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  • Two N.Y. police officers slain in apparent retribution attack
  • An ambulance carrying one of the two New York Police officers who were shot dead passes by a New York Fire Department honor guard along Broadway in the Brooklyn borough of New YorkBy Laila Kearney and Edward McAllister NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gunman shot dead two New York City police officers in what officials called an "assassination", hours after warning on social media that he planned an attack in retribution for recent U.S. police killings of unarmed black men. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered flags flown at half staff around the city, hours after the city's main police union harshly criticized the city's first Democratic mayor in two decades for being insufficiently supportive of the department during recent waves of anti-police violence. ...



  • Sierra Leone urges safe burials to stem Ebola
  • FILE- In this Saturday Nov. 8, 2014 file photo, Ebola health care workers bury the body of a person suspected of dying of Ebola virus on the outskirts of Monrovia Liberia. Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in Sierra Leone and unsafe burials may be responsible for up to 70 percent of new infections, say experts. Officials are resorting to increasingly desperate measures to clamp down on traditional burials in Sierra Leone, where Ebola is now spreading fastest. The head of the Ebola response has even threatened to jail people who prepare the corpses of their loved ones. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh, File)DAKAR, Senegal (AP) ? The radio announcement is chilling and blunt: "If I die, I want the deaths to stop with me."



  • Pakistan hangs four more militants after school attack
  • Pakistan's decision to reinstitute executions was slammed by human rights groups, with the United Nations also calling for it to reconsider the movePakistan on Sunday executed four more militants after ending a six-year moratorium on the death penalty following a Taliban school attack that killed 149 people, officials said.



  • Florida authorities say 1 police officer shot and killed
  • TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) ? Florida authorities say a police officer was shot and killed in Tarpon Springs early Sunday.

  • Four militants hanged in Pakistan as execution campaign widens
  • By Syed Raza Hassan and Nadia Saleem ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan hanged four Islamist militants on Sunday in the second set of executions since the government lifted a moratorium after the Taliban massacred 132 children and nine others at a school last week. None of those hanged has anything to do with Tuesday's school rampage in Peshawar, and some Pakistani commentators have said the executions are intended to divert attention from the failure to satisfy public demands to find the killers. ...

  • US to review NKorea terror status after Sony hack: Obama
  • Workers remove the poster for "The Interview" from a billboard in Hollywood, California, December 18, 2014The United States is mulling whether or not to place North Korea back onto its list of state sponsors of terrorism President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Sunday following the communist nation's alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures. The film about a fictional CIA plot to kill the country's leader infuriated North Korea. Obama's remarks, in the interview which taped on Friday, followed a call from a leading US senator to re-consider North Korea's terror designation.



  • Kurds push into Sinjar; Iraqis battle for airport
  • Iraqi Kurdish forces head to battle Islamic State militants, on the summit of Mount Sinjar, in Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. Iraqi Kurdish fighters pushed their way Sunday into the town of Sinjar, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State militants who captured the town last summer. Loud explosions and intense gunbattles were heard from inside the town. (AP Photo/Dalton Bennett)SINJAR, Iraq (AP) ? Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish fighters pushed into the contested northern Iraqi town of Sinjar on Sunday, touching off heavy clashes with Islamic State militants who have controlled the area for months.



  • 2 cops ambushed, fatally shot in car; gunman kills himself
  • Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing both officers before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)NEW YORK (AP) ? The warning came just moments too late: A man who had shot his ex-girlfriend a few hours earlier had traveled to New York City and vowed online to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.



  • US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list
  • Cars drive by the Sony Pictures Plaza building in Culver City, Calif., Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving the satirical film, "The Interview," about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. He pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)HONOLULU (AP) ? The United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back onto its list of state sponsors of terrorism, President Barack Obama said as the U.S. decides how to respond to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that law enforcement has blamed on the communist nation.



  • Saudi Arabia says won't cut oil output
  • Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister al-Naimi talks to journalists before a meeting of OPEC oil ministers at OPEC's headquarters in ViennaBy Rania El Gamal and Maha El Dahan ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world's top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market's biggest slump in years. Referring to countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters: "If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut. ...



  • Gulf producers blame oil price on 'irresponsible' output
  • A flame from a Saudi oil installion is seen in the desert near the oil-rich area of Khouris on June 23, 2008Oil-rich Arab Gulf countries on Sunday blamed "irresponsible" non-OPEC producers for a plunge in global crude prices, but voiced confidence that markets would rebound. World prices have fallen almost 50 percent since June, mainly due to a supply glut, the weak global economy and a strong US dollar. UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, in a clear reference to shale and sand oil output from North America and other emerging energy markets, attributed the price dive to "newcomers". "One of the main causes is irresponsible production by some producers from outside the (OPEC) organisation," he told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.



  • Sudan rights group says raided after opposition unity deal
  • KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Security forces raided the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday, just weeks after jailing its former leader, the monitoring group's leader said, in what activists fear is a widening crackdown ahead of a presidential election in April. The government has increased pressure on political parties and civil society organisations that have expressed sympathy with armed rebels that it considers traitors. The former head of the Observatory was arrested this month after signing a largely symbolic unity deal with opposition parties and rebels. ...

  • Belarusian independent news sites blocked
  • MINSK, Belarus (AP) ? Several independent news websites have been blocked in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, where the government exerts close control of news media.

  • Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground
  • FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2014 file photo, farmers shout slogans against the construction of the planned inter-oceanic canal as they arrive for a national protest march in Managua, Nicaragua. The project is slated to open a huge waterway over what is now the town of Rio Grande, an evangelical-dominated town of 2,000 people with only a dirt road amid fields of corn, beans, banana and sorghum. Everything within 10 kilometers (6 miles) would be subject to expropriation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)RIO GRANDE, Nicaragua (AP) ? As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for his land, Ruiz insists, "I'm not going to run."



  • U.S.-led forces launch 13 air strikes in Iraq, three in Syria
  • WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces attacked Islamic State targets on Sunday with 13 air strikes in Iraq and three in Syria, using fighter, bomber and other aircraft, the U.S. military said. Four of the Iraq strikes were near Sinjar in northern Iraq, which destroyed Islamic State buildings, tactical units and vehicles. Other Iraqi cities targeted included Tal Afar, Ramadi, Mosul and Baiji, according to the Combined Joint Task Force. The strikes in Syria focused around the contested city of Kobani near the Turkish border, it said in a statement. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu)

  • Obama does not consider Sony hack an act of war: CNN interview
  • U.S. President Obama answers a question about the cyberattack on Sony Pictures after his end of the year press conference in the briefing room of the White House in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama does not consider the cyber attack on Sony Corp to be an act of war, he said in an interview, remarks apparently aimed at limiting U.S. anger over the incident which Washington blames on North Korea. Obama and his advisers are weighing how to respond in kind to the attack, which prompted the Hollywood studio owned by the Japanese firm to withdraw a comedy, "The Interview," prepared for release to movie theaters during the holiday season. "No, I don't think it was an act of war. ...



  • Obama vows 'do everything I can' to close Guantanamo: CNN interview
  • A sign marks a closed-off area at Camp Justice the location of the U.S. Military Commissions court for war crimes, at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay CubaWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. president Barack Obama said in a TV interview set for broadcast on Sunday that he will do "everything I can" to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after four Afghan detainees held there were sent home. Obama promised to shut the internationally condemned prison when he took office nearly six years ago, saying it was damaging America's image around the world. But he has been unable to do so, partly because of obstacles posed by the U.S. Congress. ...



  • Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia
  • U.S. boxing great Muhammad Ali poses at the World Economic Forum in Davos(Reuters) - Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been hospitalized with pneumonia and is expected to recover because the illness was caught early, a spokesman said on Saturday. Ali, 72, was admitted to a hospital in an undisclosed location Saturday morning and is being treated by a team of doctors and remains in stable condition, spokesman Bob Gunnell said. "Because the pneumonia was caught early, his prognosis is good with a short hospital stay expected," Gunnell said in a statement. He declined to give any further details of the boxer's condition and said Ali's family was asking for privacy. ...



  • Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England
  • FILE - A Wednesday Dec. 21, 2005 photo from files showing pop star Elton John, right, and his longtime partner David Furnish, after they had a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor, England. Elton John and his partner David Furnish plan to tie the knot for a second time this weekend, following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Britain. The singer's spokesman, Gary Farrow, said Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, that the ceremony will be private. Same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in Britain since March. Previously, gay couples could form civil partnerships, which carried the same legal status as marriage but without the title. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)LONDON (AP) ? Entertainer Elton John and longtime mate David Furnish officially married Sunday on the ninth anniversary of the day they entered into a civil partnership.



  • Tunisians votes in historic presidential runoff
  • Tunisians walk past a polling station in Tunis, Tunisia, Sunday Dec. 21 , 2014. Tunisians voted on Sunday for a new president in a runoff between a symbol of the country's previous regimes and a veteran human rights activist who came to power after the revolution of 2011. (AP Photo/Ilyess Osmane)TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) ? Tunisians voted on Sunday for a new president in a runoff between an official from the country's previous regimes and a veteran human rights activist who came to power after the 2011 revolution.



  • Saudi Oil Min: 'Let the most efficient producers produce'
  • ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday that the best way to address current conditions in the oil market was to "let the most efficient producers produce". Asked about possible cooperation between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which include the world's lowest cost producers, and non-member countries, he replied: "The best thing for everybody is to let the most efficient producers produce". (Reporting by Rania El Gamal, Writing by William Maclean)

  • Greek PM offers 2015 election once bailout talks complete
  • Greece's PM and leader of ruling conservative New Democracy party Samaras addresses parliamentary group in AthensBy George Georgiopoulos ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras offered to bring pro-European independents into the government on Sunday and held out the prospect of new elections in late 2015 in exchange for backing by lawmakers to elect a new president. Speaking in an unscheduled television address on Sunday, he said Greece had a duty to finish negotiations with the European Union and International Monetary Fund to exit its bailout accord next year. ...



  • Villarreal climb after seventh straight win
  • Jonathan Dos Santos Ramirez (left) scored the opener for Villareal in their 3-0 victory over DeportivoVillarreal registered their seventh consecutive win in all competitions to move above Sevilla on goal difference into fifth in La Liga thanks to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday. Jonathan dos Santos got the hosts off to the perfect start when the on-loan Barcelona midfielder slammed home his first goal for the club. Argentine striker Luciano Vietto then added to his fine debut season in Spain with two simple finishes five minutes apart midway through the second-half to make the game safe before the hosts ended with 10 men when substitute Tomas Pina was sent-off.



  • Greek prime minister open to 2015 early elections
  • ATHENS, Greece (AP) ? Greece's prime minister says early general elections could be called by the end of 2015 if the current legislature can elect a president and if negotiations with the country's creditors on post-bailout aid are completed.

  • Palestinians throw stones, injure Israeli boy
  • Jewish children watch their father light candles during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Jewish festival of light is an eight-day commemoration of the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to put statues of Greek gods in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)JERUSALEM (AP) ? Palestinians hurling stones on Sunday at Jewish settlers' cars in the West Bank lightly injured a 4-year-old Israeli boy, the Israeli military said.



  • 2014 frustrates US hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace
  • FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file-pool photo, Secretary of State, John Kerry meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome. Kerry is ending 2014 much in the same way he started it: Frustrated in his efforts to push Israel and Palestinians toward peace. Facing a diplomatic showdown over Arab plans to force Israel from occupied Palestinian lands within three years, Kerry readied himself this week for a 72-hour trip to Jordan to craft a less explosive alternative. By Thursday, the crisis appeared to have been averted: Palestinian and Jordanian officials said they would not force their resolution to an immediate vote in the United Nations Security Council _ in part because the U.S. threatened to veto it. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File-Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) ? Secretary of State John Kerry is ending 2014 much in the same way he started it, frustrated in efforts to push Israel and Palestinians toward peace.



  • Republicans fighting to hang onto Senate _ in 2016
  • FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2014 file photo, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Even as Republicans celebrate their Senate takeover, they are making plans to defend it. In the 2016 Senate elections, GOP candidates will be defending incumbents in states President Barack Obama won _ a stark turnaround from this past November when Democrats were on the defense. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON (AP) ? Senate majority in hand, ascendant Republicans are set to challenge President Barack Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill come January. But a much tougher election map two years from now could force the GOP right back into the minority.



  • Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children
  • Emergency services workers cover off the perimeter fence of a house where eight children have been found dead in a Cairns suburb in far north Queensland, Australia, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Queensland state police said they were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries.When police got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside, ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years. (AP Photo/Graeme Bint)SYDNEY (AP) ? An Australian woman was charged with murder on Sunday in the deaths of seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home, police said.



  • Novak's 40-yard FG lifts Chargers past 49ers
  • San Diego Chargers's Nick Novak (9) kicks a 40-yard field goal from the hold of Mat McBriar in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Chargers won 38-35. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) ? Philip Rivers looked at the 21-point deficit on the scoreboard at halftime and even he wondered whether the San Diego Chargers had it in them to come back. The season depended on it, so Rivers took charge.



  • Obama says US can influence new generation in Cuba
  • Protesters hold a U.S. flag during a protest in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. More than 200 protesters rallied in opposition to President Barack Obama's plan to normalize relations with Cuba. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama said his plan to normalize relations with Cuba gives the U.S. a chance to influence events at an important moment of change for the communist nation, and he brushed off critics who accuse him of kowtowing to dictators.



  • Saudi oil chief: No conspiracy behind oil prices
  • Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ibrahim Naimi leaves the hall during the opening day of the 10th Arab energy Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) ? Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders that he was confident the market would stabilize.



  • Egypt retires hardline intelligence chief
  • CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's intelligence chief, who took office in mid-2013 after the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, has been retired from the job, the presidency said on Sunday. No reason was given in a statement for the departure of Mohamed Farid al-Tohamy, who had been a consistent advocate of the fierce security crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood that has seen hundreds killed and thousands jailed. The state-run news portal Al-Ahram said Tohamy, who is in his 60s, was retired for health reasons. ...

  • Video shows Boko Haram killing captives
  • FILE - This Monday May 12, 2014 file image taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185, fleeing residents said Thursday of an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April. Teenager Aji Ibrahim said he was lucky to escape into the bushes. "No doubt they were Boko Haram members because they were chanting "Allahu akbar" (God is Great) while shooting at people and torching houses," he told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/File)MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) ? A new video from Nigeria's home-grown Boko Haram extremists shows gunmen mowing down civilians lying face down in a dorm, and a leader saying they are being killed because they are "infidels" or non-believers.



  • As Ford closes, European rust belt seeks new ideas
  • A worker leaves the factory for one of the final shifts at the Ford assembly plant in GenkBy Robin Emmott and Robert-Jan Bartunek GENK, Belgium (Reuters) - In the heart of western Europe, the Belgian-Dutch-German rust belt has been dealt another blow. Two car plants closed this month as companies sought cheaper labor elsewhere, the final chapter of a manufacturing boom that began when coal mines fuelling Europe's industrialization shut in the 1960s. The final production day at Ford Motor Co?s plant in the eastern Belgian city of Genk came barely two weeks after General Motors closed its Opel Bochum factory across the border in Germany, both part of automakers' strategy to adapt to falling sales following the euro zone crisis. "I worked at Ford Genk for almost 40 years, I've never applied for another job in all my life," said Pierre Boonen, 57, after one of his last shifts at the plant that generated work directly or indirectly for around 10,000 people.



  • Tunisians vote in historic presidential run-off
  • A man walks past election posters of presidential candidates in TunisBy Patrick Markey and Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisians voted on Sunday in a presidential run-off election that completes the country's transition to full democracy nearly four years after an uprising which ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. With a new progressive constitution and a full parliament elected in October, Tunisia is hailed as an example of democratic change for a region still struggling with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. ...



  • Tunisia troops kill gunman in polling station attack
  • TUNIS (Reuters) - One gunman was killed by Tunisian troops and three others arrested after they attacked a voting station late on Saturday, hours before polls opened for a presidential run-off, a defense ministry official said on Sunday. The gunmen opened fire from a car on a polling station in the central Kairouan governate, and troops shot back in response, the official said, without giving any more details. ...

  • Tunisian polls open for historic presidential run-off
  • TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisians began voting on Sunday in a presidential run-off election that completes the country's last steps to full democracy nearly fours years after an uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. With a new progressive constitution and a full parliament elected in October, Tunisia is hailed as an example of democratic change for a region still struggling with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. ...

  • Egypt allows in travellers from Gaza for first time since October
  • Palestinian girl, hoping to cross into Egypt with her mother, is pictured through a fence as she waits at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza StripBy Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. Rafah is the only major crossing between impoverished Gaza, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, and the outside world that does not border Israel, which blockades the strip and allows passage mainly on humanitarian grounds. ...



  • South Korea prosecutors investigate data leak at nuclear power plants
  • By Sohee Kim and Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) - Seoul prosecutors have launched an investigation into a leak of non-critical data at South Korea's nuclear power operator, the prosecutors' office said on Sunday, as worries mount about nuclear safety and potential cyberattacks from North Korea. An official with the prosecutors' office confirmed media reports that they had traced the location of an IP address linked to the leak and had dispatched investigators to the site. ...

  • Russia's sole independent TV forced into meager studio
  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, engineers work in a control room in the Dozhd's studio-apartment in Moscow, Russia .Russia?s only independent TV channel, Dozhd, faced all sorts of pressure this year and while the government was careful not to shut it down, a Kremlin-instigated smear campaign is causing a slow demise of this rare independent broadcaster. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)MOSCOW (AP) ? Among the five TV journalists interviewing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the odd one out was easy to spot. Mikhail Zygar's questions were sharper than those of the others, who headed back to spacious television studios while Zygar broadcast his piece from a Moscow living room.