RUSSIAN AIR STRIKES KILL DOZENS IN SYRIA "Air strikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed scores of people in the center of the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwest Syria on Sunday, rescue workers and residents said." [Reuters]
FORMER FIFA PRESIDENT AND HIS PROTEGE BANNED FOR EIGHT YEARS The FIFA ethics committee banned Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for eight years for their role in a $2 million dollar bribe and other ethical breaches. [AP]
MEET THE BRONX-BORN LIBERTARIAN SOCIALIST THAT COULD BE THE KEY TO THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS How the Syrian Kurds are executing a strategy devoid of hierarchy, patriarchy or capitalism. [Akbar Shahid Ahmed, HuffPost]
NYT: 'THE RECRUITMENT OF AN ISIS KILLER' "It is the chronicle of an underground fighter maimed and darkened by his long fight, the biography -- replete with rivalries and fratricide -- of a proven and once popular Islamist commander whose actions turned more violent and vengeful as he moved into the Islamic State’s orbit." [NYT]
THE WORST MISS UNIVERSE MIX-UP Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner for the Miss Universe pageant, resulting in a crown being removed from Miss Colombia's head and placed on Miss Philippines'. You can't make this stuff up. [Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost]
THE TEN BIGGEST SURPRISES OF THIS YEAR'S 2016 INSANITY Boy, were we in for quite the ride. Here's what the First to Last team learned this year. [Howard Fineman, Jason Linkins and Lauren Weber]
OBAMA: DONALD TRUMP IS 'EXPLOITING WORKING-CLASS FEARS' "President Obama said in a radio interview airing on Monday that Donald J. Trump, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, is exploiting the resentment and anxieties of working-class men to boost his campaign. Mr. Obama also argued that some of the scorn directed at him personally stems from the fact that he is the first African-American to hold the White House." [NYT]
THE FORCE WAS WITH THE 'STAR WARS' BOX OFFICE With a $517 million opening weekend, the movie is on track to be the highest-grossing film of all time. [Reuters]
THE YEAR OF AMY SCHUMER "Yes, she’s usually laughing, quipping, or goofing off, but throughout her meteoric rise in 2015 Schumer has been stubbornly pushing against any preconceived notions of what it means to be a beautiful, popular, and powerful woman in Hollywood." [Vanity Fair]
SO MUCH FOR A WHITE CHRISTMAS It's supposed to be the "warmest" of your "lifetime." [HuffPost]
JEFF BEZOS IS QUITE 'HANDS ON' AT THE WASHINGTON POST And it appears to be paying off. [WSJ]
A BLACK ACTRESS HAS BEEN CAST TO PLAY HERMIONE Swaziland-born actress Noma Dumezweni has reportedly won the coveted role in the "Cursed Child," which is set 19 years after the conclusion of the "Harry Potter" series. [HuffPost]
COULD A BLACK HOLE DEVOUR US ALL? Uplifting thoughts for your Monday. [Vice]
ADELE TALKS KICKING HER SMOKING HABIT "If I’d carried on smoking I’d probably have died." [HuffPost]
SUSAN SARANDON: SEARCHING FOR REFUGEES "Babies are passed into volunteers arms, wet shoes and socks removed, blankets distributed. There are tears of relief. These boats arrived safely. With inexperienced drivers, chosen randomly at the helm, this is not always the case." [HuffPost]
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ON THE BLOG
HOW NOT TO COMPLETELY FORGET YOUR HEALTH OVER THE HOLIDAYS "With some advance planning, and smart pointers, however, you can come out healthier and more rejuvenated, and maybe even a few pounds thinner in time for the New Year." [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
~ The Las Vegas strip is closed after a woman intentionally drove into the crowd, killing one and injuring dozens more.
~ The human cost to identifying migrant remains.
~ The link between stress and Alzheimer's.
~ Jimmy Carter is mourning the sudden death of his 28-year-old grandson.
~ Lauren Conrad said goodbye to her red locks.
~ The key to getting through the day is this DJ Khaled-isms autogenerator.
~ This UPS delivery man is a bit over the holiday influx of packages.
~ When a celebrity chef tests out Blue Apron.
~ It was really, really, really hard to get Adele tickets.
~ Take a listen to Mariah Carey's new Christmas song.
~ The night is always darkest before the dawn -- especially since it's the winter solstice tonight.
~ Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their kid Apple? Apparently that was 11 years ago, as little Apple is a killer guitar player now.
~ Life as Noam Chomsky's assistant.
~ "Inside the Christian App boom."
~ Ever wanted to create an emoji? This woman is in your corner.
Send tips/quips/quotes/stories/photos/events/scoops to Lauren Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @LaurenWeberHP. And like what you're reading? Sign up here to get The Morning Email delivered to you.