From the Wires

Penney's shrinks top-name brands

Reuters: After two years of declining sales, the department store chain is eliminating or trimming some high-profile brands introduced by former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson.

Mandela memorial interpreter defensive

CNN: The sign language interpreter widely ridiculed for his performance at the Nelson Mandela memorial stands by his work.

Pope Francis is TIME's Person of the Year

TIME: The leader of the Catholic Church was chosen as TIME's pick for Person of the Year 2013.

UK says cure for dementia possible by 2025

AP: British Prime Minister David Cameron says he hopes to kick-start an international effort to find a cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025.

Budget deal reached in Congress

BBC: A cross-party Congressional budget committee convened after an October government shutdown has reached an agreement on the federal budget.

Mars freshwater lake might have supported life

Washington Post: NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence of an ancient lake on Mars.

Uruguay to become first country to legalize marijuana

Reuters: Uruguay's Senate is expected to pass a law on Tuesday making the small South American nation the world's first to allow its citizens to grow, buy and smoke marijuana.

GM names first woman CEO

BBC: US car giant General Motors (GM) has promoted product development chief Mary Barra to the post of chief executive.

Government spies snooped in video games

CNN: U.S. and U.K. spies spent time undercover looking for terrorists in online video games like "World of Warcraft."

Tech firms seek surveillance reform

BBC: Leading global technology firms have called for "wide-scale changes" to US government surveillance.

Ice storm wreaks havoc nationwide

CNN: A rare icy weather pattern is walloping virtually the entire United States at once.

Federal Reserve could ease stimulus sooner rather than later

New York Times: News that the unemployment rate fell to a five-year low increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will ease stimulus efforts soon.

Measles cases rise in U.S.

USA Today: The U.S. is experiencing a spike in measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.