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  1. OLYMPIC SNUB Obamas, Bidens Won’t Go to Sochi Evan Vucci/AP

    1. Obamas, Bidens Won’t Go to Sochi

    As a sign of the United States’ concerns over human rights in Russia—including the country's anti-LGBT laws—neither the Obamas nor the Bidens will attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will go in their place, leading the U.S.’s delegation at the Games along with Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow, two openly gay athletes. In fact, the delegation will not include any current Cabinet members. “The U.S. Delegation to the Olympic Games represents the diversity that is the United States,” a White House spokesperson told BuzzFeed. U.S. officials aren’t the only ones snubbing Sochi. German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande have both announced they won’t be at the Games.

    December 17, 2013 7:16 PM

  2. MIXED REPORTS Hundreds Dead in South Sudan © Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters

    2. Hundreds Dead in South Sudan

    Violence ripped through South Sudan for the second day in a row Tuesday, leaving 400 and 500 people dead and around 800 injured, according to the United Nations, though those numbers have not officially been verified. The government in the capital, Juba, has said it arrested 10 politicians in connection with a failed coup and were searching for the former vice president, who they believe lead the bloody effort. The U.S. has suspended operations at its embassy in South Sudan and is urging citizens to leave the country.

    December 17, 2013 9:17 PM

  3. STAY PUT Deadly Temperatures Hit Northeast Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    3. Deadly Temperatures Hit Northeast

    Matthew Harriman is the first known casualty of the freezing temperatures and relentless snow that have stormed the Northeast and Midwest over the past two days. The 49-year-old homeless man was found dead in the snow near a campsite in Claremont, south-central New Hampshire. Harriman was believed to have been living in a tent and police believe his death was caused by the unapologetic winter weather, which got down to 10 degrees below zero in Claremont overnight Monday. As of 4 p.m. Eastern time, snow had halted nearly 400 flights in and out of New York and Boston ,plus 79 in Chicago. Bad weather is expected to continue, with another storm brewing later in the week. A record of -11 degrees was recorded in Burlington, Vermont, while Rochester, New York, dropped down to -4 degrees. Stay warm.

    December 17, 2013 5:45 PM

  4. NEW DETAILS Colo. Shooter Planned Massacre RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post/Getty

    4. Colo. Shooter Planned Massacre

    Was the shooter at Arapahoe High School planning Newtown Two? According to numbers scrawled on his arms, Karl Pierson, the gunman who entered Arapahoe High School Friday, had apparently planned to attack five different parts of the Colorado school. The numbers, according to the county sheriff, referred to specific classrooms near the library where authorities believe Pierson was looking for Tracy Murphy, the school’s librarian and and debate coach. Police believe that Pierson, 18, who fatally shot himself after injuring only one other student, acted alone.

    December 17, 2013 3:45 PM

  5. HOAX Harvard Student Charged in Threat John Warburton-Lee/Getty

    5. Harvard Student Charged in Threat

    A Harvard student was charged Tuesday in the bomb threat that shut down four buildings and caused the university to cancel some finals on Monday. Eldo Kim, 20, allegedly emailed several bomb threats to offices associated with Harvard, including Harvard University Police Department and the Harvard Crimson. According to the complaint, Kim allegedly sent emails to two campus officials, the police, and the Crimson with the subject line “bombs placed around campus” and named the four buildings that were later shut down. While police have not given a motive, Kim was scheduled to take an exam at 9 a.m. at Emerson Hall, one the buildings named. The maximum penalty he faces if convicted for the bomb threat are five years in prison, three years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

    December 17, 2013 6:03 PM

  6. GETTING EVEN India Angry Over Diplomat’s Arrest Mahesh Kumar A./AP

    6. India Angry Over Diplomat’s Arrest

    India is enacting reprisals against the U.S. following the arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last week. Khobragade was accused of getting her housekeeper’s work visa with fake documents and then paying the housekeeper less than minimum wage. Indian politicians have expressed outrage over what they believe was poor treatment by law enforcement against Khobragade--some local newspapers report that she was strip searched--and New Delhi police have removed security barriers around the American Embassy in retaliation. The Indian government has also ordered all ID cards issued to officials at U.S. consulates around the country to be withdrawn and all clearances for imports to the U.S. embassy, including alcohol, have been stopped.

    December 17, 2013 3:32 PM

  7. NO ENTRY Brazil: No Asylum for Snowden © Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

    7. Brazil: No Asylum for Snowden

    Edward Snowden is not going to get the chance to leave the cold, dark Moscow winter for Rio de Janeiro after all. Brazil insisted Tuesday that it had not issued asylum for the fugitive leaker, even though Snowden offered to help look into the National Security Agency’s spying there. On Tuesday, Snowden published an “Open Letter to the Brazilian People” in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, where he wrote that any condition of his helping Brazil would be contingent upon receiving asylum. Meanwhile, the CEOs of the U.S.’s largest technology firms told President Obama at a meeting at the White House that the NSA’s intrusive spying program is hurting their reputation—and damaging the economy as a whole.

    December 17, 2013 10:57 PM

  8. VEEP Touchy Biden Photograph Posted Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

    8. Touchy Biden Photograph Posted

    This is just Joe Biden being Joe Biden, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to go viral anyway. A reporter from The Hill posted a photo on Facebook of the vice-president hugging her, although she appears to be stopping Biden from letting his hands wander. Oh, Joe. In his defense, the reporter, Amie Parnes, is laughing, and Jill Biden is standing right there. Since there’s no such thing as privacy anymore, other journalists picked it up and tweeted it, causing to go viral—and with some even opting to hashtag it #creepyuncle. Enter The Onion in 3,2,1 ….

    December 17, 2013 3:47 PM

  9. MONEY TROUBLES ‘Walking Dead’ Creator Suing AMC Gene Page/AMC

    9. ‘Walking Dead’ Creator Suing AMC

    The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont is taking his workplace grievances to court. He and the Creative Artists Agency are suing AMC, claiming the network is witholding “tens of millions of dollars in profits, despite delivering to AMC the most popular show on all of television and the most popular show in the history of cable.” The suit also argues that Darabont, who was fired from the show after the first season, was wrongly let go, and that he is owed compensation for an upcoming spinoff as well as Talking Dead, the show’s offshoot. AMC has not commented on the suit.

    December 17, 2013 9:39 PM

  10. Dying of Affluenza? Justin Bieber Retiring, Maybe Chris Pizzello/AP

    10. Justin Bieber Retiring, Maybe

    Well, Beliebers, it’s been fun but according to an interview with a L.A. hip hop radio station on Tuesday, Justin is retiring. The 19-year-old pop star announced Tuesday that his forthcoming album, “Journals,” which drops on December 23, will be his last. Don’t rip those Bieber posters off your wall just yet, though. The singer hasn’t tweeted anything about quitting yet and a source from his team told TMZ Justin was just joking. Quit yankin’ our chains, Biebs!

    December 17, 2013 10:30 PM

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  12. Please Please Us Unreleased Beatles Music Drops AP

    11. Unreleased Beatles Music Drops

    Long live the four lads from Liverpool. Unreleased Beatles demos, outtakes, and sessions from 1963 hit iTunes early Tuesday. The collection includes alternative versions of "She Loves You" and "From Me To You." The 59 tracks were released to keep them out of the public domain, and in copyright, under European Union law that would've released them after 50 years.

    December 17, 2013 11:48 AM

  13. ROCK ON Nirvana, KISS, Ronstadt in at Hall Paul Kane/Getty

    12. Nirvana, KISS, Ronstadt in at Hall

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2014, and grunge and glam rock dominated. All of the artists inducted dominated the Billboard charts at one point, and Linda Ronstadt, Nirvana, and KISS all sold over 20 million albums. Ronstadt told the AARP's magazine earlier this year that she is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and isn’t able to “sing a note.” The artists will be inducted to the Hall of Fame on April 10 at a ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    December 17, 2013 6:50 AM

  14. ROLLING Merkel Confirmed for Third Term Sean Gallup/Getty

    13. Merkel Confirmed for Third Term

    As the head of a coalition between her center-right Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, Angela Merkel has been confirmed for a third term as chancellor by Germany's Bundestag. As part of the agreement to support Merkel, the SDP negotiated a national minimum wage (Germany has never had one) of 8.50 euro (or about $11.70), which will go into effect in 2015. "I accept the election result and thank you for your trust," said Merkel after the vote, as she received a bouquet of flowers.

    December 17, 2013 6:43 AM

  15. End of His World Doomsday Preacher Dies Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

    14. Doomsday Preacher Dies

    The end of the world finally came for Harold Camping. The Christian radio evangelist who caused a worldwide phenomenon with his prediction the world would end on May 21, 2011 died Sunday at age 92. The announcement was made by Camping's family on Tuesday. After reportedly spending millions to advertise his "end is nigh" message, Camping said he was "flabbergasted" when the sun rose on May 22. Camping then said he was off by five months and predicted the end would come on October 21. When the world refused to be annihiliated on time, Camping retired from radio.

    December 17, 2013 12:28 PM

  16. Judge Rules NSA Tool Likely Unconstitutional Alex Wong/Getty

    15. NSA Tool Likely Unconstitutional

    A federal judge ruled the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone and Internet data is likely unconstitutional. Richard Leon wrote the program clashes with the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure. “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’” than the metadata program, Leon wrote. The ruling from the judge appointed by George W. Bush is the first legal setback for the NSA’s surveillance program since Edward Snowden revealed it in June. In a statement sent to journalist Glenn Greenwald Monday, Snowden applauded the court's ruling. “Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights," wrote Snowden. "It is the first of many.”

    December 16, 2013 4:00 PM

  17. STILL BURNING CA Fire Devastates Coastline Nic Coury/AP

    16. CA Fire Devastates Coastline

    A wildfire that broke out late Sunday night continues to force evacuations in the Big Sur region of California. Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze, which has spread across 500 acres. Officials estimate that 15 homes have been destroyed (including that of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens), and more than 100 residents have been evacuated. No injuries have been reported.

    December 16, 2013 10:43 PM

  18. America's Laziest Employee EPA Official Sentenced for Fraud John Greim/Getty

    17. EPA Official Sentenced for Fraud

    According to court documents obtained by NBC News, the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest-paid employee also doubled as its laziest and most dishonest. Climate-change expert John Beale, who will be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to bilking taxpayers out of $1 million, shirked responsibilities by telling co-workers that he was frequently unavailable for agency work because of his covert life in another, more secretive government agency: Beale was a CIA agent. Except that he wasn’t. While acknowledging his guilt, Beale’s lawyer helpfully explained his client’s need “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … [which] are fueled by his insecurities.”

    December 16, 2013 10:07 PM

  19. BUSTED GOP Pol Sentenced for IPO Fraud Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

    18. GOP Pol Sentenced for IPO Fraud

    Somebody took Orwell's quote about political language seriously. Craig Berkman, the former head of the Oregon Republican Party who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994 was sentenced to prison for six years after being convicted of fraud for telling investors he had access to shares of Facebook before its IPO in 2012. He had told investors he would use their funds to buy pr-IPO shares in tech companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Groupon, and instead  used it to pay off other investors and his own personal expenses. The sentence is less than the 97 months suggested by federal sentencing guidelines.

    December 17, 2013 9:14 AM

  20. PEACE Pope Sacks Conservative Cardinal Alessandra Tarantino/AP

    19. Pope Sacks Conservative Cardinal

    Let’s see if anybody notices. On Monday, Pope Francis continued to rock the boat in the Catholic Church by removing an outspoken American cardinal who was a staunch critic of abortion and same-sex marriage, and appointed another American in his place. The removal of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops is being seen as a move that means Francis is willing to go beyond just a change in rhetoric to make the church more inclusive. “He is saying that you don’t need to be a conservative to become a bishop,” one expert told The New York Times. Burke recently gave an interview in which he aired his disagreements over the reduced focus on abortion and same-sex marriage, saying, “We can never talk enough about that.”

    December 17, 2013 6:45 AM

  21. UH OH Journal: Multivitamins a Waste Matt Rourke/AP

    20. Journal: Multivitamins a Waste

    First antibacterial soap, now multivitamins! A new editorial in this week’s Annals of Medicine claims that vitamins and dietary supplements are not worth the money spent on them. The piece uses three studies as evidence that the supplements are no help for preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, or a second heart attack, and that vitamins don’t improve longevity or cognitive function in men over 65. The multivitamin industry in the U.S. is a $12 billion-a-year business.

    December 17, 2013 6:48 AM

  22. ABOUT TIME Drug Company Ends Doctor Payments Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

    21. Drug Company Ends Doctor Payments

    GlaxoSmithKline PLC, a British drug maker, announced Tuesday that it will no longer pay doctors to speak on behalf of its drugs, or about diseases treated by its drugs. In addition, the company announced it will no longer tie pay for sales representatives to the number of prescriptions written by doctors. Those two practices are two of the most widely criticized in the pharmaceutical industry. Glaxo said that the changes were not the result of an investigation by Chinese authorities this past summer into allegations of GSK bribing doctors, government officials, and hospitals.

    December 17, 2013 9:06 AM

  23. WHEW Senate Clears Way for Budget Deal Win McNamee/Getty

    22. Senate Clears Way for Budget Deal

    The budget plan compiled by Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has cleared one more hurdle on its way to passage. The Senate voted 67-33 on Teusday to end debate on the bill, easily passing the required 60 votes to break a filibuster. The new deal will restore funding to defense and domestic programs that saw cuts from the automatic, across-the-board cuts in the sequestration deal. In its place, the plan will trim military and federal pensions, enact cuts to Medicare providers as well as smaller items like ending federal research for fossil-fuel discovery efforts.

    December 17, 2013 10:54 AM

  24. SICK OF RUSSIA? Snowden Asks Brazil for Asylum AP

    23. Snowden Asks Brazil for Asylum

    In an “open letter to the people of Brazil,” published in Brazil’s Folha newspaper, Edward Snowden is offering to help its government investigate U.S. spying if it gives him political asylum. "I've expressed my willingness to assist where it's appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the U.S. government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so," he says in the letter. Snowden also said that he has been asked by Brazilian politicians to help, and that he feels justified  after a federal judge ruled the NSA’s data collection was unconstitutional on Monday.

    December 17, 2013 6:42 AM

  25. DÉJÀ VU Fighting Returns to South Sudan Rolla Hinedi/UNMISS, via AP

    24. Fighting Returns to South Sudan

    Fighting in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has left over sixty soldiers dead after President Salva Kiir's security forces put down an attempted coup by supporters of his former deputy, Riek Machar. Kiir said the clashes started when uniformed men opened fire at a meeting of the ruling party on Sunday night. The death toll only reflects the number of people who died in hospitals, as the Health Ministry undersecretary says: “Whoever died outside the hospital, we don’t have their numbers.” As a result of the clashes, Kiir has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

    December 17, 2013 6:47 AM

  26. BONDAGE Russia Offers Ukraine a Deal Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

    25. Russia Offers Ukraine a Deal

    Talk about an offer you can't refuse. As political unrest continues to rage in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin went all in, offering the strapped country $15 billion in loans and a hefty discount on natural gas prices. The thinly-veiled carrot comes as thousands of protesters continue to fight against a government seen as too close to Russia that has spurned closer economic ties with Europe and the U.S. While it is unknown what Russia will receive in return, the offer, which was announced at the Kremlin at a meeting with Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich, is seen as giving the embattled leader an economic lifeline. 

    December 17, 2013 11:57 AM

  27. SATURATED Sweeteners Found in Rivers Justin Sullivan/Getty

    26. Sweeteners Found in Rivers

    Elevated concentrations of four artificial sweeteners, cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame, have been found in water samples from the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. The sweeteners, commonly found in drinks, found their way into the river by way of sewage treatment plants, demonstrating that the sweeteners are passing right through not only people, but advanced treatment systems. They also are found in trace amounts in municipal tap water, having survived purification processes. The sweeteners aren't the first substance found to make this journey. Antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids, and fragrances have also been detected and founds in fish tissue. The effects on animals in the water is unknown.

    December 17, 2013 10:55 AM

  28. RIP Country Singer Ray Price Dies Ebet Roberts/Getty

    27. Country Singer Ray Price Dies

    Ray Price, the crooning country star behind crossover hits like "Release Me," "Crazy Arms," and “For the Good Times,” died Monday at his home in Texas. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer. While lacking the name-recognition of contemporaries and friends like Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, and Merle Haggard, Price was a fixture on the country-music charts. In 1996, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Surveying his career in early December, Price spoke with contented finality: "I just like what I've done and how it's worked out, and it's been great. I haven't lost my voice, thank God for that." He was 87.

    December 16, 2013 9:35 PM

  29. TRAGEDY Six American Troops Die in Crash Tim Wimbourne/Reuters

    28. Six American Troops Die in Crash

    Six NATO troops, all American, died in an aircraft crash in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to officials. The crash is the single deadliest incident of the year as the U.S. continues its drawdown of forces in the region. While the U.S.-led ISAF says that while the crash is still being investigated, "initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash." The Taliban, never accused of being Johnny-come-lately's when it comes to human tragedy, is claiming responsibility on Twitter, saying its fighters shot down a helicopter over Zabul province.

    December 17, 2013 10:56 AM

  30. Revolving Door CBS's Miller Leaves for NYPD Jeff Neira/CBS

    29. CBS's Miller Leaves for NYPD

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. CBS's crack national-security reporter John Miller is expected to take a job with the New York Police Department. Bill Bratton, the returning police commissioner, previously hired Miller as chief spokesman for the NYPD in the mid-'90s. Miller later followed Bratton to the Los Angeles Police Department to be a counter-terrorism official. After the LAPD, Miller was a spokesman for the FBI until joining CBS in 2011.

    December 17, 2013 10:50 AM