RAMADI CENTER RETAKEN BY IRAQI FORCES "Iraqi forces said on Monday they had seized a strategic government complex in the western city of Ramadi from the Islamic State after a fierce weeklong battle to retake it, following a brutal seven-month occupation by the extremist group." [NYT]
SCORES DEAD IN FREAK HOLIDAY STORMS Tornadoes, flooding and heavy snow killed at least 43 people across the Midwest. Over 1,275 flights were canceled and thousands more were delayed by the severe weather over the holiday weekend. [AP]
PEYTON MANNING'S RESPONSE TO DOPING ALLEGATIONS After shocking allegations that the Denver Broncos quarterback and other MLB and NFL stars used HGH, Manning issued a furious denial that contained confusing references to his wife’s possible involvement. [Lydia O'Connor, HuffPost]
A TOP AFGHAN OFFICIAL POINTS TO TALIBAN GAINS "We haven't delivered." [WaPo]
SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN REACH AGREEMENT ON COMFORT WOMEN "The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan said Monday they had reached a deal meant to resolve a decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II, a potentially dramatic breakthrough between the Northeast Asian neighbors and rivals." [AP]
HOW CHINA IS TAKING OVER RUSSIA'S BACKYARD You’ll be hearing a lot more about the growing importance of Kazakhstan over the next few years. [WaPo]
WHY WE SHOULD ALL BE VERY, VERY AFRAID OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE The scientists leading the call to arms tell their side of the story. [WaPo]
'STAR WARS' PASSES 1 BILLION DOLLAR MARK, BREAKS ANOTHER BOX OFFICE RECORD The force is strong with this one. [Reuters]
THE WARNING SIGNS YOU COULD BE IGNORING Before you become a cardiac arrest victim. [AP]
START SAYING GOODBYE TO THE 'BIG BANG THEORY' It's looking like the show's tenth season may be its last. [HuffPost]
HOW YOUR FAVORITE CELEBS RANG IN CHRISTMAS Some strong pajama game at work here. [HuffPost]
THE NEW AGE OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORY "Round-the-clock coverage of global events means there is a constant supply of crisis and chaos for us to interpret. Stories of strings being pulled by hidden hands are a staple of our entertainment." [The Guardian]
SUSAN SARANDON: SEEING MARY IN A SYRIAN REFUGEE "How did this young girl, just having given birth, manage that trip at sea? How did she do all that walking? Where did she give birth? Wasn’t Mary just a kid too when she and Joseph took to the road?" [HuffPost]
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ON THE BLOG
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE ALZHEIMER'S "I fumbled into the bathroom as I felt the numbness creep up the back of my neck like a penetrating fog, slowly inching to the front of my mind. In the moment, it was as if a light in my brain had been shut off." [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
~ Inside the refugee crisis -- in virtual reality.
~ Understanding the exceptions Obama makes for his special forces.
~ How the beheading of a nine-year-old girl has ignited the Hazaras community in Afghanistan.
~ A year in the life of an unraveling opioid addict.
~ How a drug-resistant form of malaria could lead to a "global comeback."
~ The New Yorker chronicles the rise of “SNL” star Leslie Jones.
~ A lot of people are using their noses to operate their Apple watches, proving laziness can always reach new heights.
~ When a stingray gives birth in your boat.
~ ICYMI, most Americans only live 18 miles away from mom.
~ Chrissy Teigen continues to capture hearts everywhere by telling off Internet commentators.
~ The Radiohead rejected Bond song is pretty darn spectacular.
~ More shirtless pictures of Vladimir Putin, this time from a calendar called, "All Year With The President Of Russia."
~ The comeback of the used bookstore.
~ And yes, everyone hurt themselves trying out their new hoverboards this holiday season. Just make sure yours doesn't catch fire.
Send tips/quips/quotes/stories/photos/events/scoops to Lauren Weber at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @LaurenWeberHP. And like what you're reading? Sign up here to get The Morning Email delivered to you.