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  1. OBIT Nelson Mandela Dead at 95 Siphiwe Sibeko/AFP/Getty

    1. Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

    Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday at age 95. Friends, family and military personnel gathered at the legendary anti-Apartheid leader’s deathbed at his Johannesburg home. Rumors about Mandela’s health, which has been faltering over the past year, swirled ahead of the official announcement, as people were seen entering his home earlier in the day. South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, confirmed the beloved leader’s death Thursday afternoon.

    December 5, 2013 4:52 PM

  2. an icon lost Obama: I Will Learn From Mandela Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

    2. Obama: I Will Learn From Mandela

    In a brief statement less than an hour after the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela was announced, President Obama called the legendary dissident "influential, courageous, and profoundly good," noting that "he achieved more than could be expected from any man." Obama recalled that his own very first political action was to protest South Africa's system of Apartheid, and pledged to learn from Mandela's legacy for the rest of his life. "He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages," Obama said, urging those listening to "strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice."

    'He Belongs to the Ages'

    December 5, 2013 5:14 PM

  3. 'lacks respect' Paris Hilton's Mandela Tweet Fake Matt Sayles/AP

    3. Paris Hilton's Mandela Tweet Fake

    For the record, Paris Hilton can tell the difference between Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. As the news of Nelson Mandela's death spread on Thursday, a fake Paris Hilton tweet eulogized Mandela, saying, "Your 'I Have A Dream' speech was so inspiring. Amazing man." Apparently Hilton was on a plane to Miami when the tweet went out and she later posted: "Whoever made that stupid fake tweet lacks respect to the loss the world is mourning right now. Same goes for all the blogs who ran with it."

    December 5, 2013 10:09 PM

  4. 'VERY MUCH LOVED' U.S. Teacher Slain in Benghazi Abdullah Doma/AFP/Getty

    4. U.S. Teacher Slain in Benghazi

    Ronnie Smith, a 33-year-old American citizen who was teaching chemistry in Libya, was shot and killed while jogging before work in Benghazi Thursday morning. The incident fell just two days before Smith was scheduled to return to America for the holidays. “He dedicated so much of his time for all his students,” an 18-year-old student of Smith's told NBC. “He chose to come here and help us and risk his life and now I can’t believe he’s gone.” As of Thursday afternoon, no party had come forward to claim responsibility.

    December 5, 2013 2:30 PM

  5. ACTUALLY... Obama Did Live With His Uncle Boston Globe

    5. Obama Did Live With His Uncle

    It turns out President Obama not only knows his Uncle Onyango--the Kenyan relative who has been living in the U.S. illegally since the 1970s--the President once actually stayed with his uncle for about three weeks when he first moved to Cambridge for law school. Earlier this week, a Boston immigration court spared the elder Obama deportation and the White House press office said that the president had never met Onyango. Thursday, spokesman Eric Schultz admitted that the press office hadn’t fully researched the Obama men’s relationship but clarified that the immigration case was handled “without any interference from the president or the White House.”

    December 5, 2013 2:32 PM

  6. no more small fries Fast Food Workers Strike Stan Honda/Getty

    6. Fast Food Workers Strike

    On Thursday, employees of fast food chains demonstrated across the country for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. The protests were estimated to hit 100 cities in an ongoing movement to raise salaries for low-income, hourly earners. "As prices for food, clothing and gas is going up, we work so hard for just a little bit of money," a McDonald's worker said. "The least they could do is pay us something we can be proud of." Efforts were met with criticism by the National Council of Chain Restaurants, which argues that chain restaurants are "a collection of small businesses in local communities" and they face "stiff economic head winds resulting from laws like the Affordable Care Act and anti-competitive rules."

    December 5, 2013 10:22 PM

  7. COMMUNIST CRACKDOWN China to Expel Foreign Journalists Peter Parks/AFP/Getty

    7. China to Expel Foreign Journalists

    The New York Times and Bloomberg reporters in China may be getting the boot, as the Communist Party is cracking down on allowing foreign news organizations to set up shop within the country. Times China contributor Ian Denis Johnson reports that about 24 of the paper’s correspondents will be subjected to expulsion, unless Beijing backs down from what seems like a mission to ban the Times as well as Bloomberg journalists from reporting in China. Both news organizations have upset the Communist Party leadership with in-depth coverage of corruption within the Chinese government.

    December 5, 2013 12:28 PM

  8. CONFLICT Attack in Yemen Kills 52 Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

    8. Attack in Yemen Kills 52

    A coordinated attack involving a suicide bomber and gunmen wearing army uniforms has left at least 52 people dead and 162 others injured at Yemen's Ministry of Defense. Immediately after a powerful car blast, armed men entered the government compound and fought with security forces. According to Yemen's Higher Security Committee, the victims were doctors and nurses. Security forces later regained control of the building, but no group has come forward yet to take credit for the attack.

    December 5, 2013 6:57 AM

  9. Satellite Images North Korean Prisoners Tortured Ng Han Guan/AP

    9. North Korean Prisoners Tortured

    Amnesty International has released a series of satellite images showing North Korea’s large-scale network of labor camps, where tens of thousands of inmates are reportedly starved, raped, tortured, and even killed. According to the human rights organization, the newly released photos actually show that North Korea’s labor camp system is expanding, with new housing blocks under construction. “The gruesome reality of North Korea’s continued investment in this vast network of repression has been exposed,” said Amnesty International’s East Asian Researcher, Rajiv Narayan. “We urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those prisoners of conscience held in political prison camps and close the camps immediately."

    December 5, 2013 11:26 AM

  10. SAY WHAT? Guilty Plea ‘Forced’ on Defendants Bill Pugliano/Getty

    10. Guilty Plea ‘Forced’ on Defendants

    According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, in 2012 only 3 percent of U.S. drug defendants in federal cases made the decision to go to trial instead of pleading guilty. According to the report’s author, Jamie Fellner, this is due to U.S. prosecutors effectively acting to “force” defendants to plead guilty. “Prosecutors can say, ‘Take these 10 years or, if you get a trial and are convicted, you’re going to look at life,’” said Fellner. In the instances when defendants choose to go to court, federal prosecutors were known to “make good” on their threats. In 1980, the first time the Human Rights Watch report was issued, the number of those who pleaded guilty was around 60 percent.

    December 5, 2013 7:13 AM

  11. OH YEAH! U.S. Grew More Than Expected Kevork Djansezian/Getty

    11. U.S. Grew More Than Expected

    Here's some welcome news for the holidays. The U.S. government has revised its estimate of economic growth for the third quarter to a 3.6 percent annual rate from 2.8 percent. The change also beat expectations from economsts who predicted 3.1 percent, and is the best quarter since the beginning of 2012. The jump came in large part thanks to businesses stocking up on inventory as well as an improving trade situation.

    December 5, 2013 10:03 AM

  12. diplomatic immunity Venezuelan Embassy Linked to Drugs Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty

    12. Venezuelan Embassy Linked to Drugs

    There are few better drug fronts than an embassy. At a trail for a former diplomatic secretary charged with killing Olga Fonseca, the Venezuelan ambassador to Kenya, a former driver at the Nairobi embassy testified that the diplomatic bag was used to traffic drugs. The bag, which can take many forms, is supposed to be a secure means of transferring diplomatic items or messages, and is legally protected from search or seizure. The driver said the drugs were from the reign of Fonseca's predecessor.

    December 5, 2013 2:36 PM

  13. HE’S BACK Former NYPD Head to Serve Again Toby Canham/Getty

    13. Former NYPD Head to Serve Again

    New York City’s Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio is bringing back a ‘90s New York City relic, William Bratton, to reprise his crime-cutting role as police commissioner. Raymond Kelly’s successor was appointed for his first police commissioner stint by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and has also run Boston’s and Los Angeles’s police departments. Under Bratton’s leadership in New York, which only lasted from 1994 to 1996, crime was significantly reduced in the city, with the murder rate dipping from 1,946 to 983 in those two years. Bratton also helped introduce the use of the data-driven crime tracking system CompStat, which is still used today.

    December 5, 2013 12:02 PM

  14. CASH-MONEY Christie’s Appraises Detroit Art Carlos Osorio/AP

    14. Christie’s Appraises Detroit Art

    As Detroit struggled with its descent into bankruptcy, it always had at least one bright spot: its world-class Detroit Institute of Arts. Now, as the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, pressures the museum to contribute to helping with municipal debt, experts from Christie’s have valued the most lucrative parts of its collection at between $453 million and $866 million. Creditors have been pushing for the museum’s assets to be auctioned off, saying the collection isn’t essential. Previously, art experts valued 38 of its masterpieces at more than $2.5 billion.

    December 5, 2013 6:59 AM

  15. PUSHBACK 23andMe Founder Responds to FDA Jeff Chiu/AP

    15. 23andMe Founder Responds to FDA

    The Food and Drug Administration has ordered the popular DNA tester 23andMe to halt its marketing, but its co-founder and CEO argues the agency just doesn't understand the services the company offers. Anne Wojcicki said at a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner that her company is offering new technology that the FDA doesn't know how to regulate. However, she also said her company failed to communicate well with federal regulators. “We completely recognize we’re behind schedule; we failed to communicate proactively,” she said. “[The FDA is] a very important partner, and everyone is focused on resolving it.” Wojcicki also recently made headlines, when she separated from her husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

    December 5, 2013 7:03 AM

  16. MEXICO Stolen Radioactive Material Found CNSNS/AP

    16. Stolen Radioactive Material Found

    Mexican authorities say they've found a stolen truck containing dangerous radioactive cobalt. The two thieves—who presumably were unaware of the vehicle's volatile contents—are still on the run, officials said. The truck was found 25 miles away from where it was taken, and the container holding the material had been opened. Authorities say they believe the suspects eventually will show up at a hospital with symptoms of radiation exposure.

    December 5, 2013 7:06 AM

  17. BABY STEPS Amanda Bynes Leaves Rehab Bethan McKernan/AP

    17. Amanda Bynes Leaves Rehab

    Did Drake pick her up? Actress Amanda Bynes, 27, has left rehab and is now at her parents home in Los Angeles continuing to recover. Bynes had been hospitalized this summer and put on involuntary psychiatric hold after she allegedly lit a driveway on fire—capping off a year full of bizarre behavior. “Amanda and her entire family would like to thank everyone who’s contacted them with good thoughts and wishes for Amanda’s recovery,” her lawyer said in a statement. Bynes reportedly plans to attend college to pursue a career in fashion.

    December 5, 2013 11:43 AM

  18. SHELVED ESPN Cancels on Ron Burgundy Elise Amendola/AP

    18. ESPN Cancels on Ron Burgundy

    Ron Burgundy can’t do everything. The Florida State Attorney’s Office will be holding a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday to address the sexual-assault allegations against star college quarterback Jameis Winston. Actor Will Ferrell had been scheduled to host SportsCenter at 6 p.m., but that's been canceled in anticipation of the news that will come from that conference. Ferrell’s Burgundy has been on a PR blitz of late—appearing on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show, calling a curling match, and recently hosting a local North Dakota television newscast.

    December 5, 2013 7:08 AM

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  20. big brother NSA Tracks Cellphones Worldwide Charles Dharapak/AP

    19. NSA Tracks Cellphones Worldwide

    Is no phone sacred anymore? According to documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and interviews the Washington Post conducted with U.S. intelligence officials, the NSA is gathering almost 5 billion records a day on the locations of cellphones worldwide. The information is supposed to allow the agency to track the movements of individuals and map their relationships. Americans’ cellphones are not targeted “by design,” but one anonymous NSA agent said “vast volumes” of data are collected by tapping into the cables that connect cellphone networks around the world and which serve both U.S. phones and foreign ones. On top of that, data is often collected from Americans who travel abroad with their cellphones.

    December 5, 2013 6:00 AM

  21. busted, again Ford Lost Phone at Crack House? Chris Young/Canadian Press, via AP

    20. Ford Lost Phone at Crack House?

    How is this guy real? According to police documents published by CTV News on Wednesday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may have lost his cellphone at a crack house a month before video of him smoking the drug hit the Internet. While wiretapping cellphone conversations during a drug-trafficking investigation, police overheard suggestions that Ford's phone had been stolen from the crack house, contradicting Ford's story about losing his phone at a community event. An alleged gangster was also overheard being ordered to go to the house because "Rob Ford wants some drugs." He was later heard saying that Ford had been "smoking his rocks" that day at the house.

    December 4, 2013 9:16 PM

  22. TRAGEDY Newtown 911 Calls Released Jessica Hill/AP

    21. Newtown 911 Calls Released

    After a court ruled against officials from Connecticut, the 911 recordings from the December 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown have been released. The state argued that making the recordings public would cause unnecessary suffering for the families of those slain. "We don't feel that the 911 calls should have been released, but that decision has been made now," said Nicole Hockley, a parent of one of the children, to NBC News. While the court acknowledged the pain the recordings would cause, they also said the calls would show the "bravery and professionalism" of first-responders. Other relatives of the victims felt differently. "I think the more the public knows, there will be less confusion, there will be less people making stories about what happened," said Gilles Rousseau, the parent of a substitute teacher who was killed. 

    December 4, 2013 2:54 PM

  23. REPORT

    22. Algerians Kill Al Qaeda Leader

    Algerian army helicopters shot and killed a top leader from al Qaeda Thursday, as well as four armed Islamic extremists, according to Algerian officials. The five men were allegedly speeding through a southern desert when two helicopters gunned down their vehicles. Among the victims is the No. 3 for al Qaeda in North Africa, Khalil Ould Addah (who also goes by Abu Bassen). The men were reportedly coming from Mali for a meeting with top al Qaeda leaders in Algeria.


    December 5, 2013 7:42 AM

  24. HEALTH CRAZE Beyoncé and Jay Z Go Vegan Frank Franklin II/AP

    23. Beyoncé and Jay Z Go Vegan

    Is vegan cool now? Entertainment power couple Jay Z and Beyoncé are reportedly on a 22-day plant-based spiritual cleanse. The news comes as they were spotted dining with Beyoncé's sister Solangé at Real Food Daily, a popular organic vegan restaurant in Los Angeles. The hip-hop mogul revealed the change in diet yesterday on his Life + Times blog, saying “On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!!”

    December 5, 2013 7:10 AM

  25. SKETCHY Russians Charged in Medicaid Fraud Sergey Ponomarev/AP

    24. Russians Charged in Medicaid Fraud

    Things must be really bad in Mother Russia right now. Diplomats from Russia are among the 49 people charged on suspicion of partaking in a scheme for nine years to get roughly $500,000 in illegal Medicaid benefits. All the defendants are either current or former diplomats from the Russian Mission to the United Nations, the Russian consulate general in New York, or the Russian trade representation office, says the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. They are being charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and steal government funds.

    December 5, 2013 10:58 AM