The Brief

People walk out from the headquarters of Sony Corp. in Tokyo on Dec. 18, 2014.
Eugene Hoshiko—AP

U.S. Eyes Sony Hack Attack

The White House is treating the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment as a "serious national security matter" and is currently devising a "proportional response" to the cyberattack. An official didn't rule out a cyber counterattack

People cheer for the "Cuban Five" while holding a poster of the five Cuban intelligent agents, in Havana

Morning in Cuba

Cubans cheered the surprise announcement their country will restore relations with the U.S., hopeful they'll see expanded trade and economic vibrancy

Russian President Putin gestures during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow

Putin Lashes Out

The Russian President on Thursday struck a defiant note against the U.S. and the E.U., accusing the West of trying to infringe on Russia's sovereignty

Marketplace guide Jim Prim works on the Healthcare.gov federal enrollment website as he helps a resident sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act at an enrollment event in Milford, Delaware on March 27, 2014.

Number of Uninsured Americans Near Record Low

New federal government data shows the percentage of Americans without health insurance was at or near historic lows this year following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, with just 11.3 percent of Americans uninsured in the second quarter

Uber

Uber Driver Accused of Raping Passenger in Boston

An Uber driver in Boston was charged with kidnapping and raping a customer of the ride-sharing service, in another potentially damaging case for the rapidly expanding company. An Uber spokesperson called it "a despicable crime"

FRANCE-COMPANY-AMAZON-COMMERCE-TAXATION-BOOKS-BUSINESS

Amazon Unveils 1-Hour Delivery Service in New York

Amazon announced today the launch of Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service for items such as “paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries,” according to a news release. The service is launching in parts of New York, and will be available in other cities next year.

Clayton Lockett

Oklahoma Inmate 'Felt Liquid Fire' During Execution

Convicted murderer Clayton Lockett, whose prolonged execution triggered a statewide moratorium on executions in Oklahoma, likely suffered excruciating pain akin to “liquid fire” throughout his lethal injection last April, a doctor testified in a federal court

Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University

3 New Sexual Assault Allegations at Princeton

Three new sexual assaults were reported over the weekend to Princeton University police, at a time when colleges and universities are under increasing national scrutiny for how they handle sexual assault allegations

Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit

Elton John to Wed Longtime Partner David Furnish

The pair entered a civil partnership in 2005, but in recent weeks, rumors have run rampant about impending nuptials. Various outlets have reported that a private, intimate ceremony will take place at their Windsor estate on Dec. 21

91950349

E.U. Court Rules That Obesity Could Be a Disability

The European Court of Justice on Thursday said "obesity can constitute a disability" for the purposes of equality at work legislation. The judgement may mean that employers will have to start providing larger seats, special parking spaces and other facilities for obese workers

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: A view of the debris of the army-run school that was attacked by Taliban on Tuesday, in northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 17, 2014. Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of whom are students. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Peshawar Death Toll at 148 as Full Horror Emerges

With the death toll from Peshawar school massacre rising to 148 — at least 132 of them children — residents of this strife-torn Pakistani city, and survivors, are struggling to come to terms with Tuesday's horror, in which Taliban gunman attacked an army-run school

Polar Bear

NOAA Arctic Report Card Short on Good News

This year’s Arctic Report Card, a NOAA-led work by 63 authors, reports a continuation of Arctic warming: Alaska is seeing temperature anomalies more than 18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the January average and temperatures are rising in region’s seas