First look
March 25, 2014

Finished with the Veronica Mars movie, and unsure where to get your next fix? Series creator Rob Thomas has the perfect answer: The audiobook version of the new Veronica Mars novel The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, which is read by none other than Kristen Bell.

In an email to Veronica Mars' Kickstarter backers, Thomas teased that the novel — which takes place after the events of the movie — includes the return of "another important character from Veronica's life" who wasn't in the movie. He also revealed that Bell voices all the characters in the audiobook version, giving fans the chance to hear her version of characters like Weevil Navarro and Cliff McCormack.

If you'd rather read The Thousand Dollar Tan Line the old-fashioned way, it's officially available today. For everyone else, here's a sample of the audiobook. --Scott Meslow

Europe's Migration Crisis
12:50 a.m. ET

In Brussels on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and European leaders struck a deal in which the European Union will pay Turkey up to 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) to help reduce the flow of migrants to Europe. The EU says the money is intended to raise the quality of life for the 2.2. million Syrians currently in Turkey, providing them an incentive to stay, and it will be paid out as Turkey meets certain benchmarks. Most of the 720,000 migrants who have entered Europe through Greece this year from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere came through Turkey, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Turkey also negotiated a new round of talks on joining the 28-member union, and visa-free travel to and within the EU by October 2016 if Ankara meets certain conditions. "Today is a historic day in our accession process to the EU," Davutoglu said at the beginning of the talks. "I am grateful to all European leaders for this new beginning." European Union leaders said the agreement is first and foremost about migration. "As Turkey is making an effort to take in refugees — who will not come to Europe — it's reasonable that Turkey receive help from Europe to accommodate those refugees," French President Francois Hollande told reporters. Reuters has more on the deal in the video below:

Many European Union leaders are uncomfortable with the anti-secular and authoritarian bent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says BBC Istanbul correspondent Mark Lowen. After the editor of Turkey's main center-left newspaper, arrested last week apparently for publishing an article Erdogan disliked, urged EU leaders to keep human rights in Turkey a priority, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker insisted the migrant pact "would not lead to a situation where we forget about the main differences and divergences we have with Turkey — human rights and freedom of the press." Peter Weber

fight against ISIS
12:49 a.m. ET
Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. military officials say the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State is causing mass defections and forcing elite fighters to take on roles usually reserved for low-ranking militants.

Army Col. Steve Warren said surveillance drones have captured footage showing checkpoints with fewer fighters, and because of weakened checkpoints, more civilians have been able to escape from ISIS-held territory; recently, 22 people were able to flee from Ramadi, Iraq. Checkpoints are also increasingly being manned by foreign militants who are trained to seize land and engage in battle, not inspect people and vehicles. There's also talk of more defections in places like Kirkuk, Iraq; last week, 90 ISIS fighters there — local men who were coerced into joining the group — surrendered to Kurdish peshmerga forces, USA Today reports.

Military officials estimate that 23,000 ISIS fighters have been killed since the campaign started in 2014, including 3,000 since mid-October; they also believe there are 20,000 to 30,000 ISIS fighters still in Syria and Iraq. Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institute, told USA Today "these anecdotes and snippets of information sound promising, but just remain a bit more skeptical until we see some more indicators and see what happens when more time passes." Catherine Garcia

November 29, 2015

The two civilian victims killed Friday during the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs have been identified by their families as Jennifer Markovsky, 36, and Ke'Arre Stewart, 29.

Markovsky was a mother of two, The Denver Post reports, and Stewart, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, was a father of two. Family members told Hawaii News Now that Markovsky accompanied a friend to an appointment at the clinic; the friend was shot in the hand. Authorities in Colorado Springs said they are waiting until the autopsies are completed before formally identifying the two victims.

Also killed in the shooting was Garrett Swasey, 44, a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police officer who responded to the scene after the shooting began Friday morning. Nine people were injured, and all are expected to recover, The Guardian reports. Catherine Garcia

November 29, 2015

Citing "recent tragic events at other campuses across the country," University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer announced Sunday that after receiving information from the FBI about an online threat, the school was canceling all Monday classes and activities on its Hyde Park campus.

In a statement, Zimmer wrote that counterterrorism officials informed the university that "an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence against the University of Chicago, specifically mentioning 'the campus quad' on Monday morning at 10 a.m." Students, non-essential staff, and non-medical faculty are being asked to stay off campus, and there will be an "increased police and security presence on and around campus, including police personnel with visible weapons and other additional measures." The FBI is continuing to investigate the threat, Zimmer said. Catherine Garcia

November 29, 2015
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Instead of fighting crowds for doorbuster deals, more people shopped for bargains this Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend from the comfort of their own home.

The National Retail Federation estimates that more than 103 million Americans shopped online, and almost 102 million shopped in brick-and-mortar stores. Adobe Systems Inc. says consumers spent around $4.45 billion online during Black Friday, up 14 percent from 2014. Adobe also estimates that more than 50 percent of those shoppers used mobile devices to make purchases. "This holiday may be a wake-up call for store-based retailers to recognize they are going to have to transform their store models to compete with online retailers," Steve Barr, a retail consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told The Wall Street Journal.

Several retailers offered the same promotions online and in store, and some, like Walmart, put major deals up online hours before they were available in stores. It's not just big box stores trying to woo shoppers online; companies like Expedia are also offering special deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. "Ultimately, retailers are in a race to capture their share of consumer spending," Barr said. Catherine Garcia

time to say goodbye
November 29, 2015
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In an open letter posted online Sunday, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant announced that the current NBA season will be his last.

"My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye," the 37-year-old wrote on The Players Tribune. Bryant, now in his 20th season, has been with the Lakers since 1996, when he was a 17-year-old brought to the team after Vlade Divac was sent to the Charlotte Hornets. He has won five NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals, and was an NBA All-Star pick 17 times and an NBA MVP. In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Bryant "one of the greatest players in the history of our game." Catherine Garcia

keeping up with the republicans
November 29, 2015

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) hasn't really succeeded yet in standing out in a large pool of Republican presidential hopefuls. His polling numbers are no great shakes, and they even caused him to miss out on one recent primetime debate.

But the governor got some good news in Sunday's newspaper — an endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader, a big conservative outlet in an early voting state:

Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won't get rolled by the bureaucrats. We don't need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.

Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it. [Union Leader]

It would appear the Union Leader is a paper Christie actually reads, unlike, say, The New York Times. Julie Kliegman

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