, The Hobbit will be the first film shown in the newly reopened theater. Many of the theatergoers who were in the fateful screening of The Dark Knight Rises six months ago returned for the ceremony, even sitting close to or in the same seats they were in that night.

    January 17, 2013 8:17 PM

  3. INTERVIEW Lance: I Didn’t Dope in 2009 Armstrong and Winfrey during interview. (Oprah Winfrey Network, via Getty)

    3. Lance: I Didn’t Dope in 2009

    “I view this whole situation as one big lie,” Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey in a highly anticipated interview on OWN Thursday night. Armstrong said he didn’t think it was possible to win the Tour de France without doping, and that he didn’t consider it wrong or cheating at the time. Armstrong said he was a “bully” and an “arrogant prick,” that he will “spend the rest of his life” trying to earn back America’s trust, and that suing those who accused him of doping was “inexcusable.” Armstrong also told Winfrey he didn’t use EPOs “a lot,” and that he “absolutely” did not dope during 2009 or 2010, and that he stopped using the drugs in 2005. Armstrong also said he tried to “justify” taking testosterone to himself due to his history of testicular cancer. 

    January 17, 2013 10:30 PM

  4. Taking the Reins Biden Talks Gun Control With Nation's Mayors Alex Wong

    4. Biden Talks Gun Control With Mayors

    On the heels of President Obama’s sweeping gun-control proposal, Vice President Joe Biden attempted to galvanize the U.S. Conference of Mayors during a meeting Thursday. Biden emphasized the four key principles he and Obama followed while conceiving the proposals, including respect for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms (he owns two hunting guns himself). “We have to act,” he told the group, stressing the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The epidemic “isn’t just about guns,” he concluded, but about a culture of violence that the nation needs to eradicate.  

    January 17, 2013 3:32 PM

  5. really Poll: NRA More Popular Than Hollywood Evan Vucci/AP

    5. Poll: NRA More Popular Than Hollywood

    A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday reveals that the National Rifle Association, despite an endless stream of bad press, is actually more popular than the entertainment industry. The poll also reveals that President Obama’s job-approval rating is 52 percent, but that looking ahead to the next four years, opinions are split. Fifty-one percent say they’re “optimistic” or “satifsfied” with his presidency, while 48 percent say they are “uncertain” or “pessimistic.” A third of those polled say they’re confident in Obama’s ability to bring the economy back.  

    January 17, 2013 8:00 PM

  6. HOLY MOLY Notre Dame Star: Victim of ‘Sick Joke’ Te'o against Boston College in Nov. 2012. (Winslow Townson/AP)

    6. Notre Dame Star: Victim of ‘Sick Joke’

    It turns out Notre Dame lineback Manti Te’o’s girlfriend—a widely reported source for inspiration after she tragically died of leukemia during the season—does not exist. Deadspin broke the story Wednesday, revealing that Lennay Kekua, who allegedly spoke to the football player every night on the phone (and tweeted with him regularly), was completely made up. Te’o, whose second-place finish in Heisman voting was buoyed by the story of overcoming the loss of his fake girlfriend, said in a statement that he was the target of a “sick joke” that was “painful and humiliating.” Notre Dame said that it was a “hoax” that appears to be perpetrated by several people. Apparently Te’o and the university were aware of the fictitious story during the BCS game a few weeks ago. Notre Dame’s athletic director said Te’o was going to come forward about the situation next week, given “online chatter.”

    January 17, 2013 8:07 AM

  7. SORRY, SANTORUM Pew Poll: Abortion Not Critical Pro-life activists in Washington in Jan. 2012. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty)

    7. Pew Poll: Abortion Not Critical

    So why exactly is everyone fighting about abortion again? A Pew poll released Wednesday found that not only do a majority of Americans want to keep abortion legal, but also that just 44 percent of those under 30 even knew the landmark Roe v. Wade case dealt with right to terminate a pregnancy. As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized abortion approaches, the poll found that 63 percent of respondents said they did not want the court to overturn the decision—a number unchanged from 10 or even 20 years ago, despite numerous efforts by many states to limit abortion rights. In fact, the poll found that a majority, 53 percent, of those surveyed said that “abortion is not that important compared to other issues.”

    January 17, 2013 6:39 AM

  8. Doing Just Fine Instagram: We’re Not Losing Users Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

    8. Instagram: We’re Not Losing Users

    Reports that Instagram was seeing an alarming drop in users were wrongly filtered, the company clarified Thursday. Releasing its monthly active user data for the first time, Instagram says it saw a 10 percent month-to-month growth in the most recent period, and that more than 90 million people actively use the service. Last month, AppData had reported that the photo-sharing platform saw a 25 percent dip in active users following a controversial privacy policy change. 

    January 17, 2013 4:19 PM

  9. TWEET TWEET FLOTUS Office Joins Twitter Paul Beaty / AP Photo

    9. First Lady’s Office Joins Twitter

    Welcome to 2008, FLOTUS. Michelle Obama’s office joined Twitter on Thursday, sending the first tweet at 8:35 a.m. The account from the first lady’s office comes a year after President Obama’s reelection campaign had launched an account for her. Her very first tweet: “The @FLOTUS Office is now on @twitter & will post updates & pics. When it’s her, she’ll sign –mo. PS RT to wish Mrs. Obama a #HappyBirthday.” By noon, she already had 6,000 followers. The president and his team regularly use social media to send messages, as Obama held a live-tweeting Town Hall and a Reddit AMA.

    January 17, 2013 12:19 PM

  10. WE’RE A HAPPY FAMILY Son of ‘Barney’ Creator Arrested PBS

    10. Son of ‘Barney’ Creator Arrested

    The son of the creator of Barney & Friends has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Twenty-seven-year-old Patrick Leach allegedly shot his neighbor in the chest with a large-caliber handgun Jan. 9. The round exited through the victim’s shoulder, and he is expected to recover. Police did not explain the nature of the dispute. Leach has since been released on $1 million bail, which reportedly has made neighbors nervous. The suspect's mother, Sheryl Leach, was one of the creators of Barney & Friends.

    January 17, 2013 5:30 PM

  11. OBIT ‘Dear Abby’ Columnist Dies Paul W. Bailey/NBC, via Getty

    11. ‘Dear Abby’ Columnist Dies

    Pauline Phillips, the woman who founded the ‘Dear Abby’ advice column, died Wednesday at the age of 94. She had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. Phillips started the column in 1956 under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren, choosing Abigail “after a wise woman from the old Testament” and Van Buren after her favorite president. In nearly 50 years of writing the column, she grew to have a daily readership of 100 million. Her twin sister, advice columnist Ann Landers, died in 2002. Phillips’s daughter, Jeanne, who co-wrote “Dear Abby” starting in 1987 and took over entirely in 2002, said she has “lost my mother, my mentor, and my best friend.”

    January 17, 2013 1:31 PM

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  13. CRISIS Activists: 106 Killed in Syria Rebel sniper near Aleppo on Wednesday. (Elias Edouard/AFP/Getty)

    12. Activists: 106 Killed in Syria

    More than 100 people, including women and children, were reportedly killed in a horrific attack in Homs, Syria, on Thursday, according to the antigovernment activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The number killed has not been independently verified due to reporting restrictions. The 106 victims were either burned in their homes or individually shot or stabbed when forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad attacked an impoverished part of the city. An estimated 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

    January 17, 2013 6:42 AM

  14. NEXT ON OPRAH Armstrong Stripped of Olympic Bronze Armstrong and Winfrey during interview. (Oprah Winfrey Network, via Getty)

    13. Armstrong Stripped of Olympic Bronze

    The Olympic Committee will reportedly ask Lance Armstrong to return his 2000 bronze medal, the committee chairman said Thursday. Armstrong told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he “left it all on the table” in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, which will air on OWN on Thursday and Friday nights. “I have no idea what the future holds other than holding my kids,” Armstrong told the AP in a text message. The interview got so emotional that the disgraced cyclist reportedly teared up, a source told The New York Times. Although the interview, taped Monday, has remained top secret, Armstrong is believed to have admitted to doping, which he had long denied.

    January 17, 2013 8:47 AM

  15. ladies' man Anderson Cooper Talks Dating Women Charles Sykes / AP Photo

    14. Anderson Cooper Talks Dating Women

    To all those female viewers infatuated with CNN's silver-haired fox: you had your chance. Anderson Cooper dished on his daytime talk show about his past history of dating women. "They thought we were dating," he recalled, "and I was sort of hoping to meet their brothers." The journalist came out publicly on The Daily Beast last summer, and has slowly begun sharing details about his private life since. "I don't have much experience, but the few times when I would go on a date with a girl —like when I was 12—there was a lot of sharing, and a lot of talking, and a lot of asking how I am."

    January 17, 2013 4:20 PM

  16. PHONE-HACKING FALLOUT U.K. Police Arrest Sun Reporter Reports: Sun reporter among those arrested. (WPA Pool/Getty)

    15. U.K. Police Arrest Sun Reporter

    A crime reporter for The Sun is among three people arrested as part of Operation Elveden, an investigation into inappropriate payments made to police and other public officials in the U.K. The operation is running alongside Operation Weeting, the inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal. A 39-year-old journalist was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and suspected conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. The journalist is reportedly Anthony France of The Sun. Additionally, two police officers were arrested over suspected misconduct in a public office, and one of them is also suspected of corruption. The arrests were made in connection with a number of offenses from between 2004 and 2011.

    January 17, 2013 9:11 AM

  17. GIRTH Dunham: I’m Thin for Detroit Kevin Winter/Getty

    16. Dunham: I’m Thin for Detroit

    What’s wrong, Detroit not hip enough? After Howard Stern called wunderkind Lena Dunham “a little fat girl who kinda looks like Johah Hill”—and then later apologized—the Girls star called into his show. The voice of a generation said she wasn’t actually that fat. She added, in a low blow to Michigan: “I don’t mean to take major issue with you about this. I’m not super thin, but I’m thin for, like, Detroit.” Stern agreed, saying that Dunham wasn’t obese. Dunham joked that she’d write that on her gravestone.

    January 17, 2013 9:28 AM

  18. NO SECOND ACT

    17. Judges: Tiffany Six Can’t Be Teacher

    Sorry, middle-school students everywhere, turns out porn stars can’t relocate to your school. A three-judge panel in California ruled Wednesday that Stacie Halas, a former porn star known as Tiffany Six, cannot teach middle school due to her past career. “Although her pornography career has concluded, the ongoing availability of her pornographic materials on the Internet will continue to impede her from being an effective teacher and respected colleague,” said Judge Julie Cabos-Owen in the ruling. Halas, 32, had not told her employers about her past, but a group of students found her videos online and alerted the school. After Halas’s past became public, profanity was etched into her classroom window. She was fired in April.

    January 17, 2013 7:20 AM

  19. BUMMER Citigroup Earnings Sink Mark Lennihan / AP Photos

    18. Citigroup Earnings Sink

    Well, that’s disappointing. Citigroup earned just 38 cents a share in the fourth quarter, well below the 97 cents a share that analysts had expected. Bank of America had fourth-quarter earnings of three cents a share, up from the two cents a share that analysts had forecast. Bank of America made $732 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, much less than the $1.99 billion it had made in the same period the year before. Both Citigroup and Bank of America were among the 10 banks that signed last week's $8.5 billion settlement with regulators over foreclosure and mortgage servicing issues in 2009 and 2010, and earnings forecasts for Bank of America plunged after that announcement.

    January 17, 2013 10:02 AM

  20. OBSESSED Scottish Woman Builds Smurf Shrine VALERY HACHE / Getty Images

    19. Scottish Woman Builds Smurf Shrine

    The Daily Beast would like to present Brian Bell of Ayrshire, Scotland, with the award for Most Patient, Accepting Husband of the Year for not only sticking by his Smurf-obsessed wife’s side, but allowing her to convert a room in their house into a shrine for the £20,000 worth of little blue figurines and memorabilia she’s collected in the past 30 years. Bell’s wife, Karen, is a museum curator and bona fide Smurf-aholic. She got her first Smurf toy at age 6 and now has 4,482. “I know he still thinks it’s a bit strange, but I think he’s quite impressed, too,” says Bell of her husband’s reaction to the Smurf sanctuary. “And it’s great that he’s finally agreed to let me have the spare room for my collection—although he won’t let me paint it blue.”

    January 17, 2013 10:40 AM

  21. halt! FAA Grounds Dreamliners Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

    20. FAA Grounds Dreamliners

    The FAA is taking the "better safe than sorry" approach to the escalating concerns over safety of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Two Japanese airlines have already grounded all fleets of Dreamliners after battery problems have demonstrated a fire risk, and now the U.S. is doing the same. United, currently the only airline with Dreamliners, has been ordered to stop using them until the risk is fixed. "Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration that the batteries are safe and in compliance," the FAA said Wednesday evening.

    January 16, 2013 6:50 PM

  22. OBIT Conrad Bain Dies at 89 Conrad Bain in 1984. (NBC, via Getty)

    21. Conrad Bain Dies at 89

    Conrad Bain, the star of the ’70s and ’80s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, has died, his daughter confirmed Wednesday. He was just three weeks short of his 90th birthday. Bain had a long career of playing professional characters such as doctors and lawyers before his breakout part, a conservative neighbor of Maude on Maude. After that show ended, Bain landed his own sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes, where he played a Park Avenue widower who adopted two young black boys from Harlem—a rare sight on 1970s television.

    January 17, 2013 7:23 AM

  23. FAREWELL, HILLARY Kerry’s Confirmation Scheduled Sen. John Kerry at White House on Dec. 21. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

    22. Kerry’s Confirmation Scheduled

    “Texts from John Kerry” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. The confirmation hearings for the Massachusetts senator to take over as the next secretary of state will start Jan. 24, a Senate aide said Wednesday. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate’s powerful Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be confirmed easily. Meanwhile, the Senate foreign-relations panel will announce Thursday that outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify Jan. 23 about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Kerry will not preside at Clinton’s hearings.

    January 17, 2013 6:45 AM

  24. POSTMORTEM Prosecutor Defends Swartz Charges Swartz in Dec. 2012. (ThoughtWorks/AP)

    23. Prosecutor Defends Swartz Charges

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz insisted Wednesday that her office’s actions were “appropriate” in pursuing charges against Aaron Swartz, the cofounder of Reddit. Swartz, who died in an apparent suicide last week, had been charged with 13 felony counts of wire and computer fraud after being accused of illegally downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a subscription-based service, stored on an MIT computer network. Swartz’s family has blamed overzealous prosecutors in pursuing the charges against him—especially because he faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted. In the first statement since Swartz’s death, Ortiz wrote that prosecutors were never considering the maximum penalties against Swartz.

    January 17, 2013 7:14 AM