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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US
HAVANA (AP) -- The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States unleashed expectations Thursday of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings.... 12/18/2014 10:56 PM

UN Experts: Taliban radicals against peace gain prominence
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.N. experts say radical splinter groups within the Taliban movement that are strongly opposed to any negotiation with Afghanistan's new government are gaining prominence.... 12/18/2014 10:49 PM

Iraqi Kurdish troops battling IS open key corridor in Iraq
KOBAN, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants managed on Thursday to open up a key corridor so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped on a mountain can flee, said a senior Kurdish official.... 12/18/2014 9:44 PM

EU leaders agree to fund for jumpstarting growth
BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union leaders agreed Thursday to create a strategic investment fund that could generate up to 315 billion euros ($386 billion) in private- and public-sector money to upgrade infrastructure, jumpstart the EU's sluggish economies and ignite job growth.... 12/18/2014 9:29 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 9:27 PM

Pope Benedict helped free American from Cuba
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 Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Pope 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 9:16 PM

PHOTO GALLERY: Moments in world sports in 2014
LONDON (AP) -- With the Winter Olympics and the World Cup, there was no shortage of memorable sporting moments in 2014.... 12/18/2014 8:59 PM

World War II bomb defused in German city
BERLIN (AP) -- A World War II bomb has been successfully defused in an eastern German city after some 9,700 people were evacuated from the surrounding area and a meeting of a state legislature was interrupted.... 12/18/2014 8:52 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 8:47 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 8:30 PM

Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185 in an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April, witnesses said Thursday.... 12/18/2014 8:21 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 8:18 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 was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in prison and a 10-year driving ban.... 12/18/2014 8:17 PM

Latin America cheers US-Cuba rapprochement
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- The renewal of ties between Cuba and the United States complicates matters for Havana's chief ally, Venezuela, which has been moving in the opposite direction, becoming more stridently anti-American.... 12/18/2014 8:07 PM

Palestinian leader supports more talks on UN bid
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he supports further negotiations on a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that sets a 2017 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from war-won lands the Palestinians seek for their state.... 12/18/2014 8:07 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