The Brief

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Fewest U.S. Smokers in 5 Decades

The percentage of adult smokers fell from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013, per a new report, the lowest rate since the CDC began its tracking in 1965

Snowstorm in the USA

Snow Threatens Holiday Travel

A Nor’easter bringing rain and snow to the north and west of the I-95 corridor is threatening the plans of 20 million people, with hundreds of flights canceled

Sarah Koenig

Serial Podcast Gets Season 2

Serial, the most popular podcast in the history of podcasts, will return to give listeners one story told week-by-week with its just-announced second season, staffers wrote on their website Wednesday, about one week after first asking listeners to donate

Peter Ferranti

The One Battle Michael Brown’s Family Will Win

Body-worn cameras are poised to become standard for police around the U.S. after the tragedy in Ferguson, Mo. Circumstances surrounding the death of teenager Michael Brown, shot by police officer Darren Wilson, remain muddled due to the lack of visual evidence

Uber

Uber Reportedly Valued at $40 Billion

Uber’s PR troubles are not scaring off investors as the on-demand ride service is raising new funding at a valuation of up to $40 billion, according to a new report. Uber last raised money earlier this year, when it secured around $1.2 billion at a $17 billion pre-money valuation

Protesters display a picture of Tamir Rice during a rally at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2014.

Cleveland to Release Video of 12-year-old Boy Shot by Officer

Tamir Rice was shot Saturday by an officer after brandishing an airsoft gun, which typically shoots tiny plastic pellets, but it was missing an orange safety indicator. A police department spokeswoman said video and audio evidence would be released Wednesday afternoon

Joshua Wong and Lester Shum, both student leaders, hold back a protester behind a barricade while watching police movement at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong, Nov. 26, 2014.

Hong Kong Police Clear Protest Site

Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong, who featured last month on the cover of TIME's international edition, was arrested Wednesday along with several more pro-democracy activists, after police continued their crackdown on the Mong Kok protest site

Customers wait in line outside a Target Corp. store ahead of Black Friday in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013.

Feeling Lazy? Buy Your Place in Line This Black Friday

Consumers have been using TaskRabbit, a platform that lets users pay to “outsource” any job, to hire people to wait in line for Black Friday doorbusters. “Every year hundreds of taskers are hired to wait in line for Black Friday deals,” said a company spokesman

Customers shop at a Walmart store in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles November 26, 2013. This year, Black Friday starts earlier than ever.

Health Insurance Sign-Ups Coming to Malls on Black Friday

The Obama administration's enrollment push with Westfield Shopping Centers, continuing through the holiday season, will involve setting up outreach tables at malls in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Washington state

ABC's 2014 Summer TCA Tour Portraits

Viola Davis to Make Show About Detroit's Female Prosecutor

The actress, who plays a defense attorney on How to Get Away with Murder, is trying her hand at the other side of the courtroom by producing a new drama inspired by Kym Worthy, the prosecutor who has led the charge to investigate Detroit's 11,000 backlogged rape kits

Chancellor Angela Merkel in the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Nov. 26, 2014.

Merkel Says Russia’s Actions Are Unjustifiable

The German Chancellor Wednesday suggested she is prepared for a confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis when she told German lawmakers Russia’s actions interrupt “the peaceful international order and breach international law”