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  1. almost there Hagel to Get Confirmation Votes Bill Clark

    1. Hagel to Get Confirmation Votes

    Chuck Hagel's controversy-ridden campaign for Defense secretary is almost over, and barring any surprises, it appears he's snagged the spot. Thursday, Republican Senator Richard Shelby announced he would vote for the former Nebraska lawmaker, which is enough support for a confirmation. ‘‘He’s probably as good as we’re going to get,’’ Shelby said, despite having joined Republicans last week in a filibuster. The confirmation vote that would put Hagel in the Pentagon is expected for next week.

    February 21, 2013 6:57 PM

  2. BLADE RUNNER Pistorius Detective Dropped From Prosecution Botha at Pistorius bail hearing on Tuesday. (Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty)

    2. Pistorius Detective Dropped From Prosecution

    The detective leading the investigation against Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was dropped from the prosecution team after it came to light that he's facing seven counts of murder in a 2011 shooting. Detective Hilton Botha, who faced intense questioning at the third day of Pistorius’s bail hearing Thursday, is one of four officers who allegedly opened fire on a minibus while drunk and faces seven counts of murder. Botha admitted on the stand Wednesday that Pistorius’s story about the night he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, added up. Prosecutors claimed at Pistorius’s bail hearing Thursday that the pair “fought nonstop” the day before the deadly shooting, which Pistorius claims was an accident. Meanwhile, Nike dropped its endorsement of Pistorius, although a spokesman refused to comment further.

    February 21, 2013 3:55 PM

  3. loaded donations NRA Raised $1.1.M in January NRA membership card. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty)

    3. NRA Raised $1.1.M in January

    President Obama's push against guns unsurprisingly has incurred some unintended side effects. The National Rifle Association recently released its FEC filing, showing $1.1 million raised for its political action committee in January. The donations are being used to wage "the fight of the century," or so they call it, to combat the administration's stricter gun control regulations. The NRA Political Victory Fund earned $14.4 million total in 2011 and 2012, including $1.8 million this past August alone—right around the time of the Aurora and Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings. For a look at how many political candidates took NRA donations, check out the link below.

    February 21, 2013 3:00 PM

  4. covert affairs FBI Battles Internal Sexting Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

    4. FBI Battles Internal Sexting

    Apparently FBI agents are mixing work with play a little too much. CNN obtained confidential internal memos scolding employees for a variety of violations, including bugging a boss's office, paying for sex in a massage parlor, sending nude pictures to coworkers, and "a rash of sexting cases." "When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it's for official use. It's not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry,"  FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN. She added that though she thinks she's seen it all in her time at the FBI, she continues to get files that surprise her.

    February 21, 2013 9:38 PM

  5. SIN CITY Three Dead After Las Vegas Shooting 13 Action News/KTNV

    5. Three Dead After Las Vegas Shooting

    Like a scene from an action film, a shooting between two vehicles early Thursday morning led to a fatal multivehicle car accident near Las Vegas Boulevard in Sin City. Three people are reportedly dead following the ordeal. Las Vegas police say that passengers in a Maserati were exchanging shots with another car at around 4:30 a.m. when the Maserati collided with other vehicles. The driver of the Maserati, the driver of a taxi, and the taxi’s passenger were killed.

    February 21, 2013 10:01 AM

  6. Horrific

    6. Sisters Raped and Murdered in India

    It’s almost unspeakable. Three young sisters aged 5, 9, and 11 were walking home from school on Feb. 14 when they disappeared. Now, it’s being reported that the girls were found raped and murdered two days later, and the police never launched a proper investigation. After discovering the sisters’ bodies in an old well, police recorded their deaths as “accidental.” It was only after the people from the girls' remote village staged a protest that blocked a national highway Wednesday did officials look into the matter, leading to a medical investigation that revealed the rape and murder. The girls’ mother was offered one million rupees in compensation, but she says, “No amount of money is going to bring my girls back.”

    February 21, 2013 4:18 PM

  7. HE’S JUST BEING RAND Rand Paul Hands U.S. Treasury $600K J. Scott Applewhite/AP

    7. Rand Paul Hands U.S. Treasury $600K

    Just when you thought Sen. Rand Paul had no more tricks up his sleeve, he hands $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury and proves you silly wrong. The move, announced Wednesday, was a “symbolic gesture” meant to highlight how easily the government can reduce its spending. Paul says the sizable sum came from a closely monitored office budget. “We watch every purchase ... what computers we buy, what paper we buy, the ink cartridges,” Paul said. “We treat the money like it’s our money, or your money, and we look at every expenditure.” Paul’s donation was coupled by a smaller one from South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who pledged to give $160,000 of his budget (12 percent) back to the government. “At a time when Americans are tightening their budgets, I have made an effort to do the same with my congressional office budget,” Mulvaney said. When Congress starts cutting back on ink cartridges to try to save the economy, it might be a good time to start looking for lifeboats.

    February 21, 2013 1:20 PM

  8. SMELLS FISHY Seafood Often Not What It Claims To Be Brendon Thorne/Getty

    8. Seafood Often Not What It Claims To Be

    Take a closer look at that red snapper gazing up at you from your dinner plate—it might not be red snapper at all. A new study conducted by Oceana, a nonprofit ocean-protection organization, found that fish eaters are often deceived about their order, particularly at sushi bars. Over 120 samples of fish labeled red snapper actually included 28 different species—17 of which were not even part of the snapper family. While grocery stores proved the most reliable places to purchase a fish, the study found that sushi bars, specifically those in Southern California, are the least. At least 52 percent of the samples tested there turned out to be something other than what they were labeled. Go fish.

    February 21, 2013 11:57 AM

  9. LISTEN TO THIS! Scientists Grow 3-D Artificial Ears Bonassar with fabricated ear. (Lindsay France/Cornell University)

    9. Scientists Grow 3-D Artificial Ears

    It’s one small step for ears, one huge leap for hearing. Scientists have combined 3-D printing and human cells to create prosthetic ears that are expected to grow cartilage once they are implanted, researchers from Cornell University said Thursday. The prosthetic ears are almost indistinguishable from natural ones, and researchers said they can be a great help to children born with ear deformities or people who have lost their ears to accidents or disease. Current replacement ears are constructed with materials that have an unnatural Styrofoam-like consistency. The study’s author, Lawrence Bonassar, says the successful experiment is a powerful breakthrough. “This is such a win-win for both medicine and basic science, demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together.”

    February 21, 2013 7:48 AM

  10. ratings game NBC Falls to Fifth Place Ali Goldstein/NBC

    10. NBC Falls to Fifth Place

    Is this karma for taking 30 Rock away from us? NBC has apparently fallen to fifth place in the Nielsen TV ratings during the February sweeps period, when networks insert dramatic plotlines and massive events to boost ratings during the survey. NBC won the November sweeps, but this time even Univision topped them. CBS, which aired the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards, was No. 1.

    February 21, 2013 10:07 PM

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  12. OH, MY GOD Tebow Yanks Megachurch Gig Elaine Thompson/AP

    11. Tebow Yanks Megachurch Gig

    You don’t have to tell Tim Tebow twice to sit out. The formerly miraculous quarterback has canceled an appearance at the First Baptist Dallas Church, narrowly dodging certain public-image suicide. Pastor Robert Jeffress, who runs the megachurch, has had a few controversial opinions over the years: Muslims promote pedophilia, Mormonism is a cult, and homosexuality shows the degradation of a person’s mind. Tebow, who was slated to speak at the church’s new $130 million building, said that he’ll continue to use the “platform” God has blessed him with to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a “brighter day.” Which is great, because he really can’t do much while riding the New York Jets’ bench.

    February 21, 2013 11:49 AM

  13. dinosaurs Hey Politico, Women's Issues Matter Chip Somodevilla/Getty

    12. Hey Politico, Women's Issues Matter

    Is Politico joining the Hillary-disrespecting ranks of The New York Post? In an article published Thursday, the wonk site suggested that the women's issues Clinton pursued during her tenure as secretary of State were on the scale of "smaller international initiatives"—and kept her from focusing on issues of larger importance. On the other hand, the site theorized, John Kerry's role is expected to be more "assertive" and "proactive." C'mon, guys—it's no longer a question that advancing women's rights is one of the world's most effective tools for economic and political growth.

    February 21, 2013 4:19 PM

  14. SYRIA REELING Deadly Car Bomb Shakes Damascus Scene of explosion in Damascus on Thursday. (SANA, via AP)

    13. Deadly Car Bomb Shakes Damascus

    According to a Syrian news agency, at least 53 people were killed and more than 200 wounded Thursday when a car bomb exploded near the headquarters of President Bashar al-Assad’s party in Damascus. Syrian state media have deemed the incident a “terrorist” attack. At least four of the injured were children, Syrian state media reported. Eyewitnesses said a car exploded at a checkpoint between the Baath Party headquarters and the Russian Embassy, and the blast caused an immense cloud of smoke to rise over much of the city. “It was huge. Everything in the shop turned upside down,” said one local resident. The violence comes as the Arab League and Russia have offered to broker talks between the rebels and the government.

    February 21, 2013 11:15 AM

  15. Fired Up Biden Pleads for Gun-Control Action Spencer Platt / Getty Images

    14. Biden Pleads for Gun-Control Action

    Vice President Joe Biden drew a hard line during his keynote speech at gun-control conference at Western Connecticut State University, located just 15 miles from the site of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is “unacceptable not to take action” to curb gun violence, Biden said, pleading for legislators to not be motivated by politics with their stance on the issue. “If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children,” he said. “There’s a moral price for inaction.” He echoed the president’s State of the Union plea for stronger gun laws: “They say it isn’t about guns. They’re wrong. It is about guns.”

    February 21, 2013 2:45 PM

  16. Immigration debate Most Americans Support Deportation John Moore/Getty

    15. Most Americans Support Deportation

    Americans may not be as keen to ease immigration laws as the Obama administration is. According to a new poll, more than half of U.S. citizens think most or all 11 million illegal immigrants in the country should be deported. The Reuters and Ipsos released Wednesday found a quarter of those polled believe all illegal immigrants should be sent home, and a third said most should be allowed to stay. This fits the trajectory of polls in recent years. "It's not Americans' views that are shifting. It is that the political climate is ripe for this discussion," Ipsos pollster Julia Clark says.

    February 20, 2013 9:00 PM

  17. NOT ‘LOVIN’ IT’ U.S. Kids Eating Fewer Calories John Moore/Getty

    16. U.S. Kids Eating Fewer Calories

    In one of the first glimmers of hope in the fight against obesity, American children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade earlier—but the obesity rate for children remained flat, a federal study released Thursday showed. The obesity rate for adults is slowly starting to decline, although researchers cautioned that the decrease is still marginal. It’s not more exercise in adults causing the receding waistlines—researchers said that energy intake hadn’t increased, but rather fast-food consumption is on the decline. Americans still consume about a third of their calories outside the home, and some demographic groups still get plenty of calories from fast food, with the highest being blacks between 20 to 39, who get a fifth of their calories from fast food.

    February 21, 2013 6:44 AM

  18. BRR Massive Snowstorm Barrels East Snowman on fairway in Marana, Ariz. on Wednesday. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

    17. Massive Snowstorm Barrels East

    Looks like winter has gotten too comfortable to leave—thanks for nothing, Punxsutawney Phil. A massive snowstorm is now headed east after walloping the plains states Thursday, resulting in at least one death. The storm even delivered a few flakes to Tucson, Arizona, with an inch falling in the city and up to six inches falling in the mountains—forcing the PGA to cancel a tour event in the city. In Oklahoma, Cody Alexander, 18, was killed when his car skidded on an interstate due to the slushy mix, while a school bus crashed in northern Arkansas, injuring three students and the driver. A winter-storm warning has been issued from Colorado to Illinois, with as much as several feet expected in some areas.

    February 21, 2013 3:40 PM

  19. BOMB BLAST 10 Killed in Indian Explosions NOAH SEELAM / AFP

    18. 10 Killed in Indian Explosions

    At least 10 people have been pronounced dead and 50 injured after a pair of explosions Thursday in the bustling downtown area of Hyderabad, India. Police are still trying to determine the cause of the blasts, which occurred 10 minutes apart outside a movie theater and a crowded bus station. Many believe them to be bomb attacks, as India has been in a state of alert since Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was convicted of his involvement in a 2011 attack on India’s Parliament, was hanged two weeks ago. A large majority of Indians feel he was not given a fair trial.   

    February 21, 2013 10:31 AM

  20. ROCKET MAN India Blasts Off to Mars NASA/Getty

    19. India Blasts Off to Mars

    Suit up, Mars, India’s coming to town. President Pranab Mukherjee announced Thursday that his Asian nation will be launching its first mission to Mars this year. Set for blastoff in October, the unmanned spacecraft—complete with a navigational satellite—will likely take at least nine months to make it to the Red Planet. While the news is a welcome boost for Indians yeaning for a more prominent place on the world stage, it is also the subject of much scrutiny. In a nation plagued by malnutrition and other maladies, an $83 million operation is an extravagant play. The government of India has allocated $1.2 billion to the program in this fiscal year alone.

    February 21, 2013 2:21 PM

  21. ROYAL MUAH Prince Harry Kisses Model on Ski Trip Prince Harry in Afghanistan in September 2012 (John Stillwell/AFP/Getty)

    20. Prince Harry Kisses Model on Ski Trip

    For once it’s Prince Harry’s emotions that are naked right now. Everybody’s favorite wild-child royal was photographed kissing model Cressida Bonas on a Swiss ski trip Wednesday—and was splashed all over Britain’s front pages Thursday. The rare public display of affection by Harry helped fuel speculation that he is settling down with Bonas—especially since the prince reportedly brought the 24-year-old along with him for a dinner celebrating his uncle Prince Andrew’s birthday. A source told the Daily Mail that Bonas sat on Harry’s knee as they kissed during the dinner. Let’s hope this time he keeps his clothes on—at least while the cameras are around.

    February 21, 2013 8:11 AM

  22. NERD PROM Canseco Going to Correspondents’ Dinner? Canseco after batting in July 2006. (Steve Yeater/AP)

    21. Canseco Going to Correspondents’ Dinner?

    The nerd prom just won some serious street cred. The website’s press director on Wednesday invited former baseball legend Jose Canseco to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner after he tweeted up a storm about politics. On Wednesday, Canseco weighed in on Chuck Hagel’s pending confirmation as secretary of Defense, tweeting that the former senator “will be confirmed” because “neocons resent him for iraq break and will weaken him,” and he said Breitbart’s ”Friends of Hamas” rumor “didn’t help” (although he wrongly attributed the rumor to Politico). Canseco responded to the official invitation—tweeted by BuzzFeed’s Ashley McCollum—with an excited tweet of his own. “I have always wanted to go to that dinner ash. bet I could track dick lugar down there. set it up!” McCollum said she “sure as hell hopes” Canseco will be attending with her. Who doesn’t?

    February 21, 2013 7:49 AM

  23. ON THE STAND Jodi Arias: ‘Huge Gap’ in Memory Jodi Arias during her murder trial on Wednesday. (Pool photo by Charlie Leight)

    22. Jodi Arias: ‘Huge Gap’ in Memory

    Jodi Arias wrapped up her marathon eight-day testimony Wednesday, saying she had a “memory gap” the night she allegedly stabbed and fatally shot her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. Arias claimed she remembered getting in a fight with Alexander the night he died, possibly shooting him during the argument, putting the knife in the dishwasher, and disposing of the gun in the desert. But when asked directly, she said she only remembered the knife clinking onto the floor, but she had “no memory” of stabbing him 27 times. She also testified that she remembered pointing Alexander’s gun at him to protect herself, although authorities said there is no evidence that Alexander even owned a gun. Arias has been charged with Travis’s murder, and she could face the death penalty if convicted.

    Jodi Arias battled with prosecutor Juan Martinez, claiming that her memory sometimes fails when "men like you are screaming at me or grilling me."

    February 21, 2013 8:09 AM

  24. IHIPSTER Google Glass Teams With Warby Parker Google co-founder Brin wearing Glass on Feb. 20. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

    23. Google Glass Teams With Warby Parker

    Guys might start making passes at girls who wear glasses—at least Google specs. Google is teaming up with hipster eyewear company Warby Parker to create a line of the unbelievably cool glasses that will allow wearers to have the Internet always in their line of sight, sources told The New York Times on Thursday. On Wednesday, Google began accepting applications for users to buy early versions of the glasses, and sources said they hope to sell them to the general public this year. The glasses reach the Internet through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which connects through a wireless phone, and respond to the user's voice commands. But don’t get too excited if you have actual prescription glasses: the frames have no lenses, though Google is still experimenting with adding prescriptions and sunglasses.

    February 21, 2013 7:18 AM