As the Olympic Games get closer, athletes like figure skater Jeremy Abbott are focusing on making Team USA. With only two slots on the U.S. men's figure skating team, the competition is tough. But the three-time U.S. champion — who has yet to deliver on the world stage — wants 2014 to be the year he takes a medal in Sochi, Russia.
Abbott, 28, has been in ice skates since he was 2 years old. He's already been to one Olympics, placing ninth at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Credit Paul White / AP
Gerardo Yllera, left, and Laura Nadal play for money in the streets of Madrid. Yllera and Nadal, who form the Potato Omelette Band, are among more than 300 street musicians who were forced last month to audition for the privilege of holding out a hat in the streets of Madrid. A viral video of their audition — complete with lyrics criticizing the new policy — has made them somewhat famous.
On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.
And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.
The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.
New Year's Day marked the halfway point to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for coverage this year.
And after a dismal start, things seem to be going a lot better on the HealthCare.gov website. Federal officials say more than 1 million people enrolled in coverage by the Christmas Eve deadline for coverage that began January 1.
Hal Faulkner (left), 79, receives his new papers from two Marines after having his military status changed to "honorable discharge" at a recent ceremony. Faulkner was kicked out of the Marine Corps in 1956 for being gay.
Hal Faulkner is 79 years old and he's already lived months longer than his doctors predicted.
"I don't know what to say, it's just incredible that I'm still here," Faulkner says in a halting voice made gruff by age and cancer.
Faulkner joined the Marines in 1953, and served in the Philippines. In 1956, he got kicked out with an "undesirable discharge" for being gay. His military papers said "homosexual" on them, quite an obstacle in the 1950s.
Still, Faulkner moved on, and had a successful career in sales.
"Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck."
That message, signed "3301," appeared on the underground message board known as 4chan two years ago. It was mysterious, cryptic and sparked a global Internet mystery that has yet to be answered to this day.