The Brief

Roberto Morejon—AFP/Getty Images

Morning in Cuba

Cubans cheered the surprise announcement that their country will restore relations with the United States, hopeful they'll soon see expanded trade and new economic vibrancy even though the 53-year-old economic embargo remains in place for the time being

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

Polar Bear

Arctic Heats Up

Arctic air temperatures are still increasing at twice the rate of global air temperatures, a NOAA-led report has found

Marketplace guide Jim Prim works on the 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

James Franco and Seth Rogen

U.S. Links North Korea to Hack

American officials have determined the government of North Korea is connected to the hack that left Sony Entertainment Pictures reeling and eventually prompted it to pull The Interview, a movie critical of the country's leader

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


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.

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


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

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

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

University of Utah Researchers Work Toward Cure For Ebola Strains

Scientists Spot Drugs That Could Treat Ebola

Scientists have identified 53 existing drugs that could be effective in fighting Ebola, according to newly published research that came from screening drug compounds already available to see if they can treat the deadly disease