The Brief


West Awakes to White Christmas

Western parts of the U.S. awoke to a white Christmas as much of the nation was drenched by a storm front that snarled holiday travel plans for millions

Protesters shut down an interstate at Airport Road on Dec. 24, 2014, in Berkeley, Mo.

Protest Over Teen's Police Death Shuts Missouri Highway

A small group of demonstrators shut down an interstate highway and marched through the town of Berkeley, Missouri, to protest the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin, who authorities said pointed a gun at an officer


Father of Jordanian Pilot Captured by ISIS Pleads for Release

The father of 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh pleaded for his son's release on Thursday, reminding militants that his son shared the same faith. So far, there has been silence from the extremists since gunmen dragged him away following his Wednesday crash in Syria


Pope Francis Wishes Iraqi Refugees a Merry Christmas

Pope Francis placed a phone call to an Iraqi refugee camp on Wednesday to inform families displaced by the conflict that they were in his thoughts this Christmas. "Dear brothers, I am close to you," the Pope told refugees outside of the Kurdish city of Erbil

Candy apple reflections

Listeria Fears Prompt Caramel Apple Recall for 31 States

A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. The recall comes after at least three deaths and 29 illnesses in 10 states have been linked to an outbreak

Christmas Lights Decorations Staten Island Dana Ullman

This Is the Most Popular Christmas Song Ever

TIME crawled the records at the U.S. Copyright Office, which offers digitized registrations going back to 1978, and collected data on every Christmas album recorded since then. We crunched the merry numbers to find the most popular Christmas songs of the modern era

What the Waves Did to Aceh

On Dec. 26, 2004, the Asian tsunami destroyed much of the restive Indonesian province of Aceh. But it also paved the way for its resurgence and autonomy. Now, as it embraces hard-line Islam, its people are asking "What next?" while the threat of conflict is never far away


Second Batch of Madonna Songs Leaks Online

14 more songs by the Material Girl found their way online Wednesday, only days after 13 demos appeared online without the performer’s permission. The singer already released six songs from her upcoming album in response to the earlier leak