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The week at a glance...United States

United States

Los AngelesHollywood hacker gets 10 years: A Florida man who hacked into the email accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, and some 50 other celebrities was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal judge this week. Christopher Chaney, 36, admitted that he’d broken into the email accounts of film stars, singers, and other celebrities in order to gain access to compromising photos and private information. He found and published online nude photos that Johansson had taken of herself to send to her then-husband, Ryan Reynolds. “I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed,” Johansson said in a video statement, calling her stalker’s actions “perverted and reprehensible.” Chaney was arrested in October 2011 as part of an extended investigation of celebrity hacking that police called Operation Hackerazzi. “I was almost relieved months ago when they came in and took my computer,” said Chaney, “because I didn’t know how to stop.”

Longmont, Colo. Murder-suicide: Hours after he was freed from jail on domestic violence charges, a Colorado man this week shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and two other people before shooting himself to death while a 911 dispatcher listened. Daniel Sanchez, 31, killed his former girlfriend, Beatriz Cintora-Silva, her sister, and her sister’s husband, police said. Cintora-Silva called 911 shortly after 4 a.m. on Tuesday, police said. The dispatcher heard her cry, “No, no, no,” followed by the sound of a gunshot. Sanchez then took the phone, told the dispatcher what he had done, and said that he was going to kill himself, said Weld County Sheriff John Cooke. A single shot followed that brief conversation. Sanchez had been released on bail just hours before he drove to the home where Cintora-Silva had taken refuge. “He shot out the back door,” Cooke said, “then gained entry into the house.”

Washington, D.C. Clinton’s illness: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton postponed her testimony before Congress on the Benghazi, Libya, attack because of illness, but conservatives this week accused her of faking it. Last week, the State Department reported that Clinton, 65, dehydrated from a stomach virus, had fainted and hit her head in her Washington, D.C., home, suffering a concussion. She canceled an overseas trip along with her appearance before House and Senate committees investigating the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. The New York Post called her excuse “one of the most transparent dodges in the history of diplomacy,” and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton dismissed her claim as a “diplomatic illness” to avoid testifying. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton was ready to testify and, “except for this illness, she would have been up there.”

Washington, D.C. A deal on the ‘fiscal cliff’? Hopes for a deal on the “fiscal cliff” grew this week, as President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner traded proposals and made concessions. The main issue of contention remains the proposed income level at which tax rates will rise to Clinton-era levels. President Obama raised his threshold for higher taxes from $250,000 to $400,000 in family income and added additional spending cuts, including adjustments to Social Security, as a compromise. Boehner countered with his “Plan B,” which would raise tax rates on family incomes above $1 million but keep spending cuts required under last year’s “sequestration” compromise to raise the federal debt ceiling. Though the White House rejected the plan, Obama said he and Boehner were getting “pretty close” to a deal. “What separates us is probably a few hundred billion dollars,” he added. 

Washington, D.C. Benghazi report: An independent inquiry into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans criticized the State Department for “grossly inadequate” security at the compound. The administration failed to provide seasoned security personnel for the consulate, relying instead on local militias, said the Accountability Review Board. The attack on the compound was led by al Qaida–linked terrorists, the report said, and was not part of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islamic video, as Obama officials had originally said. “Systematic failures” and senior-level mismanagement led to the security breach that caused the U.S. deaths, the report said. Two high-level officials offered their resignations after they were named in the report. 

Charleston, S.C. Senate appointment: Gov. Nikki Haley this week picked first-term Republican Rep. Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jim DeMint. Scott, 47, a Tea Party favorite who has called for President Obama’s impeachment, will fill the office once held by Strom Thurmond. In January, Scott will become the only African-American member of the Senate and the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. His departure from the House leaves the GOP without an African-American representative, but the Senate gains a black Republican whose voting record is considered more conservative than Rep. Michele Bachmann’s. Scott said he opposes new gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, in favor of taking a hard look at the nation’s “culture of moral decay.” 

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