Good morning. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Five Big Takeaways From the Republican Debate
It was fight night in Las Vegas — GOP presidential style — and the gloves were off among the nine candidates. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may look down and out in the polls, but on Tuesday he boasted a solid debate in which he tangled repeatedly with Donald Trump and came out mostly unscathed. But the dominant — and likely most consequential — rivalry of the night was between Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Trump's Plan to Ban Muslims Goes Untested
The GOP front-runner's radical proposal last week to bar Muslims from entering the United States dominated news coverage for several days not just in America, but also abroad. But Tuesday night's debate illustrated that Trump's proposal has so far not been any kind of game-changer in the Republican race. Read more in POLITICS.
3. Why L.A. Saw a Bomb Threat Where NYC Saw a Hoax
Context is key when it comes to deciding whether a bomb threat like the one that shut down the Los Angeles school system is real — or a hoax. So said security experts just hours after the feds concluded Tuesday the threat that shuttered the nation's second largest school system on Tuesday — but which New York City officials ignored — was bogus. Read more in NEWS.
4. Seven Silver Linings of a Fed Interest Rate Hike
The Federal Reserve is set to do something on Wednesday that it hasn't done in nearly a decade — raise interest rates. While the cost of borrowing money is about to get more expensive, economists say the effects of this initial hike won't be drastic or immediate — and there could be some silver linings on the horizon for consumers. Read more in BUSINESS.
5. Lawmakers Pass Spending Deal, Avoid Shutdown
After weeks of back and forth negotiations, congressional Republicans and Democrats have finally struck a deal on a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill, legislation that would avert a government shutdown and fund government through October 2016. Read more in POLITICS.
6. Obamacare's Holiday Season Deadline Extended
Santa just gave millions of people a few extra days to enroll in Obamacare in time for New Year's. The holiday season deadline for HealthCare.gov, which serves 38 states, and Covered California, the nation's largest state-run exchange, had been originally scheduled for early Wednesday morning — now it's Friday. Read more in HEALTH.
7. Why Does Vladimir Putin Walk Like That?
You may have never noticed it, but the Russian president walks a little funny — his right arm is held rigid while his left arm swings freely. Now researchers think they know why: It's most likely KGB weapons training at work. Read more in HEALTH.
An experimental device is preventing cancer cells from multiplying by sending electric waves to the brain, and while it can't cure the cancer, a study shows it can add months to a patient's life.