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Utah's surprise decision to legalize same-sex marriage caps a landmark year for gay rights. The last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures, to Congress, to the Supreme Court.

An experimental technique called optogenetics is starting to change the way researchers look at the brain. The tool allows them to switch entire brain circuits on and off using light, and may help figure out what's going wrong in brain ailments from epilepsy to depression.

The good news is that air travel to and from Venezuela is dirt cheap due to the difference between the official cost of tickets and the black-market currency rate. The bad news is that many flights are booked up months in advance.

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

Listen to a clip. We can almost guarantee it will raise a smile. I Want To Hold Your Hand is the song that kicked off Beatlemania in the U.S.

Earlier this month, China imposed a ban on shellfish imports from most of the U.S. West Coast after finding two bad clams. The move is hitting Washington state particularly hard. State agencies estimate businesses there are losing as much as $600,000 a week.

In 1965, a majority of the world survived on less than 2,000 calories a day per person. Now, 61 percent of people worldwide have access to 2,500 or more calories each day.

Momentum to pass tighter gun laws surged after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., a year ago. But a provision to expand background checks failed in the Senate. In that loss, gun control activists say they learned some important lessons from those who lobbied against them.

A snow and ice storm contributed to the deaths of 14 people and knocked out power from Michigan to Maine and into Canada. One utility is calling it the worst Christmas week outage in its history. Repairs are underway as more snow is forecast for the affected areas.

A new California law taking effect in 2014 will make it easier for abuse survivors to break their leases. Victims will no longer need to get a court order or police report and instead, can give landlords only a simple form as proof they have been abused.

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