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GREENBELT, Md. (AP) Metro plans to plead guilty to charges it released hazardous chemicals into the sewer system in 2003, according to court documents. The charges in federal court in Greenbelt were made public yesterday.

BALTIMORE (AP) A housing official described his relationship with Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and a former boyfriend's employee testified about buying gift cards at the heart of the theft trial against her. Prosecutors allege she used gift cards intended for the needy during personal shopping sprees.

MCHENRY, Md. (AP) Maryland's only ski resort is teaming up with two Pennsylvania counterparts to expand the appeal of skiing the Allegheny highlands. The Wisp Resort in McHenry says season-ticket buyers will get a free one-day lift ticket at either the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, or the Hidden Valley Resort in Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania.

BERLIN (AP) Michael Phelps and Paul Biedermann are playing down their showdown in a World Cup meet this weekend. Phelps says he is not in the best shape, while his German rival is coming off a thigh muscle injury.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

NPR

U.S. Officials Believe North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack

The recent attack on Sony Pictures' computer network that resulted in a flood of confidential data has its origins in North Korea, U.S. intelligence officials say.
NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
NPR

Rep. Sires Pushes Back Against Obama's Cuba Plans

President Obama's action to begin normalizing relations with Cuba has drawn harsh criticism from members of Congress in both parties. One of those critics is Rep. Albio Sires, who was born in Cuba.
NPR

With Sony Hack, Nation State Attacks Go From Quiet To Overt

U.S. intelligence officials claim that North Korea was centrally involved in the hack against Sony. That's major news in the world of cyberwarfare, where nation states typically make covert attacks.

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