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  1. Goodbye Mandela Funeral Set for Dec. 15 William West/ Getty

    1. Mandela Funeral Set for Dec. 15

    President Obama and Michelle will travel to South Africa to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral, which is set for December 15. The funeral, which is expected to draw scores of world leaders, could become the largest global funeral since that of Princess Diana in 1996. There was a moment of silence in recognition of Mandela at the Johannesburg stock exchange at 11 a.m. Friday morning, and South African president Jacob Zuma declared December 8 a national day of prayer.

    From President Obama to Hamid Karzai to Aung San Suu Kyi, see how various world leaders are mourning Nelson Mandela.

    December 6, 2013 11:55 AM

  2. free at last N. Korea Frees American Prisoner Ahn Young-joon/AP

    2. N. Korea Frees American Prisoner

    After being detained in North Korea for about six weeks, 85-year-old Palo Alto, California native Merrill Newman is being deported, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA. Newman, a Korean war veteran, was held on charges of "hostile acts" but deported on humanitarian grounds after issuing a filmed "apology" for killing soldiers and civilians during the war. "Taking into consideration his admittance of the act committed by him on the basis of his wrong understanding [and the] apology made by him for it, his sincere repentance of it and his advanced age and health condition, the above-said institution deported him from the country from a humanitarian viewpoint," the official North Korean report said.

    December 6, 2013 9:00 PM

  3. NEW LOW Unemployment Falls to 7 Percent Lucy Nicholson /Reuters

    3. Unemployment Falls to 7 Percent

    The U.S. economy added 230,000 jobs in November, slightly higher than analysts had predicted, showing that despite the government shutdown in the fall, the economy is picking up momentum. The new jobs brought the unemployment rate down to 7 percent, a five-year low. The numbers were slightly inflated by the return of furloughed federal employees to work after the shutdown, but the gains go beyond the effects of government payrolls.

    December 6, 2013 8:59 AM

  4. miracle drug? Potential Hepatitis Cure Approved BSIP

    4. Potential Hepatitis Cure Approved

    A potential cure for the chronic infection of hepatitis C, the liver-destroying disease, was approved by the FDA on Friday. Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Sovaldi, a once-a-day pill, is the first approved to treat hepatitis C without resorting to interferon, an injection that also causes harsh flu-like symptoms. The potential cure doesn't come cheap though: It costs $7,000 a week for 12 weeks. About 3.2 million Americans are affected by hepatitis C and more than 15,000 die from the disease every year, in the form of illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. 

    December 6, 2013 7:04 PM

  5. BRRRR Ice Storm Shuts Down South Brennan Linsley/AP

    5. Ice Storm Shuts Down South

    A massive ice storm hammered the South and Midwest states on Friday, killing at least nine people and knocking out power lines. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for most of Friday for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The storm dumped snow in some parts of the Midwest and shut down the rapid transit system in Dallas. Energy companies showed power outrages across Texas and other Southern states beginning Friday morning.

    December 6, 2013 1:45 PM

  6. MYSTERY Missing Girl Sent Parents Letter AP

    6. Missing Girl Sent Parents Letter

    Weeks after she disappeared, missing New Hampshire teen Abigail Hernandez sent her mother a letter, authorities revealed Friday. “When we received this letter, I will tell you it was unprecedented,” said FBI special agent Keiran Ramsey. “It gave us hope.” Ramsey explained that investigators initially kept the letter a secret from the public when it was received on November 6, but made the announcement this week in the hopes that it might lead to her discovery. Investigators’ “worst fear,” Ramsey said, is that “someone may now be coercing” the 15-year-old. Hernandez has been missing since October 9, when she was last seen leaving her high school. It’s unclear whether she was abducted or ran away.

    December 6, 2013 5:43 PM

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  8. ETHNIC TENSIONS 281 Killed in CAR Violence Reuters

    7. 281 Killed in CAR Violence

    281 people have been killed over two days of violent crashes in the Central African Republic, according to the Red Cross. The organization’s president in CAR, Pastor Antoine Mbao Bogo said that while his staff had to stop working Friday night, he expects the death toll to continue to rise over the weekend. Meanwhile, France has decided to double its forces in CAR, from 600 to 1,200 troops on the ground, in an attempt to quell ethnic violence sparked by conflict between the mostly-Muslim rebels in power and the majority Christian opposition groups.

    December 6, 2013 3:50 PM

  9. DRAW DAY U.S. Plays Ghana in World Cup Christopher Simon/AFP via Getty

    8. U.S. Plays Ghana in World Cup

    The balls were drawn in São Paolo on Friday morning, and the U.S. national soccer team will will face Ghana in their first game at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four, and the U.S. landed in a "death group" with powerful teams Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. The host team, Brazil, will face Croatia in the opening match of the cup; the only new team, Bosnia-Herzegovina, got an unlucky draw and will have to face the always-lethal Argentina. Other exciting pairings that came out of the draw include defending champions Spain vs. the Netherlands, a rematch of the 2010 final, and England vs. Italy.

    December 6, 2013 12:25 PM

  10. going electric Dylan Guitar Sets Auction Record Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

    9. Dylan Guitar Sets Auction Record

    The Stratocaster guitar played by Bob Dylan during his infamous performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 (when he "went electric") sold at a Christie's auction on Friday for $965,000--a new world record for any guitar. "A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history," said Tom Lecky, the sale's auctioneer. The guitar, which came along with its orginal Fender case, was purchased by an anonymous bidder.

    December 6, 2013 8:50 PM

  11. black mamba is back Kobe Bryant Returns to Lakers Reed Saxon

    10. Kobe Bryant Returns to Lakers

    He's back! After staying out of the game all season due to a torn Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant is returning to the Lakers' lineup on Sunday--and he's already got some talking about "playoff potential." The Lakers announced the return of their star player with a hilariously dramatic video featuring Bryant's #28 jersey flapping on a clothesline through wind, rain and snow. "The legend continues...December 8," it says. We'll be watching. 

    December 6, 2013 8:42 PM

  12. FREE, SORT OF Gitmo Inmates Released to Algeria Charles Dharapak/AP

    11. Gitmo Inmates Released to Algeria

    Two Guantanamo Bay detainees were repatriated to Algeria on Thursday, a sign of the Obama administration’s intensifying efforts to close the controversial detention center. The two detainees strongly protested the move, fearing they would be persecuted on their return; their lawyers and human rights groups also attacked it, saying the men could have been released in Montreal or Luxembourg, where they used to live. On Wednesday, another detainee was repatriated to Saudi Arabia, reducing the count to 162. “President Obama remains deeply determined to close the detention facility at Guantánamo,” said national security adviser Susan Rice. “We expect to announce more transfers in the near future.”

    December 6, 2013 7:37 AM

  13. KINKY Leo DiCaprio Has Candle Sex Mary Cybulski/Paramount Pictures/AP

    12. Leo DiCaprio Has Candle Sex

    Reviews of Martin Scorsese's anticipated movie The Wolf of Wall Street are still embargoed, but gossip is filtering out from people who have seen it about one particularly penetrating scene: star Leonardo DiCaprio having a thick, dripping red candle shoved up his ass by a dominatrix. “All the actors have skin in this game,” one source said. The Wolf of Wall Street is packed with orgy scenes, including one that takes place on a plane. You may want to cover your eyes at some moments, though, because the film also features Jonah Hill naked, though no one knows if he used a prosthetic to cover his real, uh, naughty bits.

    December 6, 2013 8:10 AM

  14. BRB 23andMe Complies with FDA Order 23andMe/AP

    13. 23andMe Complies with FDA Order

    The popular genetic testing service known as 23andMe has agreed to comply with the FDA’s directive to "discontinue consumer access to its health-related genetic tests" until an investigation is complete. The company, which is backed by Google Ventures and Facebook billionaire Yuri Milner, promises to identify health risks for more than 250 diseases and health conditions. The $99 test sold by 23andMe came under fire after an open letter from the FDA revealed that no proof has been made public that the technology is actually real. In a statement to the public, co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki said she and her team plan to work with the FDA to prove the “validity of the science” behind it. In the interim, 23andMe will continue to offer its Personal Genome Service—including ancestry information and access to raw data without interpretation.

    December 6, 2013 12:35 PM

  15. LOOKING UP Nuke Deal Sparks Iran Hope Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

    14. Nuke Deal Sparks Iran Hope

    Hope is spreading across Iran as the country’s economy begins creaking back to life in the wake of its temporary nuclear deal with Western powers. The deal allowed some of the West’s economic sanctions to be lifted in exchange for delays in Iran’s nuclear weapons program. While the harshest sanctions remain in effect, the slight loosening has allowed companies to get back to work, has stabilized Iran’s currency, and has brought down inflation. “My company was on the verge of bankruptcy,” one Tehran printer said. “At least this is a first step toward a more human life.”

    December 6, 2013 7:40 AM

  16. SHOCKER Study: Holiday Drivers the Worst Scott Olson/Getty

    15. Study: Holiday Drivers the Worst

    An online poll by the insurance company State Farm found that drivers experience—and confess to unleashing—their most aggressive driving behaviors during the holiday season. Sixty-four percent said they had experienced aggressive driving more than six times in the past three months, and 44 percent said they had driven aggressively themselves. (Aggression is defined as improper lane changing, tailgating, and speeding.) Others said they had experienced intensified parking lot battles as spaces became scarce during holiday shopping.

    December 6, 2013 8:06 AM

  17. ORIGINAL CAST Gretl Slams ‘Sound of Music’ Valerie Macon/Getty

    16. Gretl Slams ‘Sound of Music’

    NBC may have had its biggest Thursday in four years, raking in 18.5 million viewers for its live performance of The Sound of Music, but not everyone was impressed. Kym Karath, who played Gretl Von Trapp in the original production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, was “mystified and disappointed” by the remake. Karath watched the show with fellow former Von Trapp sisters Charmian Carr (Liesl) and Angela Cartwright (Brigitta). “Must admit some scenes are actually painful to watch,” Karath tweeted during the special. “Love Carrie Underwood but this role is just not right for her. She is lovely her voice is beautiful but acting is wrong.”

    December 6, 2013 12:25 PM

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

    17. 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

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

    18. 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

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

    19. 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

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

    20. 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

  22. MANDELA OBIT Bono: ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry’ Pool photo by Juda Ngwenya

    21. Bono: ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry’

    As world leaders ready their jets for South Africa, U2 lead singer Bono has penned a eulogy of his own. “As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager,” Bono writes in an obituary published in Time. “He has been a forceful presence in my life going back to 1979, when U2 made its first anti-apartheid effort.” He adds that the Irish particularly related to Mandela and the plight of ethnic minorities being persecuted. Bono, who worked with Mandela on humanitarian efforts in Africa, recalls seeing him choke up but be unable to cry because of damage to his tear ducts from the limestone mines where he was imprisoned. He had surgery to correct the problem in 1994. “Now, he could cry,” Bono writes. “Today, we can.”

    December 6, 2013 7:16 AM