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Updated: 30 min 32 sec ago

China: Journalist facing expulsion a 'flagrant champion' of terrorism

Sat, 12/26/2015 - 00:53

China confirmed the imminent expulsion of a French journalist in the first such case since 2012, accusing her of "flagrantly championing" terrorist acts in a statement on its foreign ministry's website Saturday. Ursula Gauthier, a Beijing-based correspondent for French news magazine L'Obs, must issue a public apology for an article she wrote last month or China's foreign ministry will not renew her press credentials, officials told Gauthier on Christmas Day.

For U.N. chief, 1st-of-its-kind climate deal caps a very long quest

Sat, 12/26/2015 - 00:00

When international negotiators reached a first-of-its kind climate change agreement in Paris this month, the United Nations' normally low-key leader, Ban Ki-moon, celebrated onstage, arms raised in victory ...

Air strike kills Syria rebel chief ahead of peace talks

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 21:40

Zahran Alloush's death deals a blow to both the nearly five-year uprising and a fragile peace process.

Four dead in Christmas morning mobile home fire in California

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 18:51
Fire crews responded to 911 calls around 5:45 a.m. local time in the community of Big Bear Lake, a popular ski resort community about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. Kevin Lacy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner called the fire a "Christmas tragedy" on his Twitter account. Authorities found a man, who they believed to be the woman's boyfriend, outside the home with burns, cuts and smoke inhalation suffered when he tried to rescue the family, Big Bear Fire Department spokesman Nick Bruinsma said.

Eastern U.S. sees warm Christmas, winter storm looms for Plains

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 17:37

(Reuters) - Much of the U.S. East Coast basked in unseasonable warmth on Christmas Day with record high temperatures set or tied in several cities, including New York, even as a tornado hit Alabama and a major winter storm loomed for the southern Rockies and Great Plains.

Tornado causes damage, injures three in Birmingham, Alabama

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 16:53
(Reuters) - A tornado struck Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, damaging houses, uprooting trees and injuring at least three people in the state's largest city, law enforcement and weather officials said. National Weather Service meteorologist Jody Aaron said the twister was confirmed to have touched down in the southwestern portion of town at about 5 p.m. Central time, (2300 GMT), adding, "There does appear to be some significant damage." Birmingham Police Lieutenant Sean Edwards said at least three people were taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Alabama has been hit with storms and heavy rain since Wednesday, and the Weather Service issued flash flood warnings around the region for Friday.

Churches offer refuge for Central Americans facing U.S. deportation

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 12:54

By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Leaders of the church-based Sanctuary Movement vowed on Friday to offer their places of worship as refuge for immigrants facing deportation under an Obama administration crackdown on Central American families who entered the United States illegally. The statement came two days after The Washington Post first reported the U.S. government was planning a series of raids to remove hundreds of undocumented families as early as January in the first such large-scale effort targeting the recent flood of border crossers. The Department of Homeland Security preparations to intensify deportations of Central American migrants, confirmed by U.S. government sources, drew immediate fire from Democratic presidential candidates and human rights groups.

Survivors of Southern storms thankful to see Christmas

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 09:32

FALKNER, Miss. (AP) — Barbara Perkins and her husband were hunkered down inside a closet when violent winds peeled the roof off their Mississippi home. The storm sucked the central air conditioning unit beside the couple straight up from the floor and into the howling sky.

Eastern U.S. sees warm Christmas, winter storm looms for Plains

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 09:01

Much of the U.S. East Coast could see record high temperatures on Christmas Day and through the weekend even as a major winter storm looms for the southern Great Plains, forecasters said on Friday. Temperatures are forecast to be more than 20 degrees above normal for the East Coast on Christmas Day, the National Weather Service said. Above-average temperatures will linger for the eastern United States through the weekend, with rain across the area raising the possibility of flash floods.

Arson suspected at Bill Clinton's birthplace

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 07:51

Arson is suspected in a fire that broke out at former US president Bill Clinton's birthplace early Friday morning, damaging the historical site, police said. "It's pretty logical it was purposely set," J.R. Wilson, the police chief in Hope, Arkansas, told AFP. The blaze ran up an exterior back wall of the white frame house where Clinton spent the first few years of his life, but the damage was minor, Wilson said.

Bill Clinton's Arkansas birthplace damaged in suspected arson

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 06:52

(Reuters) - The birthplace of former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Hope, Arkansas, was slightly damaged in a suspected arson fire early on Friday, police said.

Bristol Palin gives birth to her second child

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 05:40

(Reuters) - Bristol Palin, a daughter of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, has given birth to a second child out of wedlock. Palin, 25, who has been an advocate of sexual abstinence before marriage, tweeted on Thursday that she had given birth to a girl, Sailor Grace. Palin announced she was pregnant in June, a few weeks after her engagement to Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer was called off.

Oops: U.K. astronaut Tim Peake calls wrong number from space

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 04:13

Anyone can dial a wrong number, but it's not often done from outer space. British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted an apology on Christmas Day from the International Space Station after calling a wrong number. ...

Israeli-Palestinian violence clouds Christmas in Bethlehem

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 03:39

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Christian faithful from around the world on Thursday descended on the biblical city of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, trying to lift spirits on a holiday dampened by months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Obamas (and their dogs) send festive cheer to Americans

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 02:38

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama -- and their two dogs -- on Friday paid tribute to US soldiers in a joint address wishing Americans a Merry Christmas.

Ministry: Russia warming '2.5 times quicker' than global average

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 02:22

Russia is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, the environment ministry said Friday, sounding an alarm on the rise in floods and wildfires nationwide. A government report on environmental protection said temperatures in Russia had warmed by 0.42 degrees Celsius per decade since 1976, or 2.5 times higher than the global warming trend of 0.17 degrees. "Climate change leads to growth of dangerous meteorological phenomena," the ministry said in a comment to the report published Friday.

Pope encourages UN-backed peace process for Syria, Libya

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 02:18

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is praying that recent U.N.-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya will quickly end the suffering of their people while praising the generosity of those countries that have taken in their refugees.

Arizona man indicted in 'Draw Mohammed' event hit with new charges

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 21:17

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, also known as Decarus Thomas, was charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, in addition to his indictment earlier this year on conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with the failed attack on the event in the Dallas suburb of Garland, according to the court papers. The original indictment said Kareem supplied the two gunmen with arms and helped them prepare for the attack.

Pope expected to call for reconciliation on Christmas Day

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 21:05

Pope Francis was expected to appeal for reconciliation of fractured communities in his Christmas Day blessing Friday, as the world takes stock of a year of violence and suffering that saw hundreds of thousands flee their homes. Francis was due to address his believers at Saint Peter's Basilica around 1100 GMT for the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message, traditionally an occasion to appeal for solutions to the world's problems. In many countries across the world, Christians were fearful for their future, and some were even prohibited from celebrating the holy day.

Cleanup begins from Southern U.S. storms that left 14 dead

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 18:44

Recovery crews and utility workers began cleaning up widespread damage on Thursday left by severe storms that spawned tornadoes across six states in the U.S. South and Midwest, killing at least 14 people and destroying scores of homes. Emergency declarations were issued in Mississippi and Tennessee, the two states hardest hit by severe weather on Wednesday that also complicated getaway plans for travelers looking to make the most of the long holiday weekend. With about 100 million Americans expected to travel over the Christmas holiday, most of them by car, the National Weather Service forecast isolated severe thunderstorms from the mid-Atlantic region to the Gulf Coast and record warmth in New York.