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  1. IT’S OFFICIAL Kerry Sworn In As Secretary of State Tom Williams

    1. Kerry Sworn In As Sec. of State

    John Kerry’s official swearing in as secretary of state on Friday came with a surprising twist: contrary to previous reports, Kerry—not U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice—might have been Obama’s first choice for the position. Earlier today, The Boston Globe reported that Kerry was tapped for the job before Rice withdrew herself from the running. “He called me and said, ‘You’re my choice. I want you to do this,’” The Globe quoted him as saying.  While the White House has declined to comment, Kerry has since said that his comment to The Boston Globe was “overly casual,” and that Obama didn’t formerly offer him the job until after Rice withdrew her candidacy.

    February 1, 2013 6:16 PM

  2. Retirement Secret Service Director Steps Down Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

    2. Secret Service Director Steps Down

    He's done protecting. Secret Service director Mark Sullivan announced Friday he'll be retiring from his post, effective Feb. 23. It's unclear whether the decision has anything to do with last year's secret service prostitution scandal during President Obama's trip to Colombia. Sullivan served in the agency for nearly three decades and was head of the Secret Service for seven years. "From securing large events such as presidential inaugurations to safeguarding our financial system, the men and women of the agency perform their mission with professionalism and dedication," President Obama said in a statement. "That is a testament to Mark and his steadfast leadership, which will be missed."

    February 1, 2013 6:41 PM

  3. FAREWELL Hillary Clinton’s Final Days as secretary of state 'Bittersweet' Mandel Ngan

    3. Clinton: Final Days ‘Bittersweet’

    Hillary Clinton formally resigned Friday as America’s 67th secretary of state, admitting in her farewell speech that her final days in office have been “bittersweet,” but that she was proud “to reflect on the distance that we’ve traveled, and to take stock of what we’ve done.” In a letter to President Obama, Clinton wrote that she was “more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America’s global leadership.” John Kerry will be sworn in as her successor in a private ceremony later in the day. And as Clinton pointed out with her tongue firmly in cheek, Kerry has “some very large Manolo Blahniks to fill.”

    February 1, 2013 3:30 PM

  4. SCRAMBLE Scott Brown Won’t Run for Senate Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

    4. Scott Brown Won’t Run for Senate

    Former Massachusetts GOP senator Scott Brown will not run in a special election for current Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s seat, according to sources familiar with Brown’s plans. But this means Kerry’s seat will likely be filled by another Dem, leaving Republicans scrambling to find another option for the June 25 election. Brown was long considered the party’s strongest and most likely candidate, so as Kerry prepares to take over Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state, the GOP may now look to former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld as a possible contender. To make the ballot, candidates must acquire 10,000 certified signatures in four weeks.

    February 1, 2013 1:29 PM

  5. NATIONAL CRISIS Veterans Suicide Rate Rises TIM SLOAN

    5. Veterans Suicide Rate Rises

    An estimated 22 vets in the U.S. kill themselves every day, according to a two-year study by a VA researcher. That's a rise of 20 percent since 2007. The numbers reiterate a concern that freshman Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly recently voiced at Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing: “In 2012, we lost more veterans to suicide than military combat." Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, called the suicide level “unacceptable,” and an “extraordinary tragedy which speaks to ... the need for us to do a much better job assisting our soldiers and their families as they return home.”

    February 1, 2013 4:39 PM

  6. TURKEY Suicide Bomber Kills Two at U.S. Embassy Blast victim in Ankara outside U.S. embassy. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty)

    6. Bomber Kills Two at U.S. Embassy

    A Turkish security guard and a suicide bomber were killed and several more were wounded early Friday in an explosion at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Initially the attack was believed to be the work of al Qaeda, but Turkish authorities have now identified the bomber as a member of a left-wing militant group. President Obama called the attack an '"act of terror" Friday, and U.S. officials say they are working with Turkish police. Turkey hosts hundreds of NATO soldiers from the U.S. and elsewhere who are using a Patriot missile defense system along the border with Syria.

    February 1, 2013 6:00 PM


    7. Birth-Control Opt-Out to Be Offered

    The White House will allow an opt-out for religious nonprofits that object to covering contraception, a source said Friday. Instead, the nonprofits can offer coverage that does not include birth control, and a third-party issuer will handle anything relating to contraception. Religious groups had objected to Obamacare because it had a provision that all women’s birth control be covered, and it had become a rallying cry for others opposed to the health-care law.

    February 1, 2013 11:48 AM

  8. CYBERSECURITY Twitter Latest to be Hacked Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty

    8. 250K Twitter Accounts Hacked

    At this point, maybe it’s just best to stay offline for a while? Following a string of hacking announcements from several media companies this week, Twitter announced Friday that its security system has also been breached, exposing up to 250,000 of its users’ data. In a blog post, the company’s director of information security said his team had “discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later,” but that the “extremely sophisticated” hackers may have had access to usernames, email addresses, and even potentially passwords. Even more alarming, Twitter doesn’t think the attack was an isolated incident.

    February 1, 2013 8:36 PM

  9. OBIT Ed Koch Dead at 88 Mayor Ed Koch in April 2007. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

    9. Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Dead at 88

    Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died early Friday morning. He was 88. A Bronx native, Koch was sworn in as mayor in 1978, leading the city out of the grim 1970s by rescuing it from bankruptcy and using a tough-on-crime platform. But he left an uncertain legacy: his third term was marred by corruption and internal scandals as well as the lasting legacy of the AIDS crisis in his own neighborhood—not to mention questions about his own sexuality. After leaving office in 1989, Koch spent two years as a judge on The People’s Court and practiced private law.

    Remembering Ed Koch: a short video obituary to New York City's mayor.

    February 1, 2013 6:18 AM

  10. ¡Felicidades! Penelope Cruz Pregnant Again Europa Press

    10. Penelope Cruz Pregnant Again

    Get ready for more beautiful Spanish spawn from Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who are expecting their second child together. Sources close to the couple confirmed the news to Us Weekly (though the New York Post claimed to have an “exclusive” on the unborn babe). The Oscar-winning couple had their first son, Leonardo, in January 2011, six months after they were married in the Bahamas. Like most new mothers, Cruz is enamored with the role. “From the first second, you feel so much love,” she told Vogue in an interview for the fashion glossy’s June 2011 issue. “It is a revolutionary experience. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

    February 1, 2013 1:51 PM

  11. NOT SO FAST Monkey’s Space Trip ‘Faked’? AFP

    11. Monkey’s Space Trip ‘Faked’?

    It was too good to be true. Iran’s fabled space monkey may have been, well, a fable. Under close examination, it appears that the monkey that returned from space had a birthmark over its eye and the monkey who left did not, leading to some to wonder if it is even the same monkey. Also, while the images were widely circulated by Iranian state television, no one seems to have any evidence of these rockets. The U.S. government has long had suspicions as well. But no one has explored the possibility that the birthmark was added by aliens.

    February 1, 2013 1:22 PM

  12. WHAT RECOVERY? Jobless Rate Ticks Up Job fair in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 30. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg, via Getty)

    12. Jobless Rate Ticks Up

    And to end the bleak month of January: the jobless rate held steady, rising slightly to 7.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. The economy added just 157,000 jobs in January, slightly less than had been estimated. The report comes just days after data Wednesday showed that the economy actually shrunk in the last quarter of 2012, leading some to wonder whether the country is on the road to another recession.

    February 1, 2013 8:34 AM


    13. Katie Couric Once Went on Date with Larry King

    Katie Couric’s most embarrassing moment may not be, as it turns, that interview with the makeup artist —but rather, her date with Larry King. On Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday, Couric revealed that she went on a date with King when she was 30 and he was in his 50s. King took her to an Italian restaurant, which she said was a “nice enough time,” but then instead of driving her home, “I see that we’re going over the [Arlington] Memorial Bridge and I said ‘Larry, where are we going?’ and he said ‘my place.’ Oh mother of god.” Couric said at his apartment, he “lunged” at her, but she laughed because “the whole situation was out of a bad Lifetime movie.”

    February 1, 2013 8:12 AM


    14. Protesters Clash with Egyptian President's Security

    It's only been a day since Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's security forces and anti-Morsi activists signed an agreement to end a week-long string of violence, but the two groups are already back at each other's throats. Security forces outside the Islamist president's palace walls fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters armed with Molotov cocktails Friday, as Morsi warned demonstrators to back off. In a message on his Facebook page, the president warned that his officers won't hesitate to act "firmly to apply the law."

    February 1, 2013 3:17 PM

  15. Holy Cow Dow Closes Over 14000 John Moore / Getty Images News

    15. Dow Closes Over 14000

    Huzzah! That was the rallying cry on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday above 14,000 for the first time in more than five years. Overall, the Dow was up one percent in morning trading while the S&P 500 Index rose 0.9 percent. U.S. hiring in January increased more than previously expected, with the economy adding 157,000 jobs, although the jobless rate slightly ticked up on Friday to 7.9 percent.

    February 1, 2013 4:19 PM

  16. REVOLVING DOOR Energy Secretary to Step Down NICOLAS ASFOURI / Getty Images

    16. Energy Secretary to Step Down

    After four years as energy secretary, Steven Chu is calling it quits. Chu announced Friday that he plans to step down as soon as a successor is confirmed. After a tumultuous tenure, marked by successes in green-energy spending and the shamefully public collapse of Solyndra, Chu is the last member of the long-serving Obama cabinet to announce his plans for the second term. Obama has made no mention of a replacement, but word around D.C. is that the shortlist includes former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, former Washington governor Chris Gregoire, and former Colorado governor Bill Ritter, among others.

    February 1, 2013 12:22 PM

  17. RESHUFFLE NBC News President Leaving Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images Entertainment

    17. NBC News President Leaving

    It’s not a day that ends in y without a reshuffling in the media world. NBC News president Steve Capus is leaving the network, he announced in a memo Friday. Since joining the network in 1993, Capus has served as executive producer of NBC Nightside, NBC News at Sunrise, MSNBC dayside, The News With Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, and finally NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams. In 2005 he became the president of NBC News. In his goodbye memo, Capus noted that he has tried to “shield our journalists from the tough economic pressures,” but insisted the past few years have seen a growth for the network in ratings and profitability.

    February 1, 2013 12:50 PM

  18. GIRLS 2.0 Lena Dunham to Create New Comedy Kevin Winter/Getty

    18. Lena Dunham to Create New Comedy

    All that dancing on her own paid off. On the heels of two Golden Globe wins, Girls writer, producer, and star Lena Dunham is rumored to be pairing up with coproducer Jenni Konner to create a new comedy. Based on an upcoming memoir All Dressed Up and Everywhere to Go, the show would be centered around the life of its author, Betty Halbreich. At 85, Halbreich is still operating the Bergdorf-based personal-shopping enterprise that she launched in the mid-’70s. Described as “part Angela Lansbury and part Lucille Ball," Halbreich has dressed stars from Sarah Jessica Parker to Meryl Streep.


    January 31, 2013 4:48 PM

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  20. UNPRECEDENTED L.A. Cardinal Relieved of Duties Cardinal Mahony during Christmas Service in 2010. (Eric Thayer/Getty)

    19. L.A. Cardinal Relieved of Duties

    In an unprecedented move, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez has relieved his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of all his duties due to Mahony’s “mishandling” of child sex-abuse allegations by members of the clergy. The announcement falls on the same day that the church published 122 pages of the secret personnel files about the abuse. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry, who allegedly covered up the abusers with Mahony, resigned. While Mahony canceled his confirmation schedule, an archdiocese spokesman insisted he remained a retired priest “in good standing.” But the pain of the scandal lives on: in a letter on the church’s website addressed to “my brothers and sisters in Christ,” Gomez called the posted files “brutal and painful reading” and said “the behavior described in these files is terribly sad and misleading.”

    February 1, 2013 7:15 AM

  21. HACKING Ex-Detective Sentenced to 15 Months Casburn leaving court on Jan. 7. (Oli Scarff/Getty)

    20. Ex-Detective Sentenced to 15 Months

    Former Scotland Yard counterterrorism officer April Casburn was sentenced to 15 months in jail Friday for allegedly trying to sell hacking information to the now defunct tabloid News of the World. Casburn called News of the World after the investigation into hacking had been reopened in 2010. She denies asking for cash, although evidence presented by News Corp. in the trial suggested otherwise. Casburn, at the time the senior female investigator in Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command, said at the trial that she was angry her superiors had diverted finances from the mission.

    February 1, 2013 7:19 AM

  22. ASSESSMENT French President to Visit Mali French troops in Northern Mali on Thursday. (Jerome Delay/AP)

    21. French President to Visit Mali

    French President François Hollande will visit Mali on Saturday, his office confirmed Friday. Hollande had sent French troops into Mali earlier this month to lead an intervention against Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda. On Wednesday, French troops seized control of Kidal, the last of the militants’ holdouts. But peace talks could prove to be difficult: Malian President Dioncounda Traore said he would speak only to secular groups from the north, where the rebels are based.

    February 1, 2013 7:30 AM

  23. Mustache Power Geraldo Rivera ‘Contemplates’ Senate Run Jesse Grant / Getty Images

    22. Geraldo Rivera ‘Contemplates’ Senate Run

    Get ready, New Jersey: Fox News host Geraldo Rivera is mulling a run to represent the state in 2014's Senate race. “I mention this only briefly ... fasten your seatbelt,” he said Thursday on his radio program. “I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.” Frank Lautenberg, the 90-year-old incumbent Democratic senator, says he has no plans to step down.

    January 31, 2013 5:16 PM

  24. DISASTER Blast at Mexican Gas Plant Kills 25 Guillermo Gutierrez/AP

    23. Blast at Mexican Gas Plant Kills 25

    At least 25 people are dead and more than 100 are injured after an explosion Thursday at the headquarters of state oil company Pemex in Mexico City—while rescuers are desperately searching for more survivors. “An explosion took place in the B2 building of the administrative centre,” the company tweeted. “There are injuries and damage on the ground floor and mezzanine.” The cause is not yet known, but this is the second incident involving the oil giant recently. Just four months ago, 26 people were killed when a Pemex gas plant exploded in northern Mexico. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has called for an investigation into Pemex, which has a 75-year monopoly in the country.

    February 7, 2013 10:45 PM

  25. ADIEU Clinton: Benghazi Was Low Point Clinton speaking on Thursday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

    24. Clinton: Benghazi Was Low Point

    So long, Hillary. At least we’ll always have the memories—and “Texts From Hillary.” The secretary of state will leave office Friday—but not before she told the Associated Press that the attack in Benghazi, Libya, was one of her lowest moments in her diplomatic career. Clinton accused the critics who condemned her handling of the crisis as not living in an “evidence-based world.” Despite the harsh disparagement from Republicans after the Benghazi attack, she suggested that it will not affect any future political decisions. (Hint: Hillary in ’16?) John Kerry will replace Clinton at the State Department on Friday.

    Here's the comprehensive video cheat sheet to Hillary's term as Secretary of State—in just two minutes.

    February 1, 2013 6:37 AM

  26. BFFS Christie: ‘A Lot of Fun’ With Obama Gov. Christie on Jan. 24. (Mel Evans/AP)

    25. Christie: ‘A Lot of Fun’ With Obama

    It appears Chris Christie is continuing his Obama lovefest into 2013. The New Jersey governor on Thursday thanked President Obama for helping to successfully secure the $50 billion in relief from superstorm Sandy—and said they had a conversation that was “a lot of fun.” At others’ expense, perhaps? Christie wouldn’t elaborate on the details of the conversation, although he said he told the president the amount of relief money he wanted, and that he tried to sweeten the pot by saying that the president would not have to “deal with” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “That may have made it more tempting,” Christie joked to the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. In all seriousness, Christie did say the president had been “extraordinary” in helping his state.

    February 1, 2013 7:32 AM