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John Kerry’s Mission To Save Diplomacy:

ou can see it in everything he attempts to do around the globe, every conflict he wades into, every crisis he refuses to concede. And as John Kerry prepares to step down as secretary of state next month, he will carry it with him just as he has for 50 years: a deep-seated belief that America — and, indeed, he — can solve some of the world’s thorniest problems with the right mix of politics, diplomacy, perseverance and personal charm.

For better and worse, Kerry never gives up, even when everyone around him thinks he should.
He is an indefatigable optimist, a warrior — occasionally quixotic, always gung ho — who refuses to stop until he’s made every last phone call, bent every last ear, appealed to every last world leader who might help him in his quest.
President Obama is pictured with his mother Ann Dunham in an undated childhood photo taken in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Obama Explains Why His Mom’s Parenting Style Worked:

As he prepares to leave the Oval Office after eight years, President Barack Obama recently reflected on the role his mother played on him becoming commander-in-chief, and how one of her biggest influences were her lessons on love.

For all the ups and downs of our lives, there was never a moment where I didn’t feel as if I was special, that I was not just this spectacular gift to the world,” Obama said, describing his childhood in an interview with former chief strategist David Axelrod in the latest episode of his podcast for The Axe Files.
In his 2004 book “Dreams from My Father,” Obama wrote that his mother’s lessons on the power of love have been the guiding forces in his life and served as pillars for accomplishing his achievements.
The President has often spoken about his nontraditional upbringing. He was born in Hawaii to a father from Kenya and a Caucasian mother from Kansas. After his father abandoned his family when Obama was around age two, his childhood was spent with his grandparents in Hawaii while his mother studied in Indonesia and married again.
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Mall Mayhem: Fights Break Out Across The US:

Massive brawls and food-court fights played out at more than a dozen malls across the country in what proved to be a chaotic day after Christmas.

Some of the mayhem was captured on social media. The chaos prevented some shoppers from grabbing clothes off clearance racks and returning gifts.
The mall incidents, which ranged from minor melees to mass evacuations, occurred from Colorado to Tennessee and Texas to New Jersey.
Police in some cities are investigating the role social media may have played in organizing the disturbances. The motive behind the mall brawls is not yet known.
Here’s what happened at nine of those malls.
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Hatchimals Hatch Into Duds For Some On Christmas:

Hatchimals, perhaps the most sought after toy of the holiday shopping season, left some parents and kids frustrated on Christmas morning.

Parents lucky enough to get their hands on the item, which was largely sold out in stores for weeks, are complaining the product doesn’t hatch.

The toy “hatches” from an egg when children knock, tap, or rub on the shell after about 30 minutes of playtime. The Hatchimal inside responds with lights and sounds and eventually hatches into a creature kids can talk and engage with.

“Unfortunately, with toys that incorporate a high level of technology, there are also some cases where the product may not perform as well as expected,” said a spokesperson for Spin Master, Hatchimals’ parent company. “We are committed to doing everything possible to resolve these issues.”

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Russian Doping Scandal ‘Institutional Conspiracy’:

Russian officials are no longer denying alleged “institutionalized” doping of the country’s athletes during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a report from The New York Times said. But the Kremlin pushed back against the charge Wednesday.

The newspaper spoke with three top Russian sports officials. Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national anti-doping agency RUSADA, called the doping program “an institutional conspiracy.”
When asked about the Times article alleging that some Russian officials admitted to the “institutional doping” by athletes, Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov said, “We categorically deny it.”
“From the very start (of the doping scandal) we denied any involvement of the state, state agencies, services or bodies in the possible use of doping by athletes,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday.
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