The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories


1. NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his production team have been freed after spending five days in captivity in Syria. While the identities of the kidnappers and their motives are unknown, it appears that they were loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Watch his account of the ordeal here.

2. Cecilia Gimenez, the artist behind that infamous “Beast Jesus” restoration that broke the Internet earlier this year, has sold one of her original oil paintings on eBay for $1,400. [via ArtsBeat]

3. If you use Instagram, then you definitely want to check out the new rules announced in its latest “Terms of Use,” which go into effect January 16. Namely: “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” [via Gawker]

4. Dave Grohl says not to believe the rumors, kids: there won’t be a Nirvana reunion tour. [via Page Six]

5. Patti Smith tells Billboard that her followup to Just Kids, while set in a similar time period, will focus more on music and family life than her first book did, as well her relationship with her late husband, Fred Smith. Now if she would just give us a publication date!