Monday, December 22, 2014
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Japan's emperor turns 81, renews peace commitment
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's Emperor Akihito says he "ardently" hoped Japan will strive hard as a peaceful country, as he celebrated his 81th birthday ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year.... 12/23/2014 4:11 AM

Asian stocks rise on 'Santa rally' after Wall St record
BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stocks were mostly higher Tuesday after Wall Street closed at record highs in a traditional pre-Christmas advance.... 12/23/2014 4:05 AM

Nicaragua breaks ground on historic canal project
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Nicaraguan officials and a Chinese company broke ground Monday on a $50 billion transoceanic waterway predicted to rival the Panama Canal, but which has been a source of anger and protests from citizens in recent weeks.... 12/23/2014 4:00 AM

Memorial services held for Sydney siege victims
SYDNEY (AP) -- Two victims of a deadly siege in Sydney were being remembered on Tuesday at private memorial services, one week after a gunman took them hostage inside a downtown cafe.... 12/23/2014 3:47 AM

North Korean websites back online after shutdown
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Key North Korean websites were back online Tuesday after an hours-long shutdown that followed a U.S. vow to respond to a cyberattack on Sony Pictures that Washington blames on Pyongyang. The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for the shutdown in one of the least-wired countries in the world.... 12/23/2014 3:29 AM

Mexico: Local police involved in 2011 migrant massacres
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Local police in the city of San Fernando in northern Mexico were involved in the 2011 massacres of 193 mainly Central American migrants whose bodies were found in mass graves, according to federal prosecutors.... 12/23/2014 3:27 AM

Cuba says it has a right to grant asylum to US fugitives
HAVANA (AP) -- Cuba said Monday that it has a right to grant asylum to U.S. fugitives, the clearest sign yet that the communist government has no intention of extraditing America's most-wanted woman despite the warming of bilateral ties.... 12/23/2014 3:19 AM

Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- To the Catholic Church's "seven deadly sins," Pope Francis has added the "15 ailments of the Curia."... 12/23/2014 12:59 AM

Iraqi Yazidi girls abducted by IS endured horror
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Women and girls from Iraq's Yazidi minority endured horrors at the hands of Islamic State group extremists after they were taken as slaves when last summer, leaving them deeply traumatized, an international watchdog group said in a report issued on Tuesday.... 12/23/2014 12:43 AM

Wife of Cuban agent freed from US expecting baby
HAVANA (AP) -- Cuba is celebrating the return of three intelligence agents imprisoned in the United States for more than a decade, and the joyful but puzzling news that one of their wives is expecting just two weeks from now.... 12/23/2014 12:20 AM

Medellin's Christmas lights dazzle in Colombia
MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) -- Medellin for Christmas vacation? Si, si!... 12/23/2014 12:05 AM

UN Security Council takes up N. Korea's human rights
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council took up the issue of North Korea's bleak human rights situation for the first time Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity. North Korea quickly denounced the move.... 12/22/2014 11:36 PM

TripAdvisor fined $600,000 by Italian anti-trust
MILAN (AP) -- Italy's antitrust authority has fined travel planning website TripAdvisor 500,000 euros ($600,000) following complaints of improper business practices lodged by a national hoteliers' association and a consumer protection agency.... 12/22/2014 11:31 PM

Dozens injured in 3 separate attacks in France
PARIS (AP) -- French authorities urged calm after a series of attacks across the country left dozens of people injured, and said there was no evidence the violent acts were connected by any terrorist motive.... 12/22/2014 10:30 PM

Argentina: Court grants orangutan basic rights
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- An orangutan that has lived 20 years at the Buenos Aires zoo is entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by humans, an Argentine court has ruled, a decision the ape's attorney called unprecedented and a ticket to greater freedom.... 12/22/2014 10:21 PM

NKorea accuses UN of discussing its rights, not US torture
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- A North Korean diplomat is accusing Western nations on the United Nations Security Council of "turning a blind eye" to acts of torture and spying by the United States and focusing only on human rights violations in his country.... 12/22/2014 10:14 PM

Belfast leaders near deal to save power-sharing
DUBLIN (AP) -- Northern Ireland leaders said Monday they are close to reaching an agreement to sustain their troubled Catholic-Protestant government, but faced all-night negotiations to see whether they can seal a deal.... 12/22/2014 9:53 PM

Bombs blamed on extremists kill 26 in northeast Nigeria
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Two explosions in two northeast Nigerian states on Monday killed at least 26 people and injured 79, rescue and health officials said.... 12/22/2014 9:44 PM

Spain hands out $3B in planet's biggest lottery
MADRID (AP) -- Spaniards and Latin American immigrants who bought lottery tickets in an upper middle class Madrid neighborhood hit the jackpot on Monday, cracking open bottles of champagne on the streets as they celebrated winning 400,000-euro ($490,000) payoffs from a 2.5 billion-euro ($3 billion) pot of cash divided among thousands of ticketholders.... 12/22/2014 9:03 PM

Leaders agree on Ukrainian peace talks this week
MOSCOW (AP) -- Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany on Monday reached an agreement to call another round of Ukraine peace talks this week, the latest attempt to negotiate a settlement to the conflict that has badly strained the ties between Russia and the West.... 12/22/2014 8:39 PM