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10 things you need to know today: December 31, 2012
Hillary Clinton is hospitalized, Kim Kardashian is pregnant, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Stop the presses: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting their first child.
Stop the presses: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting their first child. Hubert Boesl/dpa/Corbis

1. HILLARY CLINTON HOSPITALIZED FOR BLOOD CLOT
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday after doctors discovered a blood clot, spokesman Philippe Reines says. The blood clot is related to a concussion Clinton suffered earlier in December after fainting at her Washington home. She is being treated with anticoagulants, and will be monitored for 48 hours, Reines said in a statement. "Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion." The concussion has already sidelined the outgoing secretary of state for the past three weeks. Blood clots are most common in the leg and head, Dr. David Langer, a brain surgeon, tells The New York Times. Prompt treatment with blood-thinners usually dissolves the clots, but untreated ones in the brain can cause fatal hemorrhaging. [New York Times]
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2. WITH ONE DAY LEFT, FISCAL CLIFF TALKS STALL
The Senate missed a self-imposed Sunday deadline to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a potentially calamitous mix of spending cuts and tax increases that kicks in at midnight tonight. After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were unable to reach a deal, Vice President Joe Biden stepped in Sunday afternoon, and Biden and McConnell "continued their discussion late into the evening," according to McConnell's spokesman. The Senate will get back to work later today, but neither side is publicly optimistic that a deal will be reached, much less voted into law, by midnight. But "even if President Obama and Republicans in Congress can reach a last-minute compromise that averts some tax increases," says Nelson D. Schwartz in The New York Times, "experts still foresee a significant drag on the economy in the first half of 2013 from the fiscal impasse in Washington." [USA Today, New York Times]
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3. VENEZUELA'S HUGO CHAVEZ HIT BY NEW HEALTH COMPLICATIONS
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says that longtime President Hugo Chavez has suffered "new complications" after a mid-December cancer treatment in Havana, Cuba. The new health issues are tied to a respiratory infection, a solemn-looking Maduro said in a nationally televised appearance from Cuba, and "the state of health of President Chavez continues to be delicate." Chavez hasn't been seen or heard from in person in three weeks. Information Minister Ernesto Villegas announced late Sunday that a planned government-sponsored New Year's Eve concert in Caracas was canceled, but urged Venezuelans not to "get carried away with things on Twitter" and other media about Chavez's health. [BBC]
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4. 9 KILLED IN OREGON BUS CRASH
Nine passengers on a Canadian tour bus were killed and at least 20 more injured when the bus veered off an icy stretch of Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon and rolled 85 feet down a steep embankment. The bus was heading back to Vancouver from Las Vegas, carrying an estimated 40 passengers. The driver survived, but police have not been able to talk to him because of his injuries. This "rough stretch" of I-84 "has claimed quite a few lives over the years, says Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard. "It's a nice road when it's decent weather, but when it's slick, it can get treacherous." [Los Angeles Times]
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5. ISRAEL EASES PALESTINIAN BLOCKADE ON BUILDING MATERIALS
Israel said Monday that it has started allowing gravel to enter the Gaza Strip on Sunday and will allow other building materials in if a recently brokered ceasefire holds. Israel has blocked most such materials since Hamas took over Gaza about five years ago, saying cement, gravel, iron rods and other building supplies have non-civilian uses, notably building weapons and fortifications. Israel and Hamas-led Gaza battled for eight days in November. [Associated Press]
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6. REDSKINS BEAT COWBOYS TO WIN NFC EAST
The Washington Redskins beat longtime rivals the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, 28-18, cinching the NFL's NFC East title and completing an improbable midseason turnaround. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III did his part, but it was another rookie, tailback Alfred Morris, who stepped up to give the Redskins their first division title since 1999. "I was 9 years old in 1999," Griffin noted. Morris ran for 200 yards, notching three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the reigning NFL Super Bowl champion New York Giants failed to make the playoffs despite trouncing the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. [Associated Press, Washington Post]
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7. KANYE WEST: KIM KARDASHIAN IS PREGNANT
Rapper Kanye West announced Sunday that he and girlfriend Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby, breaking the news in the middle of a song in concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey. "Now you having my baby," Kanye said, to loud applause. He also told the audience to congratulate his "baby mom." Kardashian is reportedly about 12 weeks along. Sister and fellow reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian confirmed the news on Twitter. "Been wanting to shout from the rooftops with joy and now I can!" she tweeted. "Another angel to welcome to our family." [Associated Press, Reuters]
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8. CONNECTICUT TEACHERS MAKE 2012 'MOST ADMIRED' LIST
President Obama and Hillary Clinton top USA Today/Gallup's list of the most admired man and woman in the U.S., but in an usual response for the annual list of notable individuals, 2 percent of respondents listed "Connecticut teachers" as their most admired woman — a response to the recent Newtown massacre — and "U.S. troops" as their most admired man. Coming in No. 2 on the male side, after Obama, is South African leader Nelson Mandela; George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, the Rev. Billy Graham, and Pope Benedict XVI are tied for fourth place. On the female side, First Lady Michelle Obama comes in at No. 2, Oprah Winfrey ranks No. 3, and Condoleezza Rice captured the No. 4 spot. Clinton has topped the most-admired woman spot 16 times since 1993. [USA Today]
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9. SCIENTISTS BATTLING ARMAGEDDON FOR FROGS
The Mayan apocalypse may have left humanity unscathed, but frogs worldwide are facing real-life extinction due to the spread of a deadly fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, that clogs their pores, leading to heart attacks. Scientists in Panama are trying to save frog species from this fungal doom in a secure facility they've labeled an "amphibian ark." [Washington Post]
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10. YEAR OF THE COMET: 2013 WILL LIGHT THE SKY
"The moon could have some serious competition in 2013," says Eric Mack at CNET News. Scientists recently announced that a massive chunk of ice and rock, comet ISON, will blaze across the sky sometime near the end of 2013 — if it survives its near encounter with the sun — possibly even outshining the sun. ISON hails from the Oort Cloud, a cluster of frozen rocks orbiting the sun about 50,000 times farther away the Earth, and the spectacular tail would be from the sun's vaporizing the ice from the new comet. Or it could burn it up. "If comet ISON disappoints, 2013 may not be a total bust for comet fans," Mack adds. "Comet Pan-STARRS is due to pass by and could be visible in March." [CNET, Reuters]

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