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Saturday, December 20, 2014
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China leader cautions against external forces
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged the semiautonomous former Portuguese colony of Macau to guard against interference by what he called hostile external forces, after prolonged pro-democracy protests in nearby Hong Kong.... 12/20/2014 5:15 AM

Human rights in spotlight after US-Cuba deal
HAVANA (AP) -- To many exiles and their allies, President Raul Castro is a brutal dictator who locks up dissenters in gulag-like jails, snuffs out political discourse and condemns his people to socialist poverty.... 12/20/2014 5:14 AM

AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all
GENEVA (AP) -- Brazilian author Paulo Coelho says the Sony hack threatens us all if society doesn't enforce important values: our individual and collective freedom of expression and an unwavering refusal to negotiate with anonymous terrorists.... 12/20/2014 4:12 AM

UN asks Israel to pay Lebanon $850 M for oil spill
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday asking Israel to pay Lebanon over $850 million in damages for an oil spill caused by an Israeli air force attack on oil storage tanks during its war with Hezbollah in July 2006.... 12/20/2014 2:40 AM

No word yet from Fidel amid historic US-Cuba shift
HAVANA (AP) -- Everyone in Cuba is talking about the startling turn in relations with the United States, with one notable exception: Fidel Castro.... 12/20/2014 1:04 AM

China arrests US aid worker near N. Korean border
BEIJING (AP) -- A Korean-American aid worker running a school in a Chinese city near North Korea has been arrested on charges of embezzlement and possession of fake invoices, his lawyer said Friday, in a sign that authorities are increasingly sensitive about activities by foreigners in the border region.... 12/20/2014 12:30 AM

Franciscan religious order in 'grave' financial crisis
ROME (AP) -- The main Franciscan religious order in the Roman Catholic Church is in a financial crisis because of alleged wrongdoing from within and outside its ranks, the head of the order said.... 12/20/2014 12:04 AM

UN urging Taliban to reduce Afghan civilian casualties
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. said Friday it's been talking to the Taliban about reducing civilian casualties in Afghanistan but hasn't seen any change on the ground, where it attributes 75 percent of deaths and injuries this year to the insurgent group that used to rule the country.... 12/19/2014 11:38 PM

Israel carries out airstrike on Hamas site in Gaza
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's military struck a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip early Saturday in its first airstrike on the Palestinian territory since this summer's war.... 12/19/2014 11:30 PM

North Korea denies connection with Sony hacking
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- North Korea on Friday denied the FBI's accusation that it was behind a devastating hacking attack on Sony but it said the now-shelved film "The Interview" mocked the impoverished but nuclear-armed country.... 12/19/2014 10:27 PM

Key Profumo scandal figure Mandy Rice-Davies dies
LONDON (AP) -- Mandy Rice-Davies, a key figure in the "Profumo Affair," a sex-and-politics scandal that rocked Cold War Britain, has died at age 70.... 12/19/2014 10:12 PM

Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children
SYDNEY (AP) -- An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home.... 12/19/2014 10:11 PM

Iraq clashes with IS delay evacuation of Yazidis
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Sporadic clashes between Iraqi Kurdish fighters and Islamic State extremists, as well as other logistics problems, are delaying the evacuation of the last Yazidis still trapped on Mt. Sinjar, an Iraqi lawmaker said Friday.... 12/19/2014 9:31 PM

Brazil to study legalization of medical marijuana
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Brazil will soon look into the possibility of legalizing the use of a marijuana derivative to treat people suffering from severe seizures.... 12/19/2014 9:26 PM

Brazil trying to make good use of new stadiums
SAO PAULO (AP) -- It's white elephant time for World Cup stadiums - again.... 12/19/2014 9:04 PM

German Amazon strikes to last until Christmas Eve
BERLIN (AP) -- A German labor union says striking workers at four Amazon.com distribution centers in Germany will remain off the job until Christmas Eve.... 12/19/2014 8:22 PM

Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan hanged two convicted militants Friday in the country's first executions in years, while warplanes and ground forces pounded insurgent hideouts in a northwest region bordering Afghanistan - part of a stepped-up response to the Taliban slaughter of scores of schoolchildren.... 12/19/2014 8:01 PM

Putin: Russia military modernization to go ahead
MOSCOW (AP) -- Boasting about the Russian military's capability, President Vladimir Putin vowed Friday to continue an ambitious weapons modernization program with a particular emphasis on nuclear strategic forces.... 12/19/2014 7:21 PM

Greek lawmaker alleges bribery attempt in presidential vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A lawmaker from a small right-wing party claimed Friday he had been offered a bribe worth up to 3 million euros ($3.68 million) to vote in favor of electing Greece's new president, in the latest twist in the bailed-out country's fraught presidential vote.... 12/19/2014 6:44 PM

Marathon runner Jeptoo's 'B' sample positive
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Marathon runner Rita Jeptoo's "B" sample tested positive, Kenya's athletics federation said Friday, confirming an earlier test that found traces of a banned performance enhancer.... 12/19/2014 6:44 PM