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KNOW IT ALL: Thursday’s Top 7 Stories at NBC News

Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:

1. Who is the man who flew gyro-copter at Capitol?

Douglas Hughes, a 61-year-old letter carrier from Florida, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly flying a small gyro-copter that landed on the West Lawn of t‎he Capitol on Wednesday. He's expected to appear in court Thursday. Hughes appears to be involved in "Civilism," and was calling for a new conversation about government corruption and gridlock. Read more in NEWS.

Watch Gyro-copter Land on Capitol Hill Lawn 1:40

2. Aaron Hernandez convicted of first-degree murder

The former NFL star was found guilty Wednesday in the 2013 shooting death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He was sentenced to life in prison. But he remains under indictment on two counts of first-degree murder in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. Prosecutors say he fired his .38-caliber revolver into a BMW, killing two people — all because one of them bumped into Hernandez and caused him to spill his drink. Read more in NEWS.

3. Footage of Arizona cop ramming gunman sparks debate

Video of a police officer ramming an armed suspect with his car to stop him drew controversy this week as another possible case of excessive force. But some criminologists and use-of-force experts say the officer was justified in his actions. Read more in NEWS.

4. Putin doesn’t expect sanctions to end ‘anytime soon’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that despite Western sanctions against his country remaining in place, Russia can remain strong. The country has seen a weak currency and unemployment, but he pointed to record-setting levels of construction as a positive economic indicator. "Sanctions make an impact, contribute to our troubles, but [are] not the main thing," Putin said in a televised Q&A session. Read more in NEWS.

5. Gov. Christie: Clinton has to earn her nomination

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Hillary Clinton will not simply be handed the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, and her unsuccessful 2008 campaign shows nothing is a "foregone conclusion." "Mrs. Clinton's going to have to perform so she's going to have to earn the nomination. Nobody is handed these things," Christie told TODAY's Matt Lauer in an interview airing Thursday. Read more in POLITICS.

Chris Christie Says if he Runs, He’ll Beat Hillary Clinton 2:00

6. Family of Tsarnaev wanted him to fire his lawyer: report

Relatives of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber, tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to fire his lead attorney and hire someone who would fight to get him acquitted, Time magazine reports. Tsarnaev, 21, awaits sentencing in the deadly 2013 attack, and jurors will reconvene next week to decide whether he will be put to death. Read more in NEWS.

7. Search zone for MH370 could double

The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner will be doubled if the wreckage of doomed plane is not found by the end of next month, nations leading the search said Thursday. The extended search zone — covering 46,000 square miles, an area the size of Pennsylvania — could take a year to cover because of the upcoming winter weather, the officials said. The aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 passengers and crew en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Not a single piece of the jet has been found. Read more in NEWS.

Nightly Spotlight

Every year, the San Diego Padres sign Matt LaChappa to a minor league contract, a deal that began nearly 20 years ago. But why?

Why This Ex-Pitcher With a Brain Injury Will Be Padre For Life 1:54