Beyoncé Gives Birth; Wild Card Blowouts; Second New Hampshire GOP Debate

Last night, Beyoncé Knowles gave birth to her and Jay-Z's child, Ivy Blue Carter. The Daily News reports the baby girl was born in Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side in a private wing and that "hospital workers placed tape over security cameras and are forcing employees to turn in cell phones when they arrive for their shifts." Ivy Blue is the couple's first baby. [NYDN]

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Modest Jobs Recovery; Dolan to Become Cardinal; Deadly Hot Air Balloon Crash in New Zealand

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The American workforce added about 200,000 jobs over December, doubling November's rate of job creation. The Wall Street Journal reports, "The new jobs were scattered over a range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, and even the battered construction sector," and "the sector that added the most jobs was transportation and warehousing, which was up 50,000." While the numbers look good, experts warn that it may be a temporary bump, as many of the jobs created in the aforementioned transportation and warehousing sector were likely holiday-related and may be unsustainable. [WSJ]

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U.S. Troops Leave Iraq; Alleged Cop Murderers Indicted; Protests Continue in Egypt

Payroll Tax Cut Extended; Kobe Bryant Divorce; Rare 'Generator Suicide' to Blame for Fatal Elevator Accident?

Senate leaders agreed to extend the payroll tax cut, the Washington Post reports, "averting a New Year's tax increase for millions of workers." "Under the separate Senate agreement on the payroll tax, the rate paid by 160 million workers would remain at 4.2 percent through February, rather than reverting to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1." The legislation also includes language that would force the Obama administration to make a decision about the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days. [Washington Post]

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Ryan Braun Fails PED Test; Iran Won't Return Drone; MTA Worker Allegedly Stabs Boss

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, ESPN reports. Braun, who was last season's National League MVP, reportedly failed a test adminstered during the playoffs. "It's B.S.," the 28-year-old told USA Today. A spokesman for Braun released a statement saying, "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program." If the charges are upheld, Braun faces a 50-game suspension. [ESPN]

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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded; Protests in Russia; Hollywood Gunman

Three women received the Nobel Peace Prize today at a ceremony in Oslo. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, social worker Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni journalist and activist Tawakkul Karman were all "chosen for their non-violent struggle against injustice, sexual violence and repression." Sirleaf "became Africa's first democratically-elected female president in 2006," Gbowee "led a women's movement that protested the use of rape and child soldiers in Liberia's civil war," and Karman "founded the rights group Women Journalists without Chains." The three will each receive $1.5 million. [CNN]

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DEA Money Laundering; German Evacuation From WWII Bombs; Socrates Dies

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A New York Times report says the Drug Enforcement Administration has laundered money for drug cartels in an effort to "identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are." This controversial tactic was banned from use in Mexico in 1998, but due to an increase in drug-related violence, the practice has been used with "hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash." The DEA "often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests." [NYT]

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McDonald's Cashier Cleared of Assault Charges; Unemployment Down; Deadly Shooting on Q111

Rayon McIntosh, the McDonald's cashier who was videotaped beating two unruly customers with a metal rod in October, was cleared of all charges after eleven days of grand jury testimony. The Daily News reports McIntosh, who had previously served almost ten years in jail for a manslaughter rap, was being held at Rikers on assault and weapons charges. The two women who were ruled to have provoked McIntosh still are facing charges, including criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct. [NYDN]

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UC Davis Chancellor Announces Pepper Spray Review; Japan Earthquake; Violent Protests in Egypt

After footage of a police officer dousing students with pepper spray went viral, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi announced she is forming a "task force" to look into the incident. She told CNN, "We really want to look into this very carefully and take action ... make sure that it will never happen again on our campus." She added that the task force would be "made of faculty, students and staff," and they "will review the events and provide a report within 90 days." [CNN]

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Budget Deal Stalls; Second Mile Mulls Future; 'Twilight' Rakes it in

Yesterday, a bipartisan congressional committee was unable to come to an agreement on a new budget. The New York Times reports Democrats rejected the Republican deal because they said it did not contain enough new revenue. "Central to the impasse is a fundamental disagreement over how much revenue would be raised toward the $1.2 trillion, and what the role of the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of next year, would play. Republicans want to maintain the cuts; Democrats want them eliminated for the nation's highest earners." The deal is due Monday. [NYT]

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