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North Korea denies hacking Sony, U.S. stands by its assertion

By Jack Kim and Steve Holland SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea said on Saturday U.S. accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were "groundless slander," and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States. An unnamed spokesman of North Korea's foreign ministry said there would be serious consequences if Washington refused to agree t

U.S. sends four Guantanamo prisoners home to Afghanistan

By Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home, the Pentagon said on Saturday, the latest step in a gradual push by the Obama administration to close the jail. The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its

Cuba says U.S. must respect its communist system

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - President Raul Castro demanded on Saturday that the United States respect Cuba's communist rule as the two countries work to restore diplomatic ties, and warned that Cuban-American exiles might try to sabotage the rapprochement. U.S. President Barack Obama this week reset Washington's Cold War-era policy on Cuba and the two countries swapped prisoners in a his

Yazidis cheer Kurds on Iraqi mountain for breaking Islamic State siege

By Isabel Coles SINJAR MOUNTAIN, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdish fighters flashed victory signs as they swept across the northern side of Sinjar mountain on Saturday, two days after breaking through to free hundreds of Yazidis trapped there for months by Islamic State fighters. A Reuters correspondent, who arrived on the mountain late Saturday, witnessed Kurdish and Yazidi fighters celebrating thei

Putin says Russia won't be intimidated over Crimea

By Vladimir Soldatkin MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will not be intimidated over its actions in Ukraine and Crimea, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday as his foreign ministry warned that it was preparing to retaliate against fresh Western sanctions. Both the European Union and United States adopted tighter restrictions on investments in Crimea this week, while Canada rachetted up its own sanc

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man in police station

PARIS (Reuters) - French police on Saturday shot dead a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is the greatest") who stabbed and wounded three officers in a police station, authorities said. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who rushed to the scene, said the man was killed after he attacked the policemen with a knife in a station in Joue-les-Tours, a suburb of the city of Tours in central France. Ca

Celtic braced for Dundee United backlash

Glasgow (AFP) - Celtic take on Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday and captain Scott Brown expects a tougher test than the last time the two teams met back in August.

N. Korea proposes joint probe with US into Sony cyber attack

North Korea called Saturday for a joint investigation with the US into a crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures, denouncing Washington's "slandering" after President Barack Obama warned Pyongyang of retaliation and the US sought help from China on the issue. The US blames North Korea for the hacking which prompted the cancellation of the Christmas Day release of "The Interview", a madcap romp a

U.S. says consulting UK, Australia, New Zealand on North Korea hack response

By Julia Edwards Honolulu (Reuters) - The Obama administration is consulting the UK, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries in hopes of organizing an international response to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures that it has pinned on North Korea, an administration official told Reuters on Saturday. The U.S. is also consulting South Korea, Japan, China and Russia for help reining in North Ko

North Korea faces UN Security Council scrutiny

North Korea comes under scrutiny Monday at the UN Security Council in the first-ever meeting on its dismal rights record, amid calls for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court. Until now, the top UN body has focused on North Korea's nuclear program as a security threat, but the scope has widened to human rights following the release of a UN commission of inquiry report. US

Uzbekistan votes in parliamentary polls

President Karimov has transferred some powers to parliament in recent years, including a mechanism for a vote of no confidence in the government and allowing the party with the majority of seats to nominate the prime minister. Four parties -- the Liberal Democratic Party, People's Democratic Party, the Democratic Party Milly Tiklanish (National Revival) and the Social Democratic Party Adolat (Ju

Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of "serious" consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes would prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack. The proposal was seen by analysts as a typical ploy by the North to try to show that it is sincere, even though i

Two New York policemen 'assassinated'

Two New York police officers were shot dead in broad daylight as they sat in a patrol car by an assailant who then killed himself, officials and reports said. "Today, two of New York's finest were shot and killed with no warning, no provocation," police commissioner Bill Bratton told a news conference. The two officers were "ambushed and murdered" -- shot in the head -- as they sat in the front tw

Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles are on the brink of elimination from the playoff race after a 27-24 loss to the Washington Redskins in the NFL on Saturday.

Craig Ferguson says good night as 'Late Late Show' host

NEW YORK (AP) — Scottish-born comedian Craig Ferguson has enjoyed his last hoorah after a decade as host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS.

Prosecutors: Fraudster used funds to freeze wife

NEW YORK (AP) — An accused financial fraudster used backers' money for a personal and uncommon purpose, prosecutors say: to have his wife's body cryogenically frozen.

North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of "serious" consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes would prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack.

Egypt's powerful intelligence chief replaced

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's powerful intelligence chief, a longtime mentor of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, was removed and replaced by his deputy, security officials said Saturday

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Saturday that four Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been returned to their home country in what U.S. officials are citing as a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

French police kill 'Allahu Akbar' attacker

Joué-lès-Tours (France) (AFP) - French police on Saturday shot dead a knife-wielding man who attacked three officers in a police station while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"). The man wounded one officer's face at the entrance to the police station in Joue-les-Tours near the central city of Tours and injured two others before he was killed. The attacker "shouted 'Allahu Akbar' from the

Suarez finally scores, Messi nets 2 in Barca win

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Luis Suarez's long wait for a goal in the Spanish league finally ended when he added to Lionel Messi's brace to give Barcelona a 5-0 win over Cordoba on Saturday.

AP source: US seeks China's help after cyberattack

HONOLULU (AP) — The United States is asking China for help as it weighs potential responses to a cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment that the U.S. has blamed on North Korea.

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing executive emails.

U.N.'s Ban hails Obama for 'courageous' Cuba move

BAMAKO (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday for what he called courage and vision in renewing ties with Cuba and said he had asked Washington to pursue such a course. Cuban President Raul Castro also demonstrated leadership in reciprocating the opening, Ban said. Obama announced on Wednesday that the United States would renew diplomatic rel

Australia's walking wounded have extra day to heal

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Australia's four-day defeat of India in the second test gave the cricketers extra time for holiday shopping. And for the home side's various injuries to heal ahead of the third test which begins on Friday in Melbourne.

Guimaraes stumbles 1-0 at Estoril in Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Kleber scored in the 74th minute to give Estoril a 1-0 win at home over Guimaraes in the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Roma held to 0-0 at home by 10-man AC Milan

Roma was held to a goalless draw at home by 10-man AC Milan as its Serie A title ambition took a blow in the final round of the year on Saturday.

PSG draws 0-0 against Montpellier amid booing

Paris Saint-Germain was booed at home in its last match of the year after the defending French league champion was held to a goalless draw by Montpellier on Saturday.

At least one killed in clashes at Gabon opposition rally

A student was killed in clashes at an opposition rally in Gabon's capital, where police fired tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. At least 20 people were arrested in scuffles between police and demonstrators, an AFP journalist saw. Public prosecutor Sidonie Flore Ouwe, who told reporters shops "were ransacked" and cars set on fire in the unre

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist James W. Hardin.


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