Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Belarus tightens control over online media
MINSK, Belarus (AP) -- The Belarusian parliament has approved a bill that would allow authorities to shut Internet media if they carry content deemed illegal.... 12/17/2014 8:12 PM

Unicef needs more cash for Central African kids
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The U.N. Children's Fund says shortfalls in funding and violence have prevented it from delivering critical services to thousands of children in Central African Republic.... 12/17/2014 8:07 PM

Irked Italy: marine too ill to return to India
ROME (AP) -- Diplomatic tensions between Italy and India are rising after Italy said a marine who suffered a stroke while detained in India for a 2012 shooting death was too ill to be sent back there.... 12/17/2014 8:06 PM

AP Exclusive: Sydney hostage planned daring escape
SYDNEY (AP) -- The siege at the Sydney cafe had been going on for more than five hours and 82-year-old John O'Brien had become convinced the gunman was insane and they would likely all end up dead.... 12/17/2014 8:05 PM

Kenya urged to respect human rights
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Nine Western governments have welcomed proposed changes to Kenya's security laws, but said that they should respect human rights.... 12/17/2014 8:05 PM

Churchill painting sells for record $2.8 million
LONDON (AP) -- A painting by Winston Churchill of the fishpond at his rural home has sold for just under 1.8 million pounds ($2.8 million), almost double the previous record for his work.... 12/17/2014 8:02 PM

Verona's Arena to get $17.5 million restoration
MILAN (AP) -- Verona's famed Roman amphitheater, home to one of the world's premier opera festivals, will be the first large beneficiary of a new Italian government initiative to encourage private donations to protect cultural treasures.... 12/17/2014 7:59 PM

Kurdish Iraqi forces launch operation in Sinjar
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Kurdish Iraqi forces launched a major operation Wednesday to retake the militant-held town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, part of a push to secure the road that leads directly to the Syrian border.... 12/17/2014 7:58 PM

Canada hosted secret meetings between Cuba and US
TORONTO (AP) -- Canada hosted about seven meetings between the U.S. and Cuba that helped lead to President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that the two countries will establish full diplomatic relations, a senior Canadian government official said.... 12/17/2014 7:54 PM

Cuba welcomes Castro's announce of renewed US ties
HAVANA (AP) -- Bells tolled in celebration and teachers halted lessons midday as President Raul Castro told his country Wednesday that Cuba was restoring relations with the United States after more than a half-century of hostility.... 12/17/2014 7:52 PM

Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The crucial role played by the Vatican in bringing Cuba and the United States together signals that history's first Latin American pope is willing to put the Holy See on the front lines of diplomacy.... 12/17/2014 7:51 PM

UN chief heading to West Africa to see response to Ebola
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he's heading to West Africa to demonstrate the U.N.'s solidarity with the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak and to see for himself how the world is responding.... 12/17/2014 7:48 PM

Israel suffers sharp rebuffs from Europe
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Israel suffered back-to-back diplomatic setbacks in Europe on Wednesday as Palestinians headed to the United Nations to try to set a two-year deadline for an Israeli withdrawal.... 12/17/2014 7:48 PM

Guatemala arrests US fugitive in illegal adoptions
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Guatemalan authorities have arrested an American accused of human trafficking and participating in illegal adoptions.... 12/17/2014 7:33 PM

A look at 'Cuban 5' agents who were jailed in US
HAVANA (AP) -- The "Cuban Five" refers to intelligence agents whose so-called "Wasp Network" operated in Florida in the 1990s. They were arrested in 1998 and later convicted on charges including conspiracy and failing to register as foreign agents.... 12/17/2014 7:31 PM

Israeli PM slams EU taking Hamas off terror list
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the European Union Wednesday for removing Hamas from its terrorist list, calling it a staggering example of European hypocrisy and an indication that many on the continent have learned nothing from the Holocaust.... 12/17/2014 7:29 PM

Dead in clash among Mexico vigilantes rises to 11
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A Mexican official says the death toll from a clash between two rural police groups has risen to 11.... 12/17/2014 7:24 PM

After 53 years, time is right for US and Cuba
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- After 53 years of hostility between the United States and Cuba, the timing to make amends was perfect for both governments.... 12/17/2014 7:21 PM

Pakistan buries victims of school massacre
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- As they buried their children Wednesday, the families spoke of their dreams. One boy had just gotten high marks on his midterm and hoped to become a pilot. A 13-year-old wanted to become a doctor. Another kid just loved playing video games with his cousins.... 12/17/2014 7:19 PM

Quotes from Pakistani families over school attack
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Reaction to the killings of 148 people - almost all of them students - at a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan:... 12/17/2014 7:15 PM