Northeast Braces For Storm; Newspapers Seek Edward Snowden Clemency; Blast Rips Hezbollah Stronghold: U.s. And World News Links

( NBC News ) The Supreme Court granted a number of religious groups clearance to not provide birth control in employee healthcare packages on Wednesday. ( Headlines and Global News ) Citing a new state law allowing illegal immigrants to get their law licenses, the California Supreme Court today paved the way for a Chico man to fulfill his dream of becoming an attorney despite his not being a U.S. citizen. ( San Jose Mercury News ) A woman from the Chicago suburbs got an unexpected surprise for Christmas: A present from the Obama family to Sasha and Malia's godmother. ( Politico ) International news: A blast ripped through the stronghold of the Iranian-backed militant Hezbollah group in Beirut, the latest attack on the group since it acknowledged joining the conflict in neighboring Syria. ( Bloomberg News ) Radical Sunni militants aligned with Al Qaeda threatened today to seize control of Falluja and Ramadi, two of the most important cities in Iraq. ( New York Times ) The U.S. will help Israel and the Palestinians establish "fixed, defined parameters" for a permanent peace deal, Secretary of State John F. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit

Dubai 2014 firework display breaks world record: Guinness

Dubai shattered the world record for the largest ever pyrotechnic display on New Year's Eve with a show involving more than half a million fireworks, Guinness World Records said Wednesday. "Ten months in planning, over 500,000 fireworks were used during the display which lasted around six minutes, with Guinness World Records adjudicators on hand to confirm that a new record had been set," the Guinness website said. The display spanned 94 kilometres (58.4 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, Guinness said. Enough fireworks were launched in the first minute of the display to break the previous record, set by Kuwait in 2011 with an hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks. The main displays took place at Burj Khalifa and the luxurious Atlantis hotel located in Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands. US firm Fireworks by Grucci designed the display, Guinness said, using 100 computers and 200 technicians to synchronise the pyrotechnics at a reported cost of around $6 million (4.3 million euros). Dubai boasts the world's tallest tower, its largest man-made island and one of the world's busiest airports. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit

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