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10 for today: Tuesday, Dec. 31

10 for today: Tuesday, Dec. 31

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Crystal triangles on the New Year's Eve ball are lit during a test atop the 1 Times Square building, Monday, Dec. 30, in New York. The iconic 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles will descend a 130-foot pole to mark the stroke of midnight during the annual Times Square celebration. Photo: Associated Press/John Minchillo

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. OFFICIALS INSIST OLYMPIC GAMES WILL BE SAFE

They say that while Sochi is a high-profile terror target, it will also be one of the best-protected venues in the world come February.

2. HOW AMERICANS ARE FEELING ABOUT THE YEAR AHEAD

About half of Americans expect 2014 to be better than 2013, but few people feel the U.S. has found the right path, according to an AP-Gfk poll.

3. FAMILY VOWS TO SUE TO KEEP DAUGHTER ON LIFE SUPPORT

A 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy in California will remain on a breathing machine as legal battles continue.

4. WHY MICHAEL SCHUMACHER’S SKI ACCIDENT SEEMED SO FREAKISH

The auto racing legend “gave the image of someone indestructible, powerful,” fellow F1 star Alain Prost says. “It’s a banal accident compared to what he’s done in the past.”

5. IN ISRAEL, ANGER OVER FREEING OF PALESTINIANS

The release of more than two dozen inmates is part of a U.S.-brokered package to restart Mideast peace talks. ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

6. WHO’S REPLACING NYC MAYOR AT THE TIMES SQUARE BALL DROP

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a city native, will lead the final 60-second countdown to 2014, while Michael Bloomberg spends time with family and friends.

7. RESIDENTS NEAR FIERY NORTH DAKOTA DERAILMENT URGED TO EVACUATE

Authorities say a shift in weather could increase the risk of potential health hazards for people living near the accident site.

8. TOPS IN TECH TOUGHER TO TELL

The AP’s Anick Jesdanun says competition has gotten so intense that one brand rarely stands out anymore in any tech product category.

9. WORDS BETTER LEFT UNSAID

“Selfie” and “twerk” top a Michigan university’s annual list of annoying words, with “Mr. Mom” and “hashtag” also strong contenders.

10. NFL COACHING CAROUSEL SPINS

With the regular season barely concluded, five head coaches are already unemployed.

Recent Headlines

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Oakland’s Johnson designated for assignment

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Oakland Athletics pitcher Jim Johnson (45) is relieved by manager Bob Melvin, rear, during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Indians won 6-4. Johnson was the losing pitcher. In front is Athletics catcher Derek Norris.

Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, was 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA in 38 games with the A's.

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Two Texas football players charged with sex assault

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Texas head coach Charlie Strong listens to a question from a reporter during the Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media days in Dallas, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Spokeswoman Cindy Posey says the players charged Thursday are wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander. Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography.

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Cavaliers sign rookie Andrew Wiggins

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Top NBA draft prospect Andrew Wiggins of Kansas prepares for an interview during the NBA draft lottery in New York, Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

The Cavaliers have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, a contract that prevents him from being traded for 30 days.

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Knoblauch charged with assaulting ex-wife

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Minnesota Twins' Chuck Knoblauch takes a hard swing at a pitch by Cleveland Indians pitcher Chad Ogea, and falls down as he misses the ball in the second inning in Minneapolis, Saturday, July 13, 1996.

Knoblauch has been released on $10,000 bond. His first court date is set for July 30

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Ohio State University fires marching band director

osu

OSU has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.