KGOU

Colin Dwyer

Peyton Manning is once more on top of the world. The Denver Broncos quarterback — a future Hall of Famer in what may be his final season — is once more a Super Bowl champion. The Broncos have beaten the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

The game fell well short of a quarterback duel, though. Again, it was the Denver defense that led the way, harassing Cam Newton, forcing turnover after turnover and even tacking on a score of their own.

It was a tale of two defenses — and two very divergent outcomes — in the NFL's conference championship games Sunday.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers stormed their way to a commanding victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Earlier in the day, in the AFC, the Denver Broncos narrowly survived a late-game push from the New England Patriots to emerge with a win.

The victories mean conference titles for the Panthers and the Broncos — and, more importantly, a trip to the Super Bowl for both teams.

With less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucus, Donald Trump remains characteristically confident about his chances. In fact, the Republican front-runner is so confident, he says his supporters would stay loyal even if he happened to commit a capital offense.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible."

When Sean Penn revealed in Rolling Stone that he'd secretly met with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán — deep in the jungle in October, while the drug kingpin was still a fugitive — the news came as a shock to many. But it wasn't long before the Oscar-winning actor's article drew criticism from observers — including Sen. Marco Rubio, who told ABC on Sunday, "I find it grotesque."

A self-styled militia in eastern Oregon grabbed national headlines Saturday when members broke into the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. There the armed group remains Sunday, occupying the federal building in protest of what it sees as government overreach on rangelands throughout the western United States.

It's been more than 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, but by a fluke of fate — and international copyright law — two stark reminders of the genocide may be entering the public domain in Europe on Friday. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto, sees its European copyright expire after Dec. 31; so too for Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, according to several French activists.

At a ceremony Thursday in Austin, Texas, three writers took home Kirkus Prizes: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hanya Yanagihara and Pam Muñoz Ryan. The literary award, now in its second year, awards $50,000 to the winner in each category — nonfiction, fiction and young readers' literature.

Shortlists for the National Book Awards went public Wednesday, halving the number of nominees to just 20 finalists. Among the books that have survived the second round of cuts, a few clear favorites are beginning to emerge — while others have been displaced by less familiar names.

The full lists of finalists can be found below.

Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET

Investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday. Alexievich is the first writer from Belarus to win the prize.

Alexievich won "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," according to the citation for the award.

Out of 1,032 books, only 18 remain.

Judges for the Kirkus Prize have whittled a vast list of eligible entrants down to just six finalists each in three categories: fiction, nonfiction and young readers' literature. The shortlists for the literary award, now in its second year, boast a healthy mix — between Americans and writers in translation, second-timers and old hands, headline-grabbers and small presses.

And that's not to mention the picture books.

It's not often that you'll get the National Book Awards confused for that other NBA, but at least in this respect they're the same: They don't go picking their winners lightly — or quickly. Since 2013, in a bid to raise its profile, the prestigious literary prize has been unveiling and then whittling its lists of nominees over multiple rounds, over multiple months.

The first of these rounds wrapped up Thursday, as the National Book Foundation rolled out its long list of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

In the three decades that the National Medals of Arts have been awarded, the list of recipients has grown long and luminous. Ray Bradbury, Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Frank Capra, Georgia O'Keeffe, even AT&T (and many, many more) — the artists and arts patrons who have earned the prize from the U.S. government are as hallowed in name as they are diverse in discipline.

This year, that list got a bit horrific.

Of the 85 works nominated for this year's Hugo Awards, one of science fiction's most prestigious prizes, a dozen walked away with wins. Among their number were hit series, household names and repeat recipients — but a day later, the winning entries getting the most attention have no names at all: In several of the categories, voters picked "No Award" instead of bestowing the prize on one of the nominees.

That strange result will be explained — as best it can be — in just a second.

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