(Nov. 26) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(Nov. 26) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:18 am

The United Nations says an international peace conference aimed at ending Syria's nearly three-year civil war will start on January 22 in Geneva. The U.N. hasn't revealed who will participate, although Iran, a Syria ally, said Tuesday it would come if invited. Some opposition leaders insist they won't negotiate until Syrian President Bashar al-Assad steps down. Assad's aides say he won't quit, so expectations for the talks are low. [Reuters, New York Times]

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2. Deadly winter weather reaches the East

A harsh winter storm that has already been blamed for 14 deaths in the West brought freezing rain and sleet to the Southeast early Tuesday. The massive system is expected to push up the East Coast during the week. It has already forced the cancelation of hundreds of flights, and could cause major delays at some of the country's busiest airports, including ones in New York and Washington, D.C., during the Thanksgiving travel rush. [Weather Channel]

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3. Karzai's new demands put security deal in jeopardy

A new U.S.-Afghan security deal was near collapse late Monday after Afghan President Hamid Karzai told National Security Adviser Susan Rice that he would not sign it unless the Obama administration helps start peace talks with the Taliban. The deal would let several thousand U.S. troops to stay behind after NATO withdraws at the end of next year. Rice said if Karzai doesn't sign by the end of 2013 the U.S. will have "no choice" but to pull out. [Washington Post]

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4. Obama pushes back at critics of Iran deal

President Obama, facing bipartisan criticism, defended the temporary deal to freeze Iran's nuclear program on Monday. "Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it's not the right thing to do for our security," he said. Skeptics in the Senate say the deal lets Iran off too easy, lifting some sanctions without specifically requiring it to stop enriching uranium. [Fox News]

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5. Report can't pinpoint motive for Sandy Hook massacre

Connecticut prosecutors on Monday released a long-awaited report on the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which concluded that Adam Lanza had "significant mental health issues," but failed to determine his motive. Lanza killed his mother at home and then went to the school and killed 20 first-graders and six adults with a semiautomatic rifle before killing himself. The report said he acted alone, so the case is now closed. [Los Angeles Times]

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6. Steubenville school officials charged with undermining investigation

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Monday that a grand jury had indicted a school superintendent and three others on charges of undermining the investigation into the 2012 rape of a nearly passed-out 16-year-old girl by two high school football players. Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey faces three felony counts, including obstruction of justice. Two other school employees had already been charged. [CNN]

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7. Yale locked down briefly after a gunman warning

Yale University was locked down for six hours on Monday after an anonymous caller said his roommate had gone to the school to shoot people. Police conducted a room-to-room search, but never found a gunman. "We have not yet identified that caller," said David Hartman, spokesman for the New Haven, Conn., Police Department. "He did not identify himself when asked, he did not remain on the 911 line when asked." [Reuters]

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8. Walmart announces it is replacing CEO Duke

Walmart announced Monday that CEO Michael Duke would retire at the end of January, and be replaced by Walmart International head C. Douglas McMillon. The shake-up came as the giant retailer struggles with sluggish sales as the crucial and highly competitive holiday shopping season gets underway. Duke's departure had been rumored for months. "The question was not whether, but when," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. [New York Times]

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9. Study indicates that methane is a big climate problem

The U.S. is pumping 50 percent more methane into the atmosphere than the EPA has been reporting, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Much of the extra greenhouse gas is coming from Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas — all big cattle-producing states. That could mean that methane produced from livestock flatulence could be a bigger factor in climate change than previously believed. [Associated Press]

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10. Bryant signs extension with the Lakers

Kobe Bryant on Monday signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers that will ensure that he remains the best-paid player in the NBA. ESPN reported that the 2007-2008 league MVP would make $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second. That will give the Lakers little room under the salary cap to hire more talent, but it's still a pay cut from this year, when Bryant, 35, will make $30.4 million. [ESPN]

Compiled by theweek.com

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