-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about today:
1. U.S. TO SEND MISSILES, TROOPS TO TURKEY
The Pentagon says it will send Patriot air defense missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack.
2. KERRY NOW FRONT-RUNNER FOR TOP DIPLOMATIC POST
The Democratic senator vaults to the head of Obama's short list of secretary of state candidates after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice suddenly withdrew from consideration.
3. NEGOTIATIONS CENTER ON MORE MODEST "CLIFF" DEAL
The White House and congressional negotiators eye a deal to extend current tax rates for most Americans, raise rates for top earners but leave other, vexing issues for the new year.
4. RUSSIA ROLLS BACK ASSESSMENT ON SYRIA
A day after a senior Russian official was widely quoted as saying Assad was losing control, Russia's Foreign Ministry insists Moscow's stance on the crisis hasn't shifted.
5. HOW AMERICANS VIEW CLIMATE CHANGE
About 4 out of 5 now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.
6. JENNI RIVERA'S PLANE UNDER INVESTIGATION
The company that owns a luxury jet that crashed and killed the Mexican pop superstar had two planes seized by federal drug enforcement agents this year.
7. KIM RISES IN NORTH KOREA
A gamble by North Korea's young leader pays off, at least in the short term, projecting Kim Jong Un to his people as powerful, capable and determined.
8. THIS HOOPSTER CREATES A STIR, BUT NOT HOW YOU MIGHT THINK
Gabrielle Ludwig, 50, became the first transsexual to play intercollegiate basketball as both a man and a woman when she suited up for the Lady Saints at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif.
9. THIS FANTASY BECOMES A REALITY
A Marquette University student gets his wish and completes course work centered on the writings of "The Hobbit" author J.R.R. Tolkien.
10. BENGALS IMPROVE PLAYOFF POSITIONING
Quarterback Andy Dalton accounts for two touchdowns and Cincinnati's defense forces five turnovers in a 34-13 win over Philadelphia to slide into last wild-card spot.