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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Putin: West is trying to 'defang' the Russian bear
MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to fix Russia's economic woes within two years by diversifying away from its heavy reliance on oil and gas and voiced confidence that the plummeting ruble will soon recover.... 12/18/2014 1:36 PM

Russian sailors leaving French port without warship
PARIS (AP) -- Russian sailors are leaving a French Atlantic port without the French-made warship they were supposed to take home.... 12/18/2014 1:29 PM

Poll: 80 percent back Putin even as ruble falls
MOSCOW (AP) -- From a Western perspective, Vladimir Putin's days as president of Russia should be numbered: The ruble has lost more than half its value, the economy is in crisis and his aggression in Ukraine has turned the country into an international pariah.... 12/18/2014 1:28 PM

Portugal gov't issues order to stop airline strike
LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal's government has issued an executive order to stop a planned four-day strike by national airline staff during the busy Christmas holiday season.... 12/18/2014 1:25 PM

Palestinian leader supports more talks on UN bid
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he supports further negotiations over a draft resolution on ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands that was submitted to the U.N. Security Council for a possible vote.... 12/18/2014 1:24 PM

Pakistan grants bail to main Mumbai attack suspect
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A defense lawyer says a Pakistani anti-terrorism court has granted bail to the chief suspect in the Mumbai attack trial.... 12/18/2014 1:21 PM

China arrests policeman blamed for wrongful conviction
BEIJING (AP) -- A Chinese police officer who oversaw the case of a teenager wrongfully convicted of murder and executed in 1996 has been arrested in a case that has caught national attention, the official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday.... 12/18/2014 1:16 PM

EU bans investment in Crimean, targets tourism
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union has imposed a ban on investment in Crimea, and other economic sanctions including measures aimed at keeping tourists away.... 12/18/2014 1:15 PM

In botched cyberattack on Syria group, some see hand of IS
LONDON (AP) -- A botched cyberattack aimed at unmasking Syrian dissidents has experts worried that the Islamic State group is adding malicious software to its arsenal.... 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

A look at North Korea's cyberwar capabilities
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Most North Koreans have never seen the Internet.... 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

UK police probe murder claims in child abuse case
LONDON (AP) -- British police say they are investigating three allegations of murder as part of an inquiry into claims that prominent people sexually abused children several decades ago.... 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

Official: 28 die in clashes in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) -- Clashes in Central African Republic between Muslim and Christian fighters have killed 28, left dozens wounded and sent civilians fleeing for safety, a Red Cross official said Thursday.... 12/18/2014 1:02 PM

Myanmar tries NZ man on charge of insulting Buddha
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- A New Zealand bar manager and two Myanmar men pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges they insulted religion by posting an advertisement with an image of a pink Buddha wearing headphones.... 12/18/2014 1:01 PM

FIFA meets amid crisis over Garcia's resignation
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) -- Amid another crisis at FIFA, President Sepp Blatter will lead an executive committee meeting on Thursday with the sudden resignation of ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia now on the agenda.... 12/18/2014 12:58 PM

Gulf stocks gain with Dubai closing 13 percent up
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Dubai's main stock market has gained 13 percent after closing at its lowest point of the year earlier in the week.... 12/18/2014 12:52 PM

Crisis talks resume for Dutch coalition partners
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Crisis talks aimed at salvaging a cost-cutting Dutch health reform package and staving off the possible collapse of the country's 2-year-old ruling coalition entered a third day Thursday.... 12/18/2014 12:49 PM

Egypt sends 41 Islamists to prison for rioting
ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) -- A criminal court in southern Egypt has convicted 41 Islamists on charges of rioting in August last year, and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from one to 15 years.... 12/18/2014 12:44 PM

German ex-lawmaker seeks end to child porn case
BERLIN (AP) -- A former German lawmaker who quit amid a child pornography investigation says discussions are underway with prosecutors on possibly closing the case against him in exchange for a fine.... 12/18/2014 12:31 PM

Swiss central bank imposes negative interest rates
BERN, Switzerland (AP) -- Following the fallout of the slide in the Russian ruble, Switzerland sought Thursday to prevent the Swiss franc from breaching upper limits imposed on the currency by introducing negative interest rates on commercial bank deposits.... 12/18/2014 12:28 PM

Kenya legislators exchange blows over new security laws
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Kenyan legislators Thursday exchanged blows forcing parliament to adjourn the debate on proposed changes to security laws which the government says will help fight terrorism but which critics say are meant to silence dissent by curtailing civil liberties.... 12/18/2014 12:28 PM