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  1. JUSTIFIED Judge: NSA Phone Spying Is Legal AP

    1. Judge: NSA Phone Spying Is Legal

    A federal judge in New York decided Friday that the NSA’s mass collection of phone data is lawful. In his opinion on the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge William Pauley argued that the program was part of the government’s post 9/11 attempt to adapt “to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world.” In his opinion, Pauley wrote that, “The collection of breathtaking amounts of information unprotected by the Fourth Amendment does not transform that sweep into a Fourth Amendment search,” referring to the prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure. 

    December 27, 2013 11:51 AM

  2. THAT WAS FAST Phil Robertson Back In at A&E

    2. Phil Robertson Back at A&E

    Phil Robertson’s indefinite suspension is over before it started. A&E announced that the Duck Dynasty star, who was put on hiatus after he likened homosexuality to beastality and whitewashed Jim Crow, will not be taken off the show. The Robertson family, A&E noted in a statement about its decision, has denounced the “coarse language” used by its patriarch to explain his personal views in the now-infamous interview. “But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family...a family that America has come to love,” said A&E. “As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance, and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A&E Networks also feel strongly about.”

    December 27, 2013 5:25 PM

  3. REVEALING New Details in Sandy Hook Report

    3. New Details in Sandy Hook Report

    Connecticut state police released a 6,500-plus page investigative report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Friday. The documents include statements from police officers, Sandy Hook employees who survived as well as thousands of photographs—many of them blacked out—heavily-redacted interviews with some of the children who were there, and 911 calls made from inside the school during the shooting. “God he’s...he’s shot a hundred times...he must have some big artillery,” said one of the 911 callers, who is not identified in the documents. The report also offers new details about the house where shooter Adam Lanza lived his mother Nancy. Lanza’s bedroom, which Nancy was not allowed to enter, was darkened by garbage bags taped over the windows and filled with newspaper clippings on mass shootings and a spreadsheet that organized different shootings by the weapons used and how many people were killed.

    December 27, 2013 6:07 PM

  4. TROUBLESHOOTING Target: PIN Data Lifted, But Safe Phil Coale

    4. Target: PIN Data Lifted, But Safe

    PIN data was lifted during the Target data breach, the corporation has admitted, but Target is “confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure.” Target assured its customers that their debit card accounts are safe after a company-wide scam that may have impacted up to 40 million shoppers. “The PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems,” said Target in its statement. 

    December 27, 2013 1:34 PM

  5. PEACE? South Sudan Govt. OKs Ceasefire Samir Bol/AFP/Getty

    5. South Sudan OKs Ceasefire

    South Sudan’s government has committed to a ceasefire, according to regional neighbors gathered at an emergency summit on Friday. The east African body Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said President Salva Kiir agreed to an “immediate cessation of hostilities,” and called upon former vice-president Riek Machar and other rebel forces to do the same. Machar, who was fired in July, and has since been accused of an attempted coup, earlier agreed to peace talks on the condition that political allies would be released. They have not yet been released. Over 1,000 have already been killed due to infighting in the world’s newest nation, according the U.N.

    December 27, 2013 9:21 AM

  6. BLAST Beirut Car Bomb Kills Ex-Minister Hussein Malla/AP

    6. Beirut Car Bomb Kills Ex-Minister

    A powerful car bomb near government headquarters in central Beirut has killed its suspected target, Lebanon’s former Finance Minister, 62-year-old Mohammed B. Chattah and at least six others, according to Lebanese officials. Chattah, a former Lebanese ambassador to the United States, has been critical of Hezbollah and was currently involved with a Sunni party called the Future Bloc, a group that supports the rebels in Syria and is close to the insurgency’s main backers, Saudi Arabia. The bomb is the first the capital has seen in several years, bringing the war in neighboring Syria closer than ever. Both sides in Syria’s civil war have threatened figures in Lebanon for their intervention. More than 70 could be injured.

    December 27, 2013 7:08 AM

  7. REVERSAL Argentine Teen Allowed Abortion ENRIQUE MARCARIAN/LANDOV

    7. Argentine Teen Allowed Abortion

    A 14-year-old rape victim will be allowed to have an abortion, a Supreme Court in Argentina decided Friday. A family court ruled earlier this month that the girl—who became pregnant when raped by her mother’s partner—could not terminate the pregnancy and would need to have the baby and give it up for adoption. (Abortion is illegal in Argentina except in some cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk.) Last year the country’s federal Supreme Court ruled that rape victims do not need the court’s permission to have an abortion, though as evidenced by the family court’s decision in this girl’s case, that ruling is still not always followed. That decision was reversed by the Supreme Court in the city of Salta, where the girl lives.

    December 27, 2013 4:15 PM

  8. FROZEN Icebreakers to Rescue Trapped Ship Australasian Antarctic Expedition, via AP

    8. Icebreakers to Rescue Trapped Ship

    After spending Christmas marooned in the Antarctic ice, the 74 people aboard the the MV Akademik Shokalskiy may be freed Friday. Snow Dragon, the Chinese icebreaking ship, has sailed through a cyclone and is on its way to the trapped Russian vessel. The ship was stranded on Tuesday after a blizzard moved the sea, freezing it around the ship. French and Australian icebreakers are also on their way to the stranded ship. What happens if the icebreaking ships get trapped on the way? They'll need to be rescued, too.

    December 27, 2013 7:13 AM

  9. CRACKDOWN Muslim Brotherhood Battles Grow Ahmed Abd El Latif/AP

    9. Muslim Brotherhood Battles Grow

    A man was killed in clashes on Friday as Egyptian police arrested dozens more Muslim Brotherhood members, adding fuel to a growing political fire in Cairo between the Islamist party and its supporters, and opponents of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi. More protests are expected today, following the army’s designation of the party as a terrorist organization earlier this week, despite the army’s warning that support for the Brotherhood could mean jail time and even death. The Egyptian army’s crackdown came after a bus bombing Thursday wounded five, and just two days after a suicide bombing outside police headquarters killed 15. The Brotherhood denied involvement in Tuesday’s attack, for which a Sinai-based jihadi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis already claimed responsibility.

    December 27, 2013 10:25 AM

  10. BRAIN DRAIN Concussions May Cause Alzheimer's Ronald Martinez/Getty

    10. Concussions May Cause Alzheimer's

    More bad news for the NFL. According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, people who have suffered concussions may be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they get older. The study found that people with traumatic brain injuries formed plaques on the brain similar to those found in people with the debilitating disease. Previous research has supported the link, including studies that show athletes in high-contact sports where they receive blows to the head like football and boxing, are more at risk for dementia.

    December 27, 2013 7:33 AM

  11. PEER PRESSURE Miley Disses Joe Jonas

    11. Miley Disses Joe Jonas

    "If you want to smoke weed, you're going to smoke weed. There's nothing that two little girls are going to get you to do that you don't want to do." That's what Miley Cyrus has to say to Joe Jonas after he claimed that the twerking singer and Demi Lovato introduced him to marijuana when they were younger. Cyrus said that Jonas was perhaps trying to appear like a "badass." In another interview with The New York Times, Cyrus also said that her antics are really just part of her character. "I don't really dress as a teddy bear and, like, twerk on Robin Thicke, you know?" she said.

    December 27, 2013 1:16 PM

  12. FOWL Chick-fil-A Site for ‘Duck’ Day Karolina Wojtasik

    12. Chick-fil-A Site for ‘Duck’ Day

    Nearly 60,000 Duck Dyansty fans on Facebook have said they plan to attend an appreciation day for the show’s patriarch at, where else, their local Chick-fil-A restaurants. Touting the event as a way to “stand for free speech”, the Chick-Phil-A Day Facebook page asks people to show up wearing "Duck Commander or camouflage gear.” Phil Robertson has been suspended from the show for his recent anti-gay remarks, where he called homosexuals sinful in an interview with GQ. Though Chick-fil-A rejects any affiliation with the event, the restaurant is a natural setting; it was the site of both protests and appreciation days last year when CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against same-sex marriage.

    December 27, 2013 12:54 PM

  13. SEARCHING FOR EDIBLES NJ Family Moves to CO for Pot Geoff Mulvihill/AP

    13. NJ Family Moves to CO for Pot

    The family of an epileptic toddler is moving from New Jersey to Colorado after failing to get Chris Christie to loosen the state’s medical marijuana law.  Meghan and Brian Wilson got three doctors to approve a cannabis card for their 2 ½-year-old daughter Vivian, who they say needs edible marijuana to control her life-threatening seizures. But New Jersey’s only dispensary sells smokable pot, which had to be made into food. The family petitioned for Christie to change the law to allow edibles, but he said that would be “a slippery slope.” When a generous benefactor offered to pay for $10,000 of their moving expenses, the Wilsons decided it was time to relocate to Colorado where retail marijuana sales are legal.

    December 27, 2013 10:43 AM

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  15. Valar Morghulis 'GoT' the Most Pirated TV Show Helen Sloan

    14. 'GoT' the Most Pirated TV Show

    When it comes to the illegally watching television, dragons trump meth dealers. The season finale of Game of Thrones beat the series finale of Breaking Bad as the most pirated episode of the year. The follow up to the buzzed about “Red Wedding” episode was downloaded nearly 6 million times, while 5.4 million people watched it on television. Meanwhile, Walter White’s revenge was downloaded 4.2 millions times. The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, and Dexter rounded out the top 5.

    December 27, 2013 7:36 AM

  16. travel lottery Delta Honors Fare Glitch Scott Olson / Getty Images

    15. Delta Honors Fare Glitch

    Your Christmas money could have gone far today. On Thursday morning, travelers noticed Delta flights were showing up as low as $25 for a roundtrip ticket between New York and Los Angeles. Amid speculation over whether the airline would honor these ridiculously priced tickets, Delta announced it would, despite a clause in its contract saying it has the right to cancel and refund erroneous tickets.

    December 26, 2013 4:55 PM

  17. LOOK AT US! Iran: We’re Making New Centrifuges Vahid Salemi/AP

    16. Iran: We’re Making New Centrifuges

    It’s a technicality! Despite the landmark nuclear deal reached last month, Iran says that it is developing new centrifuges. This is all fine though, because the deal stipulates the the nation does not bring new centrifuges into operation for six months—developing centrifuges is fine. “The new generation of centrifuges is under development. But all tests should be carried on it before mass production,” the nuke chief said. The news may satisfy Iranian hard-liners who say the deal is a surrender to Western powers.

    December 27, 2013 7:23 AM

  18. DECISION TIME Family to Move Brain Dead Teen Ben Margot/AP

    17. Family to Move Brain Dead Teen

    The family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath is weighing offers from nursing homes who have offered to care for the girl after complications from a tonsillectomy surgery left her brain dead, with no chance of recovering, according to her doctors. The girl’s case has been taken up by religious right-to-life groups who have offered support to her mother’s plea to keep Children’s Hospital Oakland from removing the child’s ventilator, a move that a judge ruled could be made on Monday. Before she could be transferred to another facility, however, McMath would need breathing and feeding tubes surgically implanted, which hospital officials say they will not perform. “Children’s Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice,” the chief of pediatrics said.

    December 27, 2013 7:56 AM

  19. MASS MURDER Louisiana Man Kills Three Lafourche Parish Sheriff Office, via AP

    18. Louisiana Man Kills Three

    Three are dead and four injured in Louisiana after 38-year-old Ben Edward Freeman allegedly went on a bloody rampage, bursting into the homes of his former in-laws and an ex-boss, firing a shotgun at everyone inside. Authorities say he shot and killed his former mother-in-law and wounded several others there including his ex-wife before moving on to the home of Milton Bourgeois, the CEO of a hospital where he used to work. After killing Bourgeois, he fled and apparently turned the gun on himself. After learning his identity, police swarmed his house only to find his current wife dead in the bathtub. Her cause of death is not known.

    December 27, 2013 8:31 AM

  20. Unfit to Stand Trial? 9/11 Plotter Mentally Incompetent AP

    19. 9/11 Plotter Mentally Incompetent

    A psychologist who interviewed Ramzi Binalshibh at Guantanamo Bay found the alleged September 11 co-conspirator didn't understand the proceedings against him and suffered from delusions. Columbia professor Xavier Amador interviewed Binalshibh for three days in 2009. The al-Qaeda member was subjected to torture during CIA interrogations at secret prisons before his time at Gitmo. Last week, a medical review board was ordered to evaluate Binalshibh's fitness to stand trial. 

    December 27, 2013 9:42 AM

  21. PINK SLIP Unemployment Cuts Coming Rich Pedroncelli/AP

    20. Unemployment Cuts Coming

    Benefits for the long-term unemployed—a projected 1.3 million Americans—are set to expire on Saturday, a move that Democrats have painted as heartless and Republicans call timely while the nation’s unemployment rate is at a low seven percent.  The Senate is set to vote on a bill reinstating benefits retroactively in the first full week back from a bipartisan group of senators calling to extend the emergency benefits for three more months, at an estimated cost of $6.5 billion.  1.9 million more Americans are set to lose an average of $300 a week in benefits by mid-year when their 26 weeks of state sponsored aid runs out. 

    December 27, 2013 8:16 AM

  22. SUCKER PUNCH Texas 'Knockout' Attacker Charged Harris County Sheriff's Office, via Houston Chronicle/AP

    21. Texas 'Knockout' Attacker Charged

    It’s official: the knockout game is real. A white Houston man, Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, has been charged with a federal hate crime after authorities say he sucker-punched an elderly black man so hard that he lost teeth and needed surgery to repair a broken jaw. Barrett wasn’t caught until almost two weeks after the attack when he showed a cell phone video that he allegedly took of the incident to an off-duty arson investigator who immediately told police. According to prosecutors, the video shows Barrett walk up to the victim, say, “How's it going, man?" then assault the elderly man. He then said, "Knockout” and laughed before leaving the scene. Barrett now faces 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

    December 27, 2013 9:07 AM

  23. OCCUPATION Okinawa OKs New U.S. Base Greg Baker/AP

    22. Okinawa OKs New U.S. Base

    Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has approved a plan to relocate a U.S. air base from Futenma to the less-congested Nago City, despite likely protests from residents who want the Marines out altogether. The move will consolidate a massive U.S. troop presence; about half of the 50,000 troops in Japan are in Okinawa. But residents oppose the plan, saying the base will block roads and bring crime and pollution. The Futenma base's closure was agreed upon in 1996 but had stalled.

    December 27, 2013 7:20 AM