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10 things you need to know today: December 28, 2013
Police release a trove of new information on Sandy Hook, A&E reverses course on Duck Dynasty, and more
 
This firearm was seized from Adam Lanza's house following the December 14, 2012, shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
This firearm was seized from Adam Lanza's house following the December 14, 2012, shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Photo by Connecticut State Police via Getty Images)

1. Federal judge upholds NSA phone-data dragnet
The National Security Agency program that collects data on millions of phone calls was deemed legal by a federal judge in New York. The ruling comes two weeks after a judge in Washington, D.C., said the government failed to make the case that the program was necessary. The new ruling by Judge William H. Pauley III centers on the idea that the controversial practice may have stopped the 9/11 hijackers. Both cases will be reviewed by the appeals courts in New York and Washington, and the issue could wind up before the Supreme Court. [New York Times]
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2. Libyan government detains and releases 4 U.S. service members
Four U.S. service members who worked at the American Embassy in Tripoli were held by the Libyan government before being released late Friday. It's not clear exactly why the quartet, which was providing security for the diplomatic mission, had been detained, but it appeared as though the Ministry of the Interior was behind the confinement.[CNN]
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3. More than 1 million lose unemployment benefits
Congress' budget deal will leave 1.3 million unemployed Americans without long-term federal unemployment benefits, which are scheduled to expire Dec. 28. The Senate has drafted bipartisan legislation to extend unemployment benefits, which is expected to be voted on once Congress comes back from recess in January. If lawmakers don't act, analysts estimate it will reduce U.S. gross domestic product by 0.2 to 0.4 percent in 2014. [CNN]
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4. Muslim Brotherhood challenges crackdown in Egypt
The Muslim Brotherhood continues to protest in the face of a country-wide crackdown on Islamist supporters. At least three people were killed and 265 were arrested on Friday as security forces fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters. The military-led government has worked to suppress the group since ousting President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, in July. [New York Times]
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5. Connecticut police release Newtown shooting files
Connecticut authorities released new documents pertaining to their investigation of the Newtown shooting. The thousands of pages paint a detailed and gruesome picture of the massacre, which left 20 students and six educators dead. Despite the volume of information, investigators noted they may never know what motivated the shooter. [ABC]
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6. Rescue ship fails to reach Russian vessel stranded by ice
A Russian research ship remains stranded near Antarctica after a Chinese icebreaker boat was unable to cut through dense ice and call of the rescue mission. More than 70 people have been trapped since Christmas day on the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which became stuck after a blizzard drove ice around the boat and froze the floes in place. Another icebreaker boat is on its way to try to break the ship free. [FOX]
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7. A&E reverses Duck Dynasty decision
A week after announcing it was suspending Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for making anti-gay statements, A&E is backing off its decision. Fans rallied around the reality star, collecting more than 250,000 signatures calling for a boycott of the network. A&E officials released a statement saying Duck Dynasty is not "about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love." [USA Today]
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8. Denver begins issuing licenses for marijuana distributors
Officials in Denver have approved 42 licenses to businesses looking to sell recreational marijuana. The proprietors, which included growers, retail shops, and infused product manufacturers, passed strict inspections and went through a public hearing process. Colorado voted in November 2012 to allow those over the age of 21 to use and possess marijuana. [Time]
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9. Target says stolen pins were encrypted
Target Corp. admitted thieves had stolen the personal identification numbers of thousands of customers, but tried to quell the controversy by saying the data was "strongly encrypted." Company officials said the hackers need a key held by the independent payment processor to access the data, but they didn't comment on whether the thieves were sophisticated enough break the encryption. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. Hospital agrees to transfer brain-dead teen
Oakland Children's Hospital has agreed to transfer Jahi McMath to a nursing home after trying to block the move on Thursday. Hospital officials refused to implant a feeding tube, a procedure required to move McMath who was left brain-dead after complications arose during a surgery to remove her tonsils. A judge has ruled the hospital can disconnect McMath from life support on Monday. [USA Today]
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Laura Colarusso
Laura Colarusso is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She has previously written for Newsweek, The Boston Globe, the Washington Monthly and The Daily Beast.

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