The Colorado Gunman: Denver Post: "Arapahoe High School gunman Karl Pierson scrawled messages on his arms pointing to five areas of the school he planned to attack, the county sheriff said Tuesday. Also written on his forearm in permanent marker was the Latin phrase 'Alea iacta est,' which means in English 'The die has been cast.' The letters and numbers on his arm correlated with specific classrooms located near the school's library, where authorities have said Pierson planned to target librarian and debate coach Tracy Murphy. The sheriff released the new details but said it still appears that Pierson, 18, acted alone."
Victim Remains in Coma: Post, again: "Before killing himself inside the library on Friday, Pierson shot and wounded Claire Davis, 17, a fellow senior, who remains in a coma at a Littleton hospital. Pierson came to the school armed with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun he bought legally at a sporting goods store as well as three Molotov cocktails, and a machete concealed in a canvas scabbard. Strapped to his chest and waist were two bandoliers containing some of the 125 rounds of assorted ammunition, a mix of steel-shot, buckshot and slugs, Robinson said."
More Details: NBC News: "Pierson, 18, who was upset he lost his spot on the debate team, entered Arapahoe High School on Friday heavily armed and looking for the speech coach.... He fired immediately upon entering and then fired again, shooting Davis.... Pierson fired three more times without hitting anyone before killing himself inside the library, police said. The librarian, Tracy Murphy, had fled outside when he heard the gunman was looking for him — which police praised as a tactical move to lure the shooter away from students."
Budget Deal: New York Times: "A bipartisan tax-and-spending plan designed to bring some normalcy to Congress’s budgeting after three years of chaos cleared its final hurdle on Tuesday when 67 senators voted to end debate on the measure and bring it to a final vote before it goes to President Obama for his signature. The 67-33 vote easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster and made way for final passage with a simple, 51-vote majority, likely on Wednesday. Republican support was surprisingly strong after days of uncertainty fueled by political posturing and Tea Party opposition."
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NATO Crash: Washington Post: "Six NATO troops died Tuesday when an aircraft crashed in southeastern Afghanistan, officials said. The crash, which occurred in Zabul province, according to deputy provincial governor Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, marked the single deadliest incident of the year for the coalition. In a statement, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the 'cause of the crash is under investigation, however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.' The Taliban meanwhile claimed responsibility on Twitter, writing that its fighters shot down a helicopter while it was 'flying at low altitude' over Zabul province."
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Putin Extends Lifeline to Ukraine: Reuters: "Russia agreed [to] a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and slashed the price of gas exports on Tuesday under a deal that keeps the cash-strapped country in Moscow's orbit but fuelled street protests in Kiev. Vladimir Putin's lifeline to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was a triumph for the Russian leader in a geopolitical battle with the Europe Union. But the deal saddles Russia with a heavy financial burden and he failed to lure Ukraine into a customs union with other ex-Soviet republics. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Kiev within hours of the agreement and accused Yanukovich of selling his country to the highest bidder after walking away from a trade deal with the EU. ... The United States said the deal would not address the concerns of the protesters, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Kiev should not be forced into allying itself with Moscow or the EU, to the exclusion of the other."
A New Healthcare.gov Czar: CBS News: "Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene is taking over the management of HealthCare.gov, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday. This Wednesday, DelBene will replace former corporate executive Jeff Zients, whom the administration enlisted in October to manage the overhaul of the dysfunctional Obamacare website. ... DelBene, who most recently served as president of the Microsoft Office Division, has agreed to serve in this role for at least the first half of next year, Sebelius said. He will help HHS see the website through its next phase, as the Obamacare markets start offering coverage in January and open enrollment continues. Specifically, DelBene will help focus on goals like increasing system stability and improving the user interface."
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