The Brief

President Obama Holds End-Of-Year News Conference At The White House

Obama: Hack Not Act of War

President Obama said he does not believe the Sony hack is an act of war, but "an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously"

Snow covered pine trees

Winter Begins Officially

Here's everything you should know about the winter solstice, which will fall Sunday at 6:03 p.m. ET — marking the longest night and the shortest day of the year

'The Hobbit'

The Hobbit Wins Weekend Box Office Battle

The Peter Jackson film brought in $56.2 million over the weekend (and $90.6 million since its Wednesday opening), while Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie — all films showing in more than 3,000 locations — made almost $40 million less

A DirecTV dish receiver sits on the roof of a home in Denver

Dish Network Drops Fox After Failed Contract Negotiations

Fox News Channel and Fox Business were blacked out Saturday on satellite TV provider Dish Network, after the two parties failed to agree on a new contract, in negotiations that had gone on for the last several weeks. Both sides are pointing fingers at each other

22nd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party - Arrivals

Elton John Marries Longtime Partner David Furnish

John, 67, and Furnish, 52, recently revealed they decided to marry after England's legalization of same-sex marriage in March. Furnish said, "We feel it's really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example"

police shooting

Florida Authorities Say 1 Police Officer Shot and Killed

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said the shooting occurred at around 3 a.m. in the Tampa Bay-area city and that a suspect has been taken into custody after fleeing the scene of the shooting in a vehicle and crashing into a pole and another vehicle

Guantanamo Bay

U.S. Transfers 4 From Gitmo

The transfer marks the first repatriation of prisoners to Afghanistan since 2009. 132 detainees are still being held at the Guantanamo complex, which President Barack Obama vowed to shut down early in his presidency

Antarctica, South Orkney Islands, Laurie Island, Gentoo

Antarctic Tourism Could Pose Threat to Penguins

A boom in Antarctic tourism--more than 37,000 people visited the continent in 2013--could introduce new, infectious diseases to the continent's penguin colonies, scientists warned in a new study

Madonna Unexpectedly Releases 6 New Tracks

Madonna called the surprise release--from her newest album, Rebel Heart--an "early Christmas gift" to her fans, adding that she hoped the completed tracks might deter fans from listening to unfinished songs that had leaked