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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Badly burned girl wants Christmas cards, 50 best companies to work for & more

It's Wednesday, but we'll spare you the "hump day" jokes. Instead, here's a quick and clever take on the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. A Christmas wish

An 8-year-old's Christmas wish has gone viral after she requested cards to hang on her card tree. The girl's entire family was killed in an arson fire two years ago, and she suffered severe burns on 75 percent of her body. Her aunt put out a call for cards hoping it would brighten the girl's holiday season, but it was quickly picked up by the media and now thousands of people from all over the world are sending their holiday cheer. You can mail a card to the girl, whose name is Safyre, at: P.O. Box 6126, Schenectady, New York, 12306. — New York Daily News

More: Donald Trump insults 11 celebs with downright mean tweets

2. Troubling allegations

Chicago police are the subject of more troubling allegations, this time for killing an unarmed teen named Cedrick LaMont Chapman two years ago. Police ruled the killing justified, but the original investigator has come forward and said he was fired for stating otherwise in his report. He claims videos from four cameras back up his theory that the killing was unjust. Today, a federal judge will decide if those videos should be released to the public. If the allegations are true, things are looking really bad for Chicago. — CNN

3. Disgusting

Police in Philadelphia are investigating a severed pig's head that was thrown on the sidewalk outside a mosque right before morning prayer. Pigs are unclean, according to Islam, so the act was one of desecration. The mayor was quick to condemn the incident and investigators are looking for the owners of a red pickup truck shown on surveillance cameras. Unfortunately, incidents like this are becoming more common as we allow hateful rhetoric to divide us. — USA Today

More: United flight attendant denies Muslim woman soda, feared weapon

4. Pay to play

Your days of unlimited free music on Spotify may be numbered. The streaming service reportedly might make certain music available to paid subscribers only. The move comes after a very public quarrel with Taylor Swift over sharing artists' music without properly compensating them. Swift pulled all of her music from the service, and then Adele followed suit by not offering her new album to streaming services at all. If fans want to stream the most in-demand artists, it looks like they're going to have to kick it old school and actually pay for it. — The Wall Street Journal

5. Mona Lisa, if that's even her real name

A French scientist named Pascal Cotte thinks he might have found the secret behind Mona Lisa's smile, and he means that literally. In fact, he claims there's a whole other painting underneath her. He looked at the famous painting using reflective light technology and allegedly found the image of another female figure sitting for a portrait. He believes the two women are entirely different and that the one he saw may be the original Mona Lisa. Da Vinci is obviously not around to comment on the discovery, but something tells us he'd be like, "Dude, I messed up and painted over it. Stop overanalyzing everything." — Refinery29

More: Naming Picasso: Artistic baby names

6. You're hired

Glassdoor has released their annual list of the 50 best places to work. Number one on the list? Airbnb, surprisingly. Also included on the list are Nike, Chevron, Apple and Delta. SolarCity, a leader in clean energy services, comes in last, but even being last on a list like that still means you're pretty great. The list was compiled based on employee ratings across North America and Europe. If you're in the market for a dream job, the list might be a good place to start your search. — Glassdoor

7. Hit the road, Jack Donald

Donald Trump really stepped in it this time with his disgusting comments about blocking Muslims from entering the country. J.K. Rowling tweeted that he's worse than Voldemort; House Speaker Paul Ryan said his comments were un-American; and the White House Press Secretary said his ideas disqualify him from the presidency. As for Trump, he maintains that he has no regrets about what he said and was "just doing the right thing." Shame on him, and shame on all of us if we allow these shenanigans to continue. — Newsweek

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