Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire
HAVANA (AP) -- Peace negotiators for Colombia's largest rebel group announced an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire Wednesday, saying guerrillas will refrain from staging attacks so long as they aren't targeted by the U.S.-backed military.... 12/17/2014 10:17 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 10:13 PM

Haiti president meets with opposition amid unrest
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti President Michel Martelly met Wednesday with opposition leaders in a bid to stabilize the politically fractious country as pressure mounted on him to appoint an interim prime minister.... 12/17/2014 9:59 PM

Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The crucial role played by Pope Francis in bringing Cuba and the United States together signals that history's first Latin American pope has no qualms about putting the Holy See on the front lines of diplomacy, especially for a cause it has long championed.... 12/17/2014 9:56 PM

Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations
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 9:51 PM

Congo, UN troops launch operation against rebels
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- U.N. peacekeepers and the Congolese army have launched an operation against rebels in the country's east blamed for a series of attacks in recent months.... 12/17/2014 9:49 PM

Pope adds 2nd victim to sex abuse commission
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has added a second survivor of priestly sex abuse to his commission of experts advising the Vatican on child protection policies, tapping a self-described "thorn in the side of the church" who has criticized the church's response to the scandal.... 12/17/2014 9:29 PM

Death toll in clash in western Mexico 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 9:18 PM

UN chief heading to West Africa to see response to Ebola
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday 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 8:49 PM

Canadian chain postpones `The Interview' showings
TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's dominant theater chain has postponed its planning showings of the film "The Interview."... 12/17/2014 8:46 PM

APNewsBreak: Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor
GENEVA (AP) -- The American lawyer who led the investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process resigned from the FIFA ethics committee on Wednesday in protest over the handling of his findings.... 12/17/2014 8:36 PM

Crucial Greek presidential vote fails in 1st round
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's Parliament failed to elect a new president for the financially struggling country in the first round of voting Wednesday, leaving another two tries before the government falls and early elections are called.... 12/17/2014 8:29 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