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New South Wales police officers guard a post near the fenced-off site of the siege at the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, on Wednesday.

Australia orders sweeping investigation after deadly hostage siege

By Matt Siegel, Reuters on Dec. 17, 2014, at 9:17 p.m.
SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday ordered a sweeping investigation into a deadly hostage siege after tough new security laws and the courts failed to stop a convicted felon from walking into a Sydney cafe with a concealed shotgun. Three people were killed, including hostage-taker Man Haron …
Mohammed Anas, 14, who survived an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, talks to his visitors as he lies on a hospital bed on Wednesday in Peshawar.

Anger and grief as Pakistan buries students massacred at school

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters on Dec. 17, 2014, at 9:13 p.m.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan on Wednesday began burying 132 students killed in a grisly attack on their school by Taliban militants that has heaped pressure on the government to do more to tackle an increasingly aggressive Taliban insurgency. The authorities, long accused of not being tough enough on extremists, quickly …
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American aid worker Alan Gross (3rd R) disembarks with his wife Judy (4th L) from a U.S. government plane as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland outside Washington December 17, 2014 in this photo tweeted by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). U.S. President Barack Obama was set to announce a shift in policy toward Cuba on Wednesday and the Associated Press reported the changes would include the opening of an embassy in Cuba and the start of talks to normalize relations.

US, Cuba to restore diplomatic relations after 50 years as American prisoner returns home

By Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland, Reuters on Dec. 17, 2014, at 11:34 a.m.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island. After 18 months of secret talks facilitated by the Vatican and Canada, Obama and Cuban President Raul …
Cars drive past a banner featuring five Cuban prisoners held in U.S. custody, two of whom were previously released, in Havana Dec. 17, 2014. President Barack Obama was set to announce a shift in policy toward Cuba on Wednesday and the Associated Press reported the changes would include the opening of an embassy in Cuba and the start of talks to normalize relations.

Obama to announce major Cuba policy overhaul; prisoners swapped

By Daniel Trotta and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters on Dec. 17, 2014, at 11:14 a.m.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama was set to announce a major shift in policy toward Cuba on Wednesday, which would include the opening of an embassy in Havana and the start of talks to normalize relations, officials and media said. The shift in policy, set to be one of the …

Kerry says Russia sanctions could end if Putin takes right steps

By Lesley Wroughton, Reuters on Dec. 17, 2014, at 8:30 a.m.
LONDON — Russia has made constructive moves in recent days toward reducing tensions in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday, and he raised the possibility that Washington could lift sanctions if Moscow keeps taking positive steps. Speaking in London, Kerry said the United States and Europe could …

Filmmaker Polanski’s lawyers want sex crime case closed

By Eric Kelsey, Reuters on Dec. 16, 2014, at 8:06 a.m.
LOS ANGELES — Lawyers for filmmaker Roman Polanski have launched a new bid to have the Oscar winner’s 37-year-old child sex case closed, which would allow “The Pianist” director to travel freely without the threat of extradition. Polanski’s attorneys filed a motion Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking a …
A man carries a student, who was injured during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, after he received treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, December 16, 2014.

Taliban go on killing spree at Pakistan school, 132 students dead

By Jibran Ahmad and Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters on Dec. 16, 2014, at 5:58 a.m.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen broke into a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years. More than eight hours after militants slipped …
To learn more about how the herpes virus and warmer ocean water affects Pacific oysters, researchers at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the University of Tasmania are using dental gum to attach heart-rate monitors to a half-dozen of the bivalves.

Oyster herpes’, warming oceans devastating $4 billion industry

By Phoebe Sedgman, Bloomberg on Dec. 15, 2014, at 10 p.m.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Herpes has devastated 26 percent of France’s oyster production since the summer of 2008. Halfway around the world in Australia, the virus killed 10 million oysters in three days. Researchers suspect climate change risks compounding the losses. To learn more about how the virus and warmer ocean …
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome on Dec. 15, 2014. Netanyahu said before talks on Monday with Kerry that he would defy any United Nations move to "dictate" a time frame for withdrawal from land Palestinians seek for a state.

Israel seeks to ally with US to quash Palestinian statehood drive

By Lesley Wroughton, Reuters on Dec. 15, 2014, at 6:03 p.m.
ROME — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday sought assurances from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood. “Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution …
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with the President's Export Council at the White House in Washington Dec. 11, 2014. Obama expressed caution on Thursday about the possibility of the United States adding more sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Ukraine because it could cause divide Washington and Europe.

White House grappling with call for new sanctions against Russia

By Patricia Zengerle, Reuters on Dec. 15, 2014, at 3:50 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has not yet made a decision on whether the president will sign a bill authorizing new sanctions against Russia over its activities in Ukraine, a senior administration official said on Monday. “We are looking at the bill now,” the official said in an email. The …
A hostage runs towards a police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages are being held, in Martin Place in central Sydney December 15, 2014. Two more hostages have run out of the cafe at the center of a siege in Sydney, Australia's largest city, according to a Reuters witness at the site.

Gunman killed in Sydney cafe siege was ‘well-known’ to authorities

By Lincoln Feast and Colin Packham, Reuters on Dec. 15, 2014, at 6:10 a.m.
SYDNEY — Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning and freed a number of hostages in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people, including the attacker, were killed. Police have not publicly identified the gunman, but a police source named him …
A New South Wales state police officer is seen at a corner near Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney on Monday (local time). Hostages were being held inside the central Sydney cafe where a black flag with white Arabic writing could be seen in the window, local television showed on Monday, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants.

Hostages held in Sydney cafe, Islamic flag seen in window

By Matt Siegel, Reuters on Dec. 14, 2014, at 8:03 p.m.
SYDNEY — Dozens of hostages were trapped inside a central Sydney cafe on Monday, with local television showing some being forced to hold up a black flag with white Arabic writing in the window, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned …
The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech at the 108th anniversary of Indian Merchant Chambers in Mumbai in September.

Pope declines private meeting with Dalai Lama, citing Chinese relation woes

By Philip Pullella, Reuters on Dec. 13, 2014, at 3:49 p.m.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has denied a private audience to the Dalai Lama because it could harm the Holy See’s already fraught relations with China, the Vatican said on Friday. The request was declined “for obvious reasons concerning the delicate situation” with China, a Vatican spokesman said. The Dalai …

Shrinking psych hospitals may be linked with rising prison populations

By Reuters on Dec. 13, 2014, at 11:18 a.m.
Reducing the number of beds in facilities for psychiatric patients is linked to an increase in prison populations, according to a new study. Prison population rose as the number of psychiatric beds decreased since 1990 among six South American countries, researchers found. “This is clearly not a definitive study that …

Research: Improve water and sanitation in clinics to reduce maternal deaths

By Magdalena Mis, Reuters on Dec. 12, 2014, at 4:31 p.m.
LONDON — Boosting water and sanitation investments in hospitals and clinics in low income countries is essential to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, according to research published on Friday. Many women in developing countries give birth at home, often without access to clean water and toilets, exposing themselves and their …
A view shows city rooftops and chimney stacks of residential apartment buildings in Paris December 9, 2014. A ban on wood-burning fires in Paris and the surrounding region is planned for January 1, 2015 as a measure to fight air pollution.

Defiant Parisians stock up on logs even as chimney fire ban looms

By Reuters Staff, Reuters on Dec. 12, 2014, at 3:48 p.m.
PARIS — Parisians are stocking up on logs and kindling despite a looming ban on open-hearth chimney fires, with many vowing to keep their hearths alight through the winter — even in secret if necessary. Nine local authorities in the greater Paris region have signed the ban, due to go …

Burger King’s move to Canada could save up to $1.2 billion in US taxes, report says

By Ina Paiva Cordle, Miami Herald on Dec. 12, 2014, at 2:19 p.m.
MIAMI — Burger King’s plan to base its corporate parent in Canada with the acquisition of Tim Hortons will allow the company and its top shareholders to “dodge” $400 million to $1.2 billion in U.S. taxes from 2015 to 2018, according to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness. Miami-based …

Lima climate talks at crossroads on ways to fighting warming

By Alister Doyle and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters on Dec. 12, 2014, at 2:16 p.m.
LIMA — About 190 nations were at a crossroads about how boldly to combat global warming on the final day of United Nations talks in Lima on Friday amid fears that low ambition could undermine a U.N. climate summit in Paris next year. The Dec. 1-12 talks, which opened with …
A passenger watches airplanes from Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport in London in this July 2014 file photo.

Air traffic control failure disrupts flights over Britain

By David Milliken and Paul Sandle, Reuters on Dec. 12, 2014, at 12:08 p.m.
LONDON — Flights to and from London were severely disrupted on Friday by a technical failure at England’s main air traffic control center that forced authorities to limit access to the country’s airspace. Flights in and out of Heathrow, which calls itself the world’s busiest international airport, were halted for …
A firefighter stands close to the remains of a train wreckage in Lac Megantic in this file photo from July 8, 2013. A meeting between U.S. and Canadian officials is in the works to resolve differences in opinion on rail safety standards to prevent accidents like that in Lac-Megantic.

US, Canada officials to meet on oil train safety

By Patrick Rucker and David Ljunggren, Reuters on Dec. 11, 2014, at 4:05 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Top transportation officials from Canada and the United States are due to meet next week to hash out differences about safety regulations for trains that carry oil, sources familiar with the planned meeting said on Thursday. Both governments are drafting safety rules for trains that move fuel from …
 
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