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10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2013
Obama meets the press, America braces for a winter storm, and more
 
"If I was interested in polling I wouldn't have run for president."
"If I was interested in polling I wouldn't have run for president." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

1. Obama holds year-end press conference
On Friday, the president fielded questions from the press about NSA surveillance, the Affordable Care Act, and his sagging approval ratings. Obama told the nation that despite a tumultuous year, he planned to push ahead with a forward-looking agenda. "My polls have gone up and down a lot over the course of my career," he said. "If I was interested in polling I wouldn't have run for president." [MSNBC]

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2. Federal judge overturns Utah's gay marriage ban
Robert J. Shelby, a federal district judge appointed by President Obama, ruled on Friday that Utah's voter-backed ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. GOP politicians slammed the ruling, while many gay couples rushed to secure marriage licenses. "I can't believe this is Utah," said Elisa Noel, who married her partner at the county clerk's office in Salt Lake City. [AP]

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3. Canada's Supreme Court strikes down restrictions on prostitution
The top Canadian court struck down major anti-prostitution laws Friday, arguing that they threatened prostitutes' safety. The 9-0 decision removed bans on brothels and street solicitation. [Reuters]

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4. Obama orders one-year review of sexual assault in the military
The president has ordered a review of the military's much-criticized response to reports of sexual assault. In a statement Friday he said, "If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks." [NPR]

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5. Violence returns to Central Africa
A period of reduced violence in the Central African Republic ended Friday with shootouts and violent demonstrations, leaving at least 30 dead. The conflict between radical Muslim and Christian groups has been marked by chaos and bloodshed since the Muslim rebels overthrew the government. [AP]

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6. Deutsche Bank reaches $1.9 billion settlement in U.S. mortgage case
The German bank said it will pay $1.9 billion to settle claims that it defrauded Fannie Me and Freddie Mac before the financial crisis in 2008. As part of the settlement, Deutsche Bank will not admit liability. [Reuters]

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7. News Corp. buys Storyful for $25 million
In an effort to boost its online and video efforts, News Corp. acquired Storyful — a company that filters and verifies news from social media sites. "Storyful has become the village square for valuable video…Through this acquisition, we can extend the village square across borders, languages, and platforms," said News Corp. chief executive Robert Thomson. [LA Times]

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8. U.S. prepares for tornadoes and hail
A series of storms ranging from hail and snow in the northern plains to thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the South threatens the travel plans of millions of Americans. The storms are project to move east, threatening Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York. [The Guardian]

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9. Hundreds of students protest forced resignation of gay vice principal
Students at Eastside Catholic High School in Washington State have amassed thousands of supporters for an online campaign protesting the forced resignation of their vice principal. Mark Zmuda was forced to leave his position with the school after marrying his same-sex partner. [Think Progress]

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10. J.K. Rowling will produce a Harry Potter prequel for the stage
Harry Potter fans everywhere celebrated Friday when J.K. Rowling announced she will pen a prequel to the beloved series — for the stage. The author released a statement explaining the show will "explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast."[USA Today]

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Monica Nickelsburg is a digital producer for TheWeek.com. She has previously worked for Transient Pictures, The Daily Beast, NBC, and Forbes. Follow her @mnickelsburg.

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