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  1. CHECK YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTS NSA Swiped, Bugged Packages Charles Dharapak/AP

    1. NSA Swiped, Bugged Packages

    You might want to double-check that new computer. A new scoop by Der Spiegel revealed the National Security Agency's top hacker team, called the Tailored Access Operations, is responsible for the high-level hacking and dabbles in old-school spying methods. The team has been intercepting electronics ordered online from the likes of Samsung, Cisco, and Dell, diverting them to an NSA facility, and inserting bugging technology before sending them on to the intended targets. It is unknown if manufacturers are aware their equipment has been compromised.

    December 29, 2013 3:33 PM

  2. DEADLY Russian Bombing Kills 16 AFP/Getty

    2. Russian Bombing Kills 16

    An explosion at a Russian train station Sunday afternoon killed at least 16 people, including a police officer, and injured 34 more. Authorities say a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives before going through a metal detector in Volgograd's central station. The bomber's remains is set to undergo DNA testing, and no group has claimed responsibility. In October, six people were killed when a female suicide bomber blew up a bus in the city, which is located about 600 miles from Sochi, host of the upcoming Winter Olympics.

    December 29, 2013 6:53 PM

  3. Comeback Peyton Manning Breaks Pass Record Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

    3. Peyton Manning Breaks Pass Record

    In Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning broke the NFL's single-season record for passing, with 5,477 yards. It was a cherry on top of a 34-14 victory that gives Denver the top AFC playoff seed. Denver also became the first team to score 600 points in a season. Not bad for a guy who missed all of 2011 due to an injury. 

    December 29, 2013 9:32 PM

  4. Eyes on 2016? Cruz to Dump Canadian Citizenship Scott Morgan/AP

    4. Cruz to Dump Canadian Citizenship

    Does someone have the Oval Office in his sights? Senator Ted Cruz said Saturday he's hired lawyers to prepare paperwork to officially renounce his Canadian citizenship. Cruz has dual citizenship thanks to his American mother who gave birth to him in Calgary. Cruz's father was born in Cuba and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen. Cruz said he expects to be done by the end of 2014.

    December 29, 2013 2:45 PM

  5. STAY SAFE Schumacher in Critical Condition Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

    5. Schumacher in Critical Condition

    Former Formula 1 racer Michael Schumacher suffered a head injury during a skiing accident on Sunday. A French hospital announced he was in critical condition after hitting his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps, and being airlifted off the mountain for medical attention. Schumacher reportedly did not lose consciousness, and the hospital's duty manager said he is undergoing tests.

    December 29, 2013 4:41 PM

  6. share the wealth France OKs 75% Tax on Rich Sean Gallup

    6. France OKs 75% Tax on Rich

    Sacrebleu! The top French court has ruled that companies must shell out a 75 percent tax on salaries that exceed one million euros. In alignment with his campaign promises, President Francois Hollande has sought soften the country's economic struggles by limiting executive pay, in the hopes of lowering public deficit from 4.1 percent of the GDP to 3.6 percent. An earlier attempt at the tax had been thrown out, but this approved version focuses on making companies pay.

    December 29, 2013 7:52 PM

  7. NOT THE ONION Al Qaeda Obsessed With Expenses Rebecca Blackwell/AP

    7. Al Qaeda Obsessed With Expenses

    If you're bad at filing their expense reports, don't join al Qaeda. The terrorist group is very meticulous in keeping track of its expenses. According to a report published by the Associated Press on Sunday, receipts found in a raid in Mali show detailed filings from jihadists. In fact, a purchase as small as $0.60 cake (rookie mistake, you always go for the more expensive cake for employee birthdays) is noted. Also found at the building were salary spreadsheets, letters from human resources, and workshop schedules. So even terrorism networks are just likeThe Office.

    December 29, 2013 3:48 PM

  8. off the clock Obama's Mind on TV Dramas, Kids Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

    8. Obama's Mind on TV Dramas, Kids

    As President Obama's fifth year in office comes to a close, his personal life is getting a closer look. It doesn't surprise us to learn that Obama—who professed his favorite character was The Wire's Omar Little—is a devotee of such serious dramas as Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Homeland when he's off the clock. But Obama's eyes have been trained more closely on his daughters, now 15 and 12, as they age during his presidency. “Those of us who have kids know how fast it goes," he said in November, and more said he gets "teary" thinking how fast they've grown.

    December 29, 2013 9:54 PM

  9. transparency Robin Roberts Confirms Girlfriend Charles Sykes / AP Photo

    9. Robin Roberts Confirms Girlfriend

    In a Facebook post made for the year anniversary of the 100-day milestone after her blood marrow transplant, "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts acknowledged her longterm same-sex relationship. Roberts has been in a 10-year relationship with a massage therapist named Amber Laign. "I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together," she wrote. Roberts, who returned to GMA earlier this year, announced her diagnosis in 2012.

    December 29, 2013 4:40 PM

  10. gettin' glitzy Sotomayor to Drop Ball for 2014 Bebeto Matthews/AP

    10. Sotomayor to Drop Ball for 2014

    Some local New Yorkers do spend New Year's Eve in Times Square. On Tuesday, Supreme Court justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor will brave the crowds to lead the 60-second countdown and hit the button at the famous ball drop ceremony. More than 32,000 lights illuminate the ball at New York's annual ceremony, which is estimated to be watched by 1 billion people around the world.

    December 29, 2013 4:26 PM

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  12. NEW DETAILS NYT: Benghazi Attack Not Al Qaeda AFP/Getty

    11. NYT: Benghazi Attack Not Al Qaeda

    Somebody owes Susan Rice an apology note, no? Al Qaeda was not responsible for the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, according to an in-depth investigation in Sunday’s New York Times. What’s more, the attack was prompted at least in part over anger over the amateur film The Innocence of Muslims, as originally claimed. The attack was coordinated by local militia—strengthened by the vacuum created after Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster—due to the severely lacking security at the diplomatic compound. Meanwhile, a senior White House official did not argue with the report's findings, although two senior members of the House intelligence committee disputed it on Fox News Sunday.

    December 29, 2013 3:02 PM

  13. BFFs or Frenemies? Bush-Blair Iraq Calls Going Public JIM WATSON/Getty

    12. Bush-Blair Iraq Calls Going Public

    What exactly was on the minds of George W. Bush and Tony Blair as they prepared to attack Iraq? We're about to get an idea as the British government declassifies 100 confidential documents that include communications between the leaders. The effort is party of the country's inquiry into the war and will be completed by the end of 2014.

    December 29, 2013 7:05 PM

  14. Reform the Reform CEO for Obamacare? Boston Globe, via Getty

    13. CEO for Obamacare?

    Some of the leading advocates on healthcare reform are calling for a CEO or someone with similar experience in the private sector to run the insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report in Reuters on Sunday. Amongst the advocates for a CEO? Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of former White House chief of staff Rahm Emaneul and a bioethicist, and the Center of American Progress, the Washington thinktank founded by Obama’s newly appointed senior adviser John Podesta. But fans of the private sector shouldn’t rejoice yet: a senior administration official refuted the report, saying “this isn’t happening. It’s not being considered.” Meanwhile, a last-minute surge in enrollment pushed Obamacare sign-ups to 1.1 million, federal officials said Saturday.

    December 29, 2013 10:57 AM

  15. NEW YORK Bill Clinton to Swear in de Blasio AP

    14. Bill Clinton to Swear in de Blasio

    New York’s free inaugural tickets are looking like even more of a bargain right now. Former President Bill Clinton will be swearing New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, on January 1, de Blasio’s office said in a statement on Saturday. De Blasio will be sworn in with a Bible owned by FDR. Hillary Clinton is also expected to attend. De Blasio worked for the Clinton White House for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (and under current New York governor Andrew Cuomo), and de Blasio worked as a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate bid. Maybe this will take some heat off de Blasio spokeswoman Lis Smith, the rumored girlfriend of Eliot Spitzer?

    December 29, 2013 11:09 AM

  16. Crystal Ball U.S. Intel Sees Afghan Failure Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

    15. U.S. Intel Sees Afghan Failure

    Afghanistan will likely descend into chaos within three years and erase all gains made by the U.S. and its allies if Washington and Kabul don’t sign an agreement to keep a military presence, according to a report by the U.S.’s top intelligence agencies. The U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have fought over the conditions of the deal for the U.S.’s involvement after the majority of American troops are withdrawn in 2014, putting at stake billions of dollars of aid the U.S. and its allies provides. The report, authored by the National Intelligence Estimate, also predicts the Taliban and other groups will gain more influence as the American troops leave. Some in Washington warned that the NIE report is extremely “dark,” and the group has increasingly been responsible for other “gloomy” reports on Afghanistan in the past.

    December 29, 2013 9:30 AM

  17. NOT OVER Russia Bans Pussy Riot Film Yevgeny Feldman/AFP/Getty

    16. Russia Bans Pussy Riot Film

    Two members of the punk-rock collective Pussy Riot may have been released from prison, but the battle with Russian control continues. A Moscow theatre was forced on Saturday to cancel the premier of the film Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer after being ordered by the city’s top cultural official. Gogol Theatre Center director Kirill Serebrennikov posted the letter from Sergei Kapkov, the head of Moscow’s cultural department, on his Facebook page. “Until recently, in all interviews, I would declare like a mantra: ‘There’s no censorship at the theatre, there’s no censorship at the theatre!’” Serebrennikov wrote. “Cynical, pointless, and stupid.” Two members of Pussy Riot, Masha Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from prison earlier this week. They had been sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” after a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    December 29, 2013 12:17 PM

  18. THE BOSS Springsteen Album Drops Early John Minchillo/AP

    17. Springsteen Album Drops Early

    Here’s an early new year’s present for Bruce Springsteen fans: his latest album, “High Hopes,” was available for purchase and download via Amazon on Saturday—weeks ahead of its January 14 release date. It’s unclear if it was on purpose, but since then, it has been available through album-sharing websites by those who purchased it on Amazon. Amazon has since rescinded the ability to buy the album, so those who acted fast were rewarded. “High Hopes” is Springsteen’s 18th studio album, and features spots with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who appears on eight of the 12 tracks.

    December 29, 2013 12:23 PM


    18. Tycoon Dead in Apparent Suicide

    Wall Street tycoon Robert Wilson donated his $800 million fortune before he leapt to his death from the 16th floor of his New York City apartment building on Friday. Wilson, 87, had suffered from a stroke just a few months earlier, and friends said his plan had been to give away all his money. Wilson started the Wall Street hedge fund  Wilson & Associates in the 1969, and by 2000, his net worth was $800 million. By then, he began giving his money away, apparently being down to his last $100 million by the time of his death. Wilson jumped to his death from the 16th floor of the famed San Remo apartment building, located just off Central Park West in New York City.

    December 29, 2013 11:07 AM

  20. COLD AIR Northeast Prepares for New Storm Al Goldis/AP

    19. Northeast Prepares for New Storm

    Not such a happy new year. Thousands in the Midwest and Northeast are still without power on Sunday from last week’s ice storm—and the area hunkered down for another storm headed its way on Sunday night. Snow is expected to hit New England Sunday. But an estimated 21,371 people were still outside power Saturday night, including some 14,905 in Michigan alone. Some are forced to spend the holidays at shelters, with some waiting out the cold at home. “I’ve been here since 1975 and I don’t remember an ice storm like this,” said Major Joe Maatman with the Ingham County sheriff's office in Michigan, and who used a portable generator and wood-burning stove for heat.

    December 29, 2013 11:04 AM