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Updated: 2 hours 2 min ago

Yes-We-Can president faces twilight of maybes

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 12:24

It was supposed to be a joke. "Are you still president?" comedian Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama earlier this month.

Man at New York psychiatric hospital killed by fellow patient, police say

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 10:57
(Reuters) - A patient at a psychiatric hospital in New York City has been charged with killing a fellow patient at the state-run facility, police said on Saturday. Police responded late Friday to an emergency call from the Bronx Psychiatric Center, in the Bronx borough, where they found a 51-year-old man unconscious and unresponsive with abrasions to his neck, the New York City Police Department said. Emergency medical officials pronounced the victim, identified as Leon Little, dead at the scene. ...

Two snowmobilers die, one rescued after plunging into Montana lake

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 09:37
(Reuters) - Two men died and a third was rescued from a Montana lake when their snowmobiles plunged into the ice-covered body of water as they attempted to cross to the other side, local officials said Saturday. A group of five male snowmobilers were traversing a frozen patch of Seeley Lake, in western Montana, on Friday evening, but only two of them made it across, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office said. One man was "was saved by a friend in his group that belly-crawled on ice to recover him from the water," the sheriff's office said. ...

School bans 'I Can't Breathe' T-shirts at tournament

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 09:03

A high school basketball tournament on the Northern California coast has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing protests over police killings of unarmed black men after a school was disinvited because of concerns its players would wear T-shirts printed with the words "I Can't Breathe" during warmups.

Syria 'ready to participate' in Moscow peace talks

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 08:21

DAMASCUS (AP) — Syrian state-run TV said Saturday that the government is prepared to take part in peace talks hosted by Russia next month, but the unnamed foreign ministry official it cited suggested the scope of the negotiations would be limited to "preliminary" talks meant to pave the way for a conference in Syria itself.

Five people stabbed in Washington restaurant

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 07:25
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five people were stabbed early on Saturday in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., police said. The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. at McFadden's, a popular restaurant and nightclub on Pennsylvania Avenue, eight blocks from the White House in the nation's capital. All five victims were taken to hospital with knife wounds, a police spokesman said Saturday. Their identities have not been released. Police said the stabbing happened inside the bar. Photos posted on Twitter Saturday show a blood-splattered sidewalk. Calls to McFadden's requesting comment were not returned. ...

Death penalty states unmoved by botched execution

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 07:09

Oklahoma's last execution went so badly that the state tried to cancel it before it was over. With the inmate writhing while the lethal drugs seeped into his body, his executioners drew the viewing gallery curtains, concealing what the warden later described as "a bloody mess."

AP-Times Square poll: Most feeling good about 2015

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 23:26

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Nearly half predict that 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was, while only 1 in 10 think it will be worse. There's room for improvement: Americans give the year gone by a resounding 'meh.'

Mayor, VP Biden to speak at slain NYPD officer's funeral

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 21:14

Thousands of people are expected to attend the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos.

N. Korea blames U.S. for Internet outages, insults Obama

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 19:46

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea called President Barack Obama "a monkey" and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy "The Interview."

Mourners gather for slain New York policeman

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 17:00

By Jonathan Allen and Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police officers in dress uniform and other mourners joined a somber, four-block line outside a New York City church on Friday for the wake of one of two officers shot by a man who said he was avenging the killing of unarmed black men by police. Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were slain last Saturday afternoon while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. ...

Oregon mother calls daughter's East Timor release 'Christmas present'

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 16:33
By Alex Dobuzinskis (Reuters) - The mother of an Oregon woman newly freed from two months of imprisonment in East Timor said on Friday that news of her daughter's release was a "fantastic Christmas present," but it remained uncertain how soon she could return to the United States. Bernadette Kero, 64, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, said she last spoke to her daughter, Dr. Stacey Addison, two nights earlier, just after she was let out of prison in Dili, the capital of the Southeast Asian country also known as Timor-Leste. ...

Will 'The Interview' change how Hollywood does business?

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 13:54

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Interview" was never supposed to be a paradigm-shifting film. But unusual doesn't even begin to describe the series of events that transpired over the past few weeks, culminating in the truly unprecedented move by a major studio to release a film in theaters and on digital platforms simultaneously.

Former 'Saved by the Bell' actor Dustin Diamond arrested in Wisconsin

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 13:48
(Reuters) - Former "Saved by the Bell" actor Dustin Diamond, who played the nerdy "Screech" on the high school sitcom, has been arrested for stabbing a man with a switchblade at a bar north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police said on Friday. Dustin Diamond, 37, and his girlfriend were arrested shortly after they drove away from the Grand Ave Saloon in the town of Port Washington following the altercation on Thursday night, police said in a statement. ...

Fellow officers salute New York City cop's flag-draped casket

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 11:33

Hundreds of officers join the wife and sons of Officer Rafael Ramos.

Islamic State claims Iraq suicide bombing that killed 38

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 10:04

The Islamic State group on Friday claimed it carried out a suicide bombing south of Baghdad that targeted Sunni fighters who oppose the jihadists, in which 38 people were killed. IS spearheaded a sweeping militant offensive that has overrun much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland since June -- areas that Shiite-led government forces have sought local Sunni help to recapture. The Sahwa, or "Awakening" in Arabic, dates back to the height of the US-led war in Iraq, when Sunni tribesmen joined forces with the Americans to battle insurgents including IS's predecessor organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq. The Sahwa were key to greatly but temporarily reducing the violence, but when Iraq's government took over responsibility for their salaries they were sometimes paid late or not at all.

Long-delayed U.S. high-speed rail plans may ride on Texas express

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 10:02

By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - With high-speed rail in the United States long on plans and short on construction, a Texas company is aiming to fast-track service between Dallas and Houston. The Texas Central Railway Company plans to use private investment and Central Japan Railway bullet train technology to run a line between two of the largest U.S. cities. Company officials say service could begin in 2021. ...

China's likely role in North Korea's cyber prowess

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 08:46

North Korea may be facing explosive hacking accusations, but analysts are questioning how an isolated, impoverished country with limited Internet access could wage cyber sabotage -- and many experts believe China plays a role. The US has accused Pyongyang of hacking Sony Pictures, which was intimidated into initially cancelling the comedy film "The Interview" that mocks North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, before deciding to release it online and in selected US cinemas on Christmas Day. While much of the focus has been on the so-called cyber warfare between Washington and Pyongyang -- especially after North Korea's Internet temporarily went down -- many analysts speculate China is a necessary partner in facilitating any attack by the North. "North Korea's cyber capacity relies on Chinese support in terms of both hardware and software," Willy Lam, a politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told AFP.

Mourners to gather for slain New York policeman

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 08:46

By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of mourners were due to gather at a New York City church on Friday to pay their respects for one of two policemen shot by a gunman who said he was avenging the killings this summer of unarmed black men by white officers. Targeted for their uniform, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were slain last weekend while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The two officers had been reassigned from another precinct following complaints about violent crime from residents at a housing project. ...

Senator to reveal major decision in March

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 07:05

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'll decide by March whether to launch a 2016 presidential campaign and, if so, whether he'll seek the Democratic nomination. Either way, Sanders says he wouldn't run just to nudge the debate to the left.