South Carolina senator to resign in January

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Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina plans to resign from the Senate in January to work for the Heritage Foundation as its president, the Washington Post reported.

The Washington Post says that the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, needs newer, stronger leadership.

The New York Times reported that this opportunity provides DeMint a platform to push the Republican Party even farther to the political right.

"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight, " DeMint said, according to the New York Times.

Twin cities man advances to finale of "The Voice"

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Nicholas David Mrozinski advanced to the finale Tuesday night on NBC's "The Voice," a singing contest that airs during the week, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune reported that Melanie Martinez and Amanda Brown, Mrozinski's teammates and competitors, were not voted into the finale and left the show Tuesday night.

"It has been the experience of a lifetime," Mrozinski said on the show., according to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune said that Mrozinski will be at the Mall of America on Thursday, with cameras following him, for a public reception. It will be his first trip home since October, when the live episodes began.

Nine dead after shelling hits school in Syria

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At least nine people were killed Tuesday after shelling from an attack hit a school just outside Damascus, Syria, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Batiha School, which is located in a refugee camp northeast of Damascus was hit by shelling of mortar fire, the Los Angeles Times said.

According to the New York Times, the Syrian government says that the rebel fighters are the cause of the attack.

The New York Times reported that an activist in Damascus said it is still unclear which side of the conflict is to blame. That activist told the New York Times that the area was usually very calm.

Suspect of Cold Springs police officer shooting released

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The man who was suspected of killing a Cold Springs police officer has been released from custody today, the Star Tribune reported.

The Star Tribune said that Ryan Michael Larson has been released pending further investigation. Authorities say that more evidence is needed.

The Pioneer Press reported that Larson allegedly shot Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker below his apartment Thursday night. Larson claims he was sleeping during this time.

Officials say that, although Larson has been released, the investigation is still active and they will still pursue their leads "exhaustively," the Pioneer Press reported.

Be careful what you 'like' on Facebook

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The rise in popularity of social media is prompting governments worldwide to pay more attention to what their citizens are posting.

The New York Times reported in November that a medical student in India was arrested and charged with engaging in offensive and hateful speech on her Facebook page. She posted a status disagreeing with the seemingly forced mourning of a political party leader.

Slate reported that the United States government is no exception. As reported in an article in Slate, the FBI used posts and "likes" on Facebook to link a group of California men to al-Qaeda.

Obama and Romney's lunch date

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The New York Times reported that Former Gov. Mitt Romney visited the White House for lunch Thursday, his first encounter with President Obama since the election.

The Washington Post reported that no press were allowed at the lunch, nor did either man talk to the media after the event.

The New York Times said that no aides were at the lunch, either. It was a one-on-one meal.

"Each man wanted to have a private conversation," said White House press secretary Jay Carney to the Washington Post. "They did not want to turn it into a press event."

The Washington Post reported that the lunch is a tradition that President Obama felt was important to continue. Carney said it was a symbolic gesture illustrating a history of peaceful transfers of power.

Little Falls teens linked to other break-in

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The Star Tribune reported that the two Little Falls teenagers who were murdered on Thanksgiving after breaking into the home of Byron Smith were connected to at least one other burglary in the area, authorities said Wednesday.

Morrison County police found prescription drugs inside the car that Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kiefer, 18, were driving the day they broke into Smith's home, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Pioneer Press also said that police confronted Brady Nov. 21, the night before he was killed, after receiving reports of a car suspiciously parked. Brady said that he and Kiefer had been driving around and ran out of gas.

The car was parked near the house of Richard Johnson, a retired English teacher, whose home was also burglarized, the Star Tribune reported. Prescription pills were among the stolen items.

Little Falls man charged with two counts of murder

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The 64-year-old man who shot and killed two teenagers in Little Falls was charged with two counts of second-degree murder Monday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Byron David Smith allegedly shot Nicholas Brady, 17, and his cousin, Halie Kifer, 18, after he found them in his basement on Thursday, according to the Star Tribune. Smith shot the teenagers multiple times to wound them, and told authorities he "finished" them with shots to the head, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Star Tribune reported that Smith waited a whole day to contact authorities, leaving the teenagers in his basement, so as not to "trouble [them] on a holiday."

It is legal to use deadly force to prevent a crime from happening in their homes. Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said that Smith did not use "reasonable force" to stop the teenagers from entering his home, the Pioneer Press reported.

Egyptian president backtracks his overreaching decree

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Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi is working to calm his nation following violent unrest due to a decree that would extend his powers, the BBC reported.

The New York Times reported that a spokesman for Mursi went back on the attempt to assert authority even beyond the courts, seemingly denying any such implications.

Mursi's allies in the Muslim Brotherhood also cancelled plans to rally for his support in an effort to quell the angered nation, the New York Times said.

The BBC reported that the presidential spokesman reassured the Supreme Judicial Council that the president's decree of power would only apply to "sovereign matters." The opposition still plans to rally Tuesday. Mona Amer, a spokesman for the opposition, told Reuters that they asked for a cancellation of the decree, not a compromise.

Energy drinks under scrutiny after FDA released findings

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The Food and Drug Administration released fatality and injury findings on Thursday related to the use of popular energy drinks, the New York Times reported.

The filings included references to Rockstar Energy, 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy drinks, according to the New York Times.

The Washington Post said that the FDA has received 92 reports over the course of four years that included hospitalizations and even death after consumption of the 5-Hour Energy drink. Monster Energy may have also played a part in five deaths and one heart attack.

The New York Times reported that a filing with the FDA does not confirm that the product caused the illness or death, however.

The Washington Post reported that the FDA does not individually regulate caffeinated beverages.