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Trump releases explosive first ad & more big news

Leigh Anderson is the author of The Games Bible: The Rules, The Gear, The Strategies. She has written for Vox, ScaryMommy, Popular Science, Women's Health, and Newsweek.com.

Rapid Reads: 6 Big stories of the day

It's Monday, but don't despair. Grab a cup of coffee and wake up gently with these news headlines.

1. Double standard

An unknown number of heavily armed gunmen have seized control of a federal building near Burns, Oregon, in protest of federal land-use laws. The wildlife refuge center was unoccupied and closed for the winter. The Internet immediately noted the difference in language between similar, though unarmed, protests by liberals and people of color — particularly that the media was calling the group a "militia staging a peaceful protest" and not "domestic terrorists." Hashtags #YallQaeda and #YeeHawd quickly began trending. My favorite? #VanillaISIS. — CNN

2. Diplomacy

Terrorists are using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool, and Donald Trump doesn't care. After al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, made a video that uses a clip of Trump calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, Trump responded by shrugging. He told CBS's Face the Nation: “I have to say what I have to say.” A month ago Hillary Clinton said Trump is ISIS's best recruiter, and Trump now has doubled down on calling her a liar, pointing out that it is al-Shabaab, not ISIS, who made the video. OK, we feel safer now. — Slate

3. Tweet storm

Bill Cosby made a public statement for the first time since he was arrested for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, in 2004. On New Year's Eve, Cosby tweeted, "Friends and Fans, thank you." Reactions were swift, ranging from "You kidding, man?" to "Have a good 2016, enjoy jail!" Cosby defenders also surfaced, calling the dozens of women who have claimed to be assaulted by Cosby "gold-digging blood suckers." Cosby faces up to 10 years in jail. — Yahoo

4. Ousted

Saudi Arabia is cutting ties with Iran after that country strongly protested the execution of a Shiite cleric. Iranian diplomats have 48 hours to leave the kingdom. This marks an alarming low in Middle East relations, and analysts fear an escalation in tensions in the region. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly urged Iran not to retaliate. Fingers crossed. — The New York Times

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5. And... GO

Donald Trump has released his first TV ad of the primary season, and it's pretty much what you'd expect: A call for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and a promise to "cut the head" off ISIS and take their oil to boot. The ad will air in Iowa and New Hampshire tomorrow; Trump plans to spend $2 million a week on ads reiterating his promise to "make America great again." Perhaps al-Shabaab will save money on making their own videos and just re-circulate Trump's campaign ads. — NBC News

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6. Murder

In what is shaping up to be a very terrorist/video-oriented news day, ISIS has released a video of a masked, English-speaking man who appears to murder five alleged British spies. The unknown man, who speaks English with a British accent, addresses Prime Minister David Cameron and accuses him of being a "slave to the White House." A six- or seven-year-old child, also speaking with a British accent, promises to kill the "non-believers." The video comes on the heels of ISIS losing control of Ramadi; ISIS may be hoping to divert attention from their recent military losses. — The Washington Post

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