Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Iraqi Kurdish troops open corridor to Sinjar
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants managed on Thursday to open up a corridor to Sinjar Mountain so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped there can flee, said a senior Kurdish official.... 12/18/2014 7:48 PM

Pope Benedict got ball rolling with Cuba on Gross
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the U.S. and Cuba together and free U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was actually Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists.... 12/18/2014 7:41 PM

Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear
MOSCOW (AP) -- Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years.... 12/18/2014 7:32 PM

Canada woman stops for ducks; sentenced in 2 deaths
MONTREAL (AP) -- A Canadian woman who caused a fatal traffic accident after stopping her car to help ducks on a busy highway has been sentenced to 90 days in prison.... 12/18/2014 7:28 PM

Study: large carnivores gaining ground in Europe
BERLIN (AP) -- Brown bears, grey wolves and other large carnivores are making a comeback in Europe.... 12/18/2014 7:26 PM

Botched cyberattack on Syria group blamed on 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 7:04 PM

Ireland repays $11 billion to IMF years early
DUBLIN (AP) -- Ireland has repaid 9 billion euros ($11 billion) to the International Monetary Fund several years early, a move that saves heavy interest costs and illustrates the strong Irish rebound after its bailout.... 12/18/2014 6:57 PM

FACT CHECK: Putin on the ruble collapse, Ukraine
MOSCOW (AP) -- A fact-checking look at some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements on the ruble collapse and the Ukrainian crisis from his annual news conference Thursday:... 12/18/2014 6:46 PM

Analysis: New focus on how Pakistan will address militancy
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Many wonder if the attack that killed 148 people at a Pakistani school will be a watershed in the country's long, conflicted history with Islamic militancy.... 12/18/2014 6:46 PM

India's Sonia Gandhi hospitalized for infection
NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi was hospitalized Thursday for treatment of lower respiratory tract infection, a party official said.... 12/18/2014 6:45 PM

Russian sailors leaving France without warship
PARIS (AP) -- Hundreds of Russian sailors pulled out of a French port Thursday, bearing perfumes for their loved ones but lacking the controversial bounty they came for: a 1-billion-euro, French-built warship that has become a hostage to the biggest East-West conflict since the Cold War.... 12/18/2014 6:44 PM

Colombia's government rebuffs rebel truce
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia's government on Thursday rebuffed a unilateral truce declared by the country's largest rebel group, saying the guerrillas' conditions are unacceptable until a peace deal is reached.... 12/18/2014 6:34 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 on ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands that was submitted to the U.N. Security Council for a possible vote.... 12/18/2014 6:33 PM

UN OKs measures targeting North Korea, Iran, Syria
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday approved resolutions criticizing the human rights situations of North Korea, Iran and Syria.... 12/18/2014 6:31 PM

Mexican legislator rescued from kidnappers
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Police in the Mexican state of Morelos have rescued a state legislator one day after he was kidnapped.... 12/18/2014 6:28 PM

Video claims responsibility for Tunisia killings
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- A new video has surfaced with the Islamic State group claiming responsibility for the 2013 assassinations of two Tunisian politicians.... 12/18/2014 6:26 PM

Aer Lingus rejects bid by British Airways parent
DUBLIN (AP) -- Irish airline Aer Lingus has rejected a takeover bid by the International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia.... 12/18/2014 6:12 PM

Abu Dhabi's Etihad gets A380, complete with suite
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad, showcased on Thursday the arrival of its first Airbus A380, outfitted with "the only three-room suite in the sky."... 12/18/2014 6:09 PM

Parliament OKs German soldiers for Afghan mission
BERLIN (AP) -- Lawmakers have given the go-ahead for Germany to contribute up to 850 soldiers to the NATO-organized training and advisory mission in Afghanistan that will start work next month.... 12/18/2014 5:51 PM

Kenya legislators exchange blows over new security law
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Fistfights and scuffles broke out in Kenya's parliament Thursday as legislators passed a controversial security measure which the government says will help fight terrorism but which critics say are meant to silence dissent by curtailing civil liberties.... 12/18/2014 5:40 PM