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News Archive - December 19, 2013

Metro Could Add Up To 14 Stations, But Expansion Is Decades Away

Metro is drawing up plans to add as many as 14 stations to the system as part of a new inner loop traveling through downtown D.C., but the proposed expansion is likely going to have to wait at least a couple decades.

Lawmakers Debate Whether To Seal Records For Pot Possession

Advocates for decriminalization of marijuana have found some success in the District, but before any decisions are made, lawmakers are deciding what to do with those who have already been convicted of possession.

Pa. Man Wins $1 Million Picasso With $140 Raffle Ticket

Jeffrey Gonano, 25, had the winning stub in a Sotheby's drawing for the Spanish master's 1914 cubist painting, "Man in the Opera Hat."

Will 2nd-Term Obama Show More Mercy Through Pardons?

President Obama came to office bemoaning the disparity in sentences for crack versus powder cocaine offenses, and with a background as a community organizer and constitutional law teacher that had some progressives anticipating a robust use of the Constitution's "reprieves and pardons" power. That hasn't been the case.

Capitol Dome The Latest Iconic Building Under Repairs

Pieces of the Capitol building's iconic fascade are crumbling, prompting a $60 million recovery effort that comes on the heals of repairs at the Washington Monument and Supreme Court.

Update: Putin Critic Khodorkovsky Released From Prison

The Russian leader pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once that nation's richest man. He has spent a decade behind bars for a fraud conviction that critics say was a politically motivated charge.

Senators Cross Aisle To Call For New Sanctions On Iran

A bipartisan measure introduced by 13 Republicans and 13 Democrats defies the president by calling for new sanctions if Iran breaks a deal on its nuclear program.

New York City Extends Smoking Ban To E-Cigarettes

The ban on the high-tech "vapor" cigarettes comes just weeks after New York became the first major U.S. city to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21.

McAuliffe Makes Two More Appointments To Cabinet, Including McDonnell Holdover

Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe is reappointing the state secretary of agriculture and forestry and appointing a new a new natural resources chief.

Outdated Magnetic Strips: How U.S. Credit Card Security Lags

Thieves responsible for Target's massive data breach may have stolen information stored on magnetic strips on credit cards. Canada, the U.K. and other countries have been using more secure cards with microchips for years.

Poll: Americans Favor Age Restrictions On Morning-After Pill

The legal wrangling over who should be allowed to buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill without a prescription came to an end this year. A federal judge ruled that the emergency contraceptive couldn't be withheld from girls 16 and younger. Despite the legal ruling, many Americans support age minimums and parental consent.

Charles Rangel, Longtime Harlem Congressman, To Seek Re-Election

Amid widespread speculation that he would retire, the third-longest-serving member of Congress said he will seek a 23rd term next year.

Dennis Rodman In North Korea 'To Open Doors For America'

The visit is the ex-NBA star's third to the country this year. He says he'll visit strongman Kim Jong Un, a man he's described as his "friend for life."

Dozens Hurt In Ceiling Collapse At London's Apollo Theatre

Authorities say nearly 90 are injured, several of them seriously, after the collapse in the city's West End.

Is A 'Pathway To Citizenship' The Right Concern?

A majority of Latinos and a plurality of Asian-Americans think that reducing the threat of deportation is more important than creating avenues to full citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, according to a new report.

Obama Issues Year-End Commutations For Drug Crimes

The president commuted the sentences of eight people convicted on cocaine-related charges and pardoned 13 others convicted of other offenses.

How To Make Sense Of Confusing, New Blood Pressure Advice

Many people over 60 won't have to work so hard to lower their blood pressure, if doctors adhere to guidelines for treatment. That's because there's a lack of proof that people with moderately high blood pressure can reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes by trying to lower it substantially with drugs.

New Mexico's High Court OKs Same-Sex Marriage

The state's Supreme Court unanimously ruled to validate a practice that had started on the county level in the absence of a specific state law.

Jurors Hear Kate Middleton's Voicemails; Some From William

At the London trial of editors for the now-defunct News of the World, prosecutors played recordings of messages left by Prince William for his then-girlfriend. Editors from the tabloid are on trial for their alleged roles in the hacking scandal.

Geeky Gamers Feast Upon Settlers Of Catan Cookbook

Deconstructed salads and nachos go in hexagonal bowls that mimic the layout of the German board game with a cult following. Cookbook author Chris-Rachel Oseland says that the recipes are perfect for die-hard players with dietary restrictions.

After Years Of Declines, D.C. Homicide Rate Ticks Up

The number of homicides is up this year in the District of Columbia, even excluding the 12 victims of the Washington Navy Yard rampage in September.

Methodist Minister Who Officiated At Gay Wedding Is Defrocked

Rev. Frank Schaefer presided over his son's marriage to another man six years ago. When his congregation learned about the marriage this year, a complaint was filed with United Methodist officials. The church says same-sex marriage is "incompatible with Christian teaching." Schaefer disagrees.

Hold The Cheese: Israelis Sway Domino's To Make Vegan Pizza

In America, pizza chains try to outdo each other by layering ever-more cheese on pies. But in Israel, vegans have convinced one pizza giant to take it all off. Bowing to a campaign from a group that promotes the vegan lifestyle in Israel, Domino's has added cheese-less pizzas to its menu there.

How To Master The Fine Art Of Political Symbolism

Politicians around the country — and around the globe — continue to embrace the most basic symbols as a means of getting their points across more powerfully to voters.

D.C. Legislators To Debate Bill Scrubbing Records Of Non-Violent Drug Offenders

The D.C. Council is considering a bill that would seal the criminal records of people convicted of marijuana possession in cases that did not involve violence.

Video Games As Art? The Smithsonian Thinks So

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has begun collecting video games for its permanent collection as part of an ongoing commitment to study and preserve such games as an artistic medium.

Michigan Man Will Stand Trial For Porch Shooting

The case has put race relations in the spotlight once again. Theodore Wafer of suburban Dearborn Heights has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Renisha McBride. The African-American teen knocked on Wafer's door late one night. He says the shooting was an accident.

Is The Shoulder The New Bus Lane? Planners Think It Might Be

That shoulder on the the clogged highway is valuable and largely unused real estate, and transportation planners in the region are now considering it as a possible bus lane.

D.C. Rolls Out Unified Lottery For Public, Charter Schools

To streamline the existing cumbersome lottery system, the District has developed a common application for all traditional public schools and the majority of public charter schools.

100 Years Of Solvitude: A Reported Crossword Puzzle

For 100 years the pen has been mightier than the boredom for crossword puzzle aficionados.

The Washington Two-Step: Dancing Back To Normal

Washington took two big steps toward more normal times. First, the Federal Reserve said it will modestly taper down its easy-money program. And then Congress completed the first bipartisan budget agreement in years. But some other obstacles loom.

Neighboring Crises In South Sudan, Central African Republic

Hundreds of people, perhaps thousands, have been killed in those nations in recent days in clashes between groups. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is in the Central African Republic to try to convince the sides to put down their guns.

Immigrants Are Sending More Money Back To Less Poor Countries

The steadily growing amount of money that immigrants send home is increasingly going to nations such as India and Mexico, where annual per capita income falls between $1,000 and $12,000.

Existing Home Sales Dip, But Prices Rise

The housing market is cooling because of higher mortgage rates and limited supply, economists say. Meanwhile, seasonal factors related to the holidays may have temporarily pushed up claims for jobless benefits.

Book News: Memoir Coming From Obama's Half-Brother

Mark Obama Ndesandjo will reportedly recall his father's abusive behavior. Also: A Turkish court suspends the trial of men accused of "corrupting public morals" for publishing a century-old novel; and a new e-book subscription service launches.

'Duck Dynasty' Dad Doubles Down; Palin Defends Him

Phil Robertson has been suspended from the popular A&E reality show for saying, among other things, that homosexuality is sinful and comparing gays to "the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers." He says he's reflecting "what the Bible teaches."

Breach At Target Stores May Affect 40 Million Card Accounts

The retailer acknowledged early Thursday that there was a massive security breach of its customers' credit and debit card accounts. It started the day before Thanksgiving and extended at least to Dec. 15 — the heart of the holiday shopping season.