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Taking stock, Obama looks on bright side

updated: 12/20/2014 4:15 a.m. Discuss

President Barack Obama on Friday rejected critics who said he should not have opened U.S. relations with Cuba because of that nation's human-rights record, saying the historic thaw would give the United States more sway with the Cuban government.

Obama says Sony wrong to cave on threats by hackers

updated: 12/20/2014 4:13 a.m. Discuss

President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony Pictures Entertainment "made a mistake" in shelving a comedy film about a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea and pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacker attack on Sony that the FBI blamed on the communist government.

GAO: U.S. unready for nuclear attack

posted: 12/20/2014 4:03 a.m. Comment 1

The U.S. government isn't fully prepared to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or a large-scale natural catastrophe, congressional investigators have found.

Prosecutor: Ferguson witnesses lied to jurors

posted: 12/20/2014 4:02 a.m. Discuss

Some witnesses before the grand jury that investigated the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown obviously lied under oath, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said Friday.

Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

posted: 12/20/2014 3:58 a.m. Discuss

Health officials are warning consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples because they are linked to four deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states.

EPA issues coal-ash disposal rule

posted: 12/20/2014 3:50 a.m. Discuss

President Barack Obama's administration issued the first rule Friday for coal ash at power plants, drawing complaints from environmentalists for abandoning a proposal to deem it hazardous and to deal with risks at old, abandoned sites.

Report: FBI mishandled, lost evidence

posted: 12/20/2014 3:49 a.m. Discuss

FBI agents in every region of the country have mishandled, mislabeled and lost evidence, according to an internal investigation that discovered errors with nearly half the pieces of evidence it reviewed.

Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude, report says

posted: 12/20/2014 3:47 a.m. Discuss

In July 2004, despite growing internal concerns about the CIA's brutal interrogation methods, senior members of George W. Bush's national security team gave the agency permission to employ the harsh tactics against an al-Qaida facilitator the agency suspected was linked to a plot to disrupt the coming presidential election.

Plea guilty over gun with Tsarnaev link

posted: 12/20/2014 3:46 a.m. Discuss

A man who once possessed the gun that prosecutors believe the Boston Marathon bombing suspects used to kill an MIT police officer pleaded guilty Friday to gun possession and drug charges.

China arrests U.S. aid worker, says he embezzled

posted: 12/20/2014 3:42 a.m. Discuss

A Korean-American aid worker in a Chinese city near North Korea has been arrested on charges of embezzlement and possession of fake invoices, his lawyer said Friday.

Gay marriages soon in Florida

updated: 12/20/2014 3:40 a.m. Comment 1

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday cleared same-sex weddings to start in Florida next month, potentially increasing to 36 the number of states to allow gay marriages as the justices consider whether to rule on the issue nationwide.

The nation in brief

updated: 12/20/2014 3:34 a.m. Discuss

Oklahoma oil-rig fire kills 2, injures 3 COALGATE, Okla. -- An explosion and fire at a southeastern Oklahoma oil rig early Friday killed two workers and injured three others, two of them critically.

Names and faces

posted: 12/20/2014 3:28 a.m. Discuss

Nine years of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report came to an end Thursday night, along with its mythical presiding pundit, as the real-life Stephen Colbert bade the audience farewell.

In the news

updated: 12/20/2014 3:27 a.m. Discuss

Elie Wiesel, 86, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, in recognition of his efforts to reveal the full evil of the Holocaust and defend human dignity.

Spy U.S. got in swap seen as invaluable in rooting out Cuban spies

updated: 12/19/2014 2:44 a.m. Comments 5

He was, in many ways, a perfect spy -- a man so important to Cuba's intelligence apparatus that the information he gave to the CIA paid dividends long after Cuban authorities arrested him and threw him in prison for nearly two decades.

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