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An exterior view of the Sony Pictures Studios building is seen in Culver City, Calif., Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving the satirical film, "The Interview," about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. He pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing executive emails.


Palestinian protesters take cover from tear gas thrown by Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, north of Ramallah on December 19, 2014Israeli aircraft hit Gaza on Saturday for the first time since an August truce ended a 50-day war after a rocket hit the Jewish state, witnesses and the army said. A Palestinian health ministry spokesman in the Gaza Strip said there were no casualties in the air strike, which came just hours after the rocket hit an open field in southern Israel on Friday without causing casualties or damage. It was the third time a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave struck within Israel since the August 26 truce between Israel and Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the territory's de facto rulers. The Israeli army said the air strike in the southern Gaza Strip had "targeted a Hamas terror infrastructure site".


Youths sing and play music as they hang out in a park in Havana, Cuba, late Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. For a generation that grew up believing the best way to pursue their dreams was to leave the island, the announcement this week that Cuba will open relations with the U.S. is prompting many to reevaluate their futures. Also, Cuban-Americans are considering what the changes will mean for their lives, whether they are significant enough to present a once far-fetched chance for them to return. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)HAVANA (AP) — Daniela Martinez long figured that someday she would leave the struggles of daily life in Cuba and join her uncle in the United States, but after the events of the last few days, the 18-year-old medical student thinks exile may not be her only choice.


Protesters in New York on May 23, 2014 demand the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centerFour Afghans held for more than a decade at Guantanamo Bay have been sent home, the Pentagon said Saturday, edging President Barack Obama closer towards his goal of closing the controversial US military jail. The Department of Defense said the men -- Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani, and Mohammed Zahir -- had been moved from the prison after a comprehensive review of their case. "As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force," a Pentagon statement said. The releases come hard on the heels of the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to start new lives in Uruguay earlier this month.


A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter stands behind sandbags at a checkpoint in Zummar city in the northern Iraqi governorate of Nineveh, on December 18, 2014Kurdish peshmerga forces delivered aid on Mount Sinjar and expanded a major offensive against jihadist-held areas in northwestern Iraq on Saturday after breaking a months-old siege. The peshmerga closed in on Sinjar town south of the mountain and Tal Afar to its east. If successful, the move would significantly alter the map of the Islamic State (IS) group's self-declared cross-border "caliphate" and isolate its Mosul hub. The autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region's peshmerga troops reached the flanks of Mount Sinjar with food and other aid three days after launching a vast operation in the region backed by US-led coalition air strikes.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:04:20 -0500
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The pope has named French Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran to the role of camerlengo, or chamberlain, who takes over the day-to-day running of the Holy See as soon as a papacy ends.
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian security forces have detained nearly 10,000 suspected militants, rioters and others wanted in violent attacks over the past 12 months in a crackdown a senior interior ministry official said Saturday targets those attempting to curtail Egypt's development.
  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:55:35 -0500

Cincinnati's coach Mick Cronin directs players against San Diego State in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Cincinnati Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin has an aneurysm and will be sidelined indefinitely while doctors decide how to treat it.


Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters TV at his home in TripoliBy Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - No evidence has emerged that casts doubt on the conviction of a late Libyan intelligence officer for the Lockerbie airline bombing 26 years ago, says Scotland's top prosecutor. However, efforts to track down others behind the deadly attack have been hampered by the violence that has rocked Libya for months, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland will tell a memorial service on Sunday, according to an advance copy of his speech. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was the only person found guilty over the Dec. 21, 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people were ...


A policeman communicates with a demonstrator by a cordoned off street, during a protest against Spanish Citizens Security Law in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Thousands of people have gathered in several Spanish cities to protest against a new law that sets hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and holding demonstrations outside parliament buildings or strategic installations. Also can be fined protesters who prevent authorities from carrying out evictions, insulting a police officer and disseminating photographs of police officers that endanger them or police operations. The legislation also allows for the summary expulsion of migrants entering the country's North African enclaves illegally. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)MADRID (AP) — Thousands of people protested in Spanish cities on Saturday against a proposed law that would set hefty fines for offenses such as burning the national flag and demonstrating outside parliament buildings or strategic installations.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:36:39 -0500

This Sept. 29, 2010 photo shows a traffic jam in Algiers, Algeria. With oil prices at their lowest in five years, North Africa’s hydrocarbon giant Algeria is feeling the pinch and may have to re-examine generous and massive public spending to confront social unrest. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — With oil prices at their lowest in five years and showing few signs of hitting bottom, Algeria is feeling the pinch.


The frontier road parallels the security fence leading to the Northeast gate at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval BaseBy Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home, the Pentagon said on Saturday, the latest step in a gradual push by the Obama administration to close the jail. The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009. With the repatriation of the four Afghans, Guantanamo’s detainee population has been whittled down to 132. ...


Antonio Guerrero, left, and Ramon Labanino, two of the three Cubans released under a prisoners swap agreement with the U.S. on Wednesday, sing during a private celebration in Havana, Cuba, late Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Guerrero, Labanino, and a third man Gerardo Hernandez, flew back to their homeland in a quiet exchange of imprisoned spies, including the celebratory release of American Alan Gross, a government contract worker who had been held in Cuba for five years. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)HAVANA (AP) — Members of the Cuban parliament gave a standing ovation Saturday to three men convicted of spying in the United States who were released as part of a historic agreement to restore relations between the two long-hostile countries.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:50:50 -0500

** FILE ** In this Oct. 10, 2007 file photo, reviewed by the U.S. Military, an American flag flies behind the barbed and razor-wire at the Camp Delta detention facility, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. The Pentagon said Saturday that four Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been returned to their home country in what U.S. officials are citing as a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Saturday that four Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been returned to their home country in what U.S. officials are citing as a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.


BOSTON (AP) — The Kennedy Presidential Library wants to remind the world that not even the threat of thermonuclear conflict can stop Santa Claus from making his rounds.

In this Dec. 17, 2014 pool photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington to announce the U.S. will end its outdated approach to Cuba that has failed to advance U.S. interests. Frequently criticized as cautious on foreign policy, President Barack Obama’s secret negotiations to overhaul U.S. policy toward Cuba suggest he is willing to make risky moves, if he can keep tight control of the mission and rely on a handful of close aides to carry it out . (AP Photo/Doug Mills, Pool)TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — For decades, the politics of Cuba in Florida were simple: anything less than a hard line stance against Fidel Castro was a sure way to lose a race for office.


Workers remove a poster for "The Interview" from a billboard in Hollywood, California, December 18, 2014North Korea called Saturday for a joint investigation with the US into a crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures, denouncing Washington's "slandering" after President Barack Obama warned Pyongyang of retaliation. The US blames the isolated state for the hacking which prompted the cancellation of the Christmas Day release of "The Interview", a madcap romp about a CIA plot to kill leader Kim Jong-Un which infuriated North Korea. "As the United States is spreading groundless allegations and slandering us, we propose a joint investigation with it into this incident," a foreign ministry spokesman in Pyongyang said. "Without resorting to such tortures as were used by the US CIA, we have means to prove that this incident has nothing to do with us," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).


Cuba's President Castro speaks with his first vice-president Diaz Canel during a session of the National Assembly in HavanaHAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday demanded that the United States respect Cuba's communist rule as the two countries work toward normalizing diplomatic ties. U.S. President Barack Obama this week reset Washington's Cold War-era policy on Cuba and the two countries swapped prisoners in a historic deal after 18 months of secret talks. U.S. officials will visit Havana in January to start talks on normalization, and Obama has said his government will push Cuba on issues of human and political rights as they negotiate over the coming months. ...


FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby performs at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla. Cosby has has remained silent, and that may be his best strategy. With police urging any possible sex abuse victims to come forward, two lawsuits pending and more than 15 women making accusations stretching back years, Cosby has little to gain by speaking publicly. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Cosby has the right to remain silent — and that may be his best strategy.


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A Sierra Leone military official says the country is withdrawing from the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia after being blocked from rotating its soldiers over concerns about the spread of Ebola.
  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:33:24 -0500

FILE - An exterior of the Sony Pictures Plaza building is seen in Culver City, Calif., Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. While Sony Pictures is technically part of the Sony empire, it has long been run as an entirely separate U.S. company. So far, the Japanese media seems to view the hack as an American problem rather than a domestic one. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.


People pose with laptops in front of projection of binary code and CIA emblem in this picture illustration taken in ZenicaWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A panel investigating the CIA's search of a computer network used by U.S. Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times. The review panel is looking into the search by agency officials of staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee who were investigating the CIA's use of torture in interrogations of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. ...


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:01:45 -0500
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a missile with a man-portable air-defense system during exercices near the city of Shchastya, north of Lugansk, on December 1, 2014Russia accused the West on Saturday of stoking unrest in Ukraine by adopting anti-Kremlin sanctions that further erode the prospect of peace talks to end the separatist war. The sudden glimmer of hope that the end of Europe's worst violence since the 1990s Balkans conflicts was approaching has seen Western allies step up their pressure on Russia, already reeling from its worst economic crisis of Vladimir Putin's 15-year rule. The United States matched a similar measure by the European Union by slapping a trade ban on Kremlin-controlled Crimea. Canada went a step further by also targeting Russia's vital oil and gas industry.


Russian President Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in MoscowBy Vladimir Soldatkin MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will not be intimidated over its actions in Ukraine and Crimea, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday as his foreign ministry warned that it was preparing to retaliate against fresh Western sanctions. Both the European Union and United States adopted tighter restrictions on investments in Crimea this week, while Canada rachetted up its own sanctions directed at Moscow. ...


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 10:49:54 -0500

Madonna she decided to put out her new songs immediately after in-studio versions of her tracks dripped onto the InternetMadonna on Saturday suddenly released six new songs months ahead of schedule, upset that early versions had leaked online. The pop icon's new songs, available immediately for sale and streaming online, will be part of her first album in three years, "Rebel Heart," which comes out in March. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift," Madonna said in a statement. The new songs include "Living for Love," which is driven by a house beat that harks back to some of Madonna's earlier anthems.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 10:48:40 -0500

Cowboys on the Muleshoe Ranch in Borden County work to get some cattle into a truck on Dec. 3, 2014. The ranch and others across the state suffered through the state's driest year ever in 2011, forcing some to sell off many if not all of their animals or sending their cattle to other states to graze. Many ranchers have since worked to diversify their incomes with other enterprises including leasing water and hunting acres for deer, antelope and quail. (AP Photo/Betsy Blaney)GAIL, Texas (AP) — The Muleshoe Ranch's profits were chopped in half when the drought withered pastures, dried up stock tanks and forced the owner to move most of his cattle out of state.


In this Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 photo, thousands of immigrants arrive early to request information at the Immigration Relief Education forum organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, CHIRLA, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event looks to educate immigrants on President Obama’s Executive Action announcement expected to prevent the deportation of more than 4 million immigrant families. Applicants must prove they were in the country five years, not an easy task for some living in the shadows. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)SAN DIEGO (AP) — Electricity bills. Speeding tickets. Dentist records. Money order receipts.


The remains of a car which was damaged in an explosion early Saturday morning Dec. 20, 2014 in Malmo Sweden. Another minor bomb wrecked an entrance to a house in the same neighborhood of Rosengard, Malmo. No one was injured by the explosions. (AP photo/TT News Agency, Stig-Ake Jonsson) SWEDEN OUTCOPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish police say two car bombs have shattered dozens of windows in a multiethnic district of Malmo, Sweden's third largest city.


Lindsey Vonn takes a selfie with a calf on the podium after winning the World Cup Women's Downhill on December 20, 2014 in Val d'Isere, French AlpsVal-d'Isère (France) (AFP) - Lindsey Vonn notched up her 61st World Cup win with success in the women's downhill at Val d'Isere on Saturday. The four-time overall World Cup champion claimed her latest race by clocking a time of 1min 44.47 sec to edge Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg and Austria's Elisabeth Goergl, who shared second at 19 hundredths of a second behind the American. This was 30-year-old Vonn's second downhill win of the season after this month's win in Lake Louise, her first victory since a high speed crash in early 2013. It put the girlfriend of 14-time golf major champion Tiger Woods just one win behind the all-time World Cup record of 62 held by Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell.


An exterior view of the Sony Pictures Plaza building is seen in Culver City, Calif., Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving the satirical film, "The Interview," about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. He pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of "serious" consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes would prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 10:20:18 -0500

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, centre, inspects the honor guard upon arrival at the Roberts international airport in Monrovia, Liberia, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised health workers battling Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia on Friday, saying they have shown "the most noble face of humankind" amid an epidemic that has killed more than 6,900 people in West Africa. Ban, who made stops in both countries on Friday, travels Saturday to Guinea where the Ebola virus first emerged a year ago. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continued his tour of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa on Saturday.


Protesters in New York on May 23, 2014 demand the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centerWashington (AFP) - Four detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay US military prison have been repatriated to Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Saturday.


In this Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 photo, Pakistani gravedigger Taj Muhammad adjusts wreaths on a grave at the Rahman Baba graveyard in Peshawar, Pakistan. Muhammad, one of the gravediggers at Peshawar's largest graveyard, has a rule. He said he never cries when he buries the dead. He's a professional, he said. But as the dead bodies, mostly children, started coming in from a school massacre this week that killed 148 people, he began to weep. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — One of the gravediggers at Peshawar's largest graveyard has a rule. He says he never cries when he buries the dead. He's a professional, he says.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 09:54:07 -0500

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2014 file photo, Madonna visits Malawian President Peter Mutharika at State House in Lillongwe Malawi. In a surprise preview of her new album, Madonna released six songs Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, on iTunes and various streaming services. The songs were released because several in-progress demos were leaked earlier this week, according to Madonna publicist Liz Rosenberg. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)NEW YORK (AP) — In a surprise preview of her new album, Madonna released six songs Saturday on iTunes and various streaming services.


Interview is conducted with passenger arriving from Sierra Leone at O'Hare International Airport in ChicagoBy Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - A child who arrived in Chicago with a fever was under observation on Friday at a city hospital to rule out the Ebola virus, hospital officials said. Federal officials screening arriving passengers at O'Hare International Airport detected the fever, but no other symptoms of the disease, the University of Chicago Medical Center said in a statement. The patient was isolated under strict quarantine protocols until the child’s condition improves and a diagnosis is established, the hospital said. The child was in stable condition. ...


Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, PennsylvaniaBy Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he is closely following an inquiry into a U.S.-based Islamic preacher and media outlets close to him and dismissed criticism that the case is politically motivated. Erdogan spoke a day after an Istanbul court ordered the arrest of Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has accused of leading a terrorist plot to seize power and whose supporters the president has purged from the judiciary and police. The arrest warrant for Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. ...


In this photo taken Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a joint news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ghani has promised a complete overhaul of Afghanistan’s government to root out corruption and incompetence, but after three months in office, three missed deadlines and countless promises, he and his election rival-turned-deputy have yet to appoint a single Cabinet minister. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — President Ashraf Ghani has promised a complete overhaul of Afghanistan's government to root out corruption and incompetence, but after three months in office, three missed deadlines and countless promises, he and his election rival-turned-deputy have yet to appoint a single Cabinet minister.


  Sat, 20 Dec 2014 09:32:23 -0500
MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — A wealthy Mozambican businessman, who was kidnapped last month, has been released, authorities said on Saturday.

Pakistani children arrive at their school in Peshawar after three days of mourning for the children and staff killed by Taliban militants in an attack on an army-run school, on December 20, 2014Rights groups Saturday condemned Pakistan's decision to hang two convicted militants in its first executions for six years, as leaders vowed decisive action in the wake of a Taliban school massacre that left 149 people dead. Pakistan described the bloody rampage in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday as its own "mini 9/11", saying it was a game changer in its fight against terror. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif relinquished the six-year ban on the death penalty in terror-related cases two days after the school attack, with two militants convicted of separate terrorism offences the first to face the noose. The Human Rights Watch termed the executions "a craven politicized reaction to the Peshawar killings", demanding that no further hangings be carried out.



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