The Brief

An illuminated Christmas tree is seen near the New York Stock Exchange building as preparations for Christmas celebrations get started in New York on Dec. 13,2014.
Cem Ozdel—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Weather Outside to be Frightful

In some parts of the U.S., a sunny day would be a Christmas miracle. Snow and rain are expected to hit large swaths of the East Coast and parts of the South on Monday and Tuesday, with heavy-duty storms set to put a damper on Christmas Eve travel

<> on December 22, 2014 in New York City.

De Blasio Urges Calm

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio has called for a halt to political debates and protests as the city mourns the fatal shooting of two police officers

Joe Cocker In Concert At Zenith In Paris

Rock Star Joe Cocker Dead At 70

Joe Cocker died Monday at age 70, after losing a battle with lung cancer, his management staff confirmed. Cocker, a British-born musician who rose to fame in the 1960s, was known for his bluesy voice and cover of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Ascending line graph and list of share prices

Americans Are Feeling Confident About Their Job Hunt

Thirty-six percent of Americans are confident they can find a good job, the highest number since November 2007, a new poll reports. The U.S. has added over 2 million jobs so far in 2014, the most since the 1990s

A picture shows copies of the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" on display at a book shop in central London on July 19, 2012.

50 Shades of Grey to Debut at Berlin Film Festival

The film adaptation of E L James’s best-seller about the erotic awakening of a young woman and her mysterious billionaire boyfriend will make its international debut at February’s Berlin Film Festival, two days before the film opens in U.S. theaters on Feb. 13

Pope Francis delivers his blessing at the end of an audience with Italian athletes in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Pope Francis Slams Vatican Bureaucracy

The Pope had some blunt criticism for Vatican bureaucrats on Monday when he urged Roman Curia officials to remember their duty to serve in charity and love “Sometimes, [officials of the Curia] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor,’” he said

Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of China's Xiaomi Inc., gives a lecture at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China on Nov. 29, 2014.

China’s Xiaomi is Now Worth More Than Uber

Xiaomi, the Chinese maker of affordable smartphones, is now one of the most valuable tech startups in the world at an estimated $45 billion, surpassing Uber’s $41 billion valuation. Xiaomi's valuation has skyrocketed 350% over the past 16 months

Google Top Searches of 2014 List

Western Journalist Granted Access to Islamic State Lands

Jürgen Todenhöfer, the first Western journalist to be granted access to ISIS-controlled territories, has returned with a warning: the terrorist group is "much stronger and much more dangerous” than its adversaries understand

Killings By Police March

Shootings by Police Voted Top Story of 2014 in Poll

The killing of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers was voted the top news story of 2014 in a survey of news directors and editors around the country. Voters placed the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as second biggest