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Are 'mass casualty attacks against the West' coming?

French intervention police take up position near the scene of a hostage taking at a kosher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris, January 9, 2015 (Credit: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal)Britain's security chief is warning that al Qaeda is planning "mass casualty attacks against the West."  Andrew Parker states: "My sharpest concern as director-general of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capacities to address it."  More people than ever before share his concern today.

Last night, French officials mobilized 10,000 additional troops to boost security in their country.  In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, an estimated 3.7 million people (including 40 world leaders) took to the streets to show solidarity with the victims.  The Obama administration has announced that it will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism next month.  German leaders are asking if Muslims want to or are capable of integrating into their society.  Many Jews in France are worried for their safety.

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The Bachelor's 'most dramatic season' continues tonight

'The Bachelor Chris Soules poses for a publicity photo season 19 of ABC's The Bachelor (Credit: ABC)ABC's The Bachelor premiered in 2002.  This seasons's second episode airs tonight.  The current Bachelor, a farmer named Chris Soules (dubbed Prince Farming) will presumably choose one of 30 contestants to be his wife.  The show sparked controversy when one of the women gave Soules a note when they first met promising that he could come to her for a free hug.  She said, "To me what a wife is, is a safe haven.  I want to be the one you come give a hug to."  Some think she was sincere; others have accused her of disingenuous manipulation.

The story brings to mind the "tranquility chair," built in the shape of a larger-than-life fabric doll with long arms that wrap around a user.  A spokesman for the manufacturer explains: "It makes you feel safe."  The chair is priced at $419.

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Jimmy Fallon missed a chance to date Nicole Kidman

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman on The Tonight Show share two very different embarrassing memories of the afternoon they first met, January 6, 2015 (Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon via Youtube) Jimmy Fallon's interview with Nicole Kidman has gone viral.  Here's why: during their conversation, the late night comedian learned that he had a chance to date the famous actress.  Years ago, a friend called him to say that Nicole wanted to meet him.  Jimmy thought she was interested in discussing a film project.  So he met her at his apartment while wearing a baseball cap and casual clothes; he had only cheese and crackers to eat, played video games and didn't talk much.

During their now-viral interview, she set the record straight: she was single at the time and had been interested in dating him.  He had been so unresponsive that she thought, "He has no interest.  This is so embarrassing.  No chemistry.  Maybe he's gay."  He had no clue until the moment she told her side of the story.  The video recording their very awkward conversation now has more than seven million views.

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Hope in a world of terrorism

Firefighters carry a victim on a stretcher at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, Paris, France, January 7, 2015 (Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) Terrorists have struck again.  Gunmen opened fire yesterday morning at the office of a Paris-based newspaper in what France's president has called a "terrorist operation."  We are shocked, and yet there are elements of this attack that should not surprise us.  (For more, see Nick Pitts's article, Dark day in Paris: where is the light?.)  Tragically, such attacks have become more commonplace than ever before, raising fear to unprecedented levels.

According to surveys, 71 percent of Americans suspect there could soon be a major terrorist attack in the U.S.; 57 percent of us worry about being killed in a mass shooting.  Terrorism is not our only fear: 69 percent of us worry that cybercriminals will steal our credit card information.  Sixty percent of Americans believe our country is in a "state of decline."

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'My Husband's Not Gay' sparks major protest

'My Husband's Not Gay' show follows married Utah Mormon men who are attracted to the same sex despite being married to women (Credit: TLC via Youtube) Jeff, Pret and Curtis are men who say they are attracted to men but are not gay.  In fact, all three are married to women; all have children.  They are Mormons, and believe that a gay lifestyle is precluded by their faith.

"My Husband's Not Gay," the TLC show that tells their story, airs this Sunday.  The show has sparked major protests.  One petition drive seeking the show's cancellation has garnered more than 80,000 signatures and wants TLC "to stop telling America that LGBT people should lie to themselves and to their faith communities about who they are and who they love."  Another critic calls the show's premise "false and dangerous."

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