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Russian prosecutors want ten years in jail for Kremlin foe Navalny

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny smiles before a court hearing in MoscowBy Maria Tsvetkova and Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian prosecutors said on Friday Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny should be imprisoned for 10 years for stealing 30 million rubles ($500,000) in a case dismissed by critics of President Vladimir Putin as part of his campaign to stifle dissent. Navalny, who led mass protests against Putin three years ago, denies guilt, as does the other defendant in the case, his brother Oleg, for whom the prosecution is seeking eight years in jail. "Life makes no sense if you have to tolerate endless lies. ...


Iran honors nuclear deal with powers, IAEA report shows

IAEA Director General Amano arrives for a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in ViennaVIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has continued to meet its commitments under an interim nuclear deal with six world powers, a confidential United Nations nuclear agency report seen by Reuters showed on Friday. The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran was not enriching uranium above a fissile concentration of 5 percent. It also said Iran had not made "any further advances" to its activities at two enrichment facilities and an unfinished heavy water reactor. ...


Putin says Russia's military doctrine 'remains purely defensive'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia's military doctrine "remained purely defensive" despite what he said was NATO's increased activity in east Ukraine and nearby Russia's borders. "We will stand up for our security consistently and firmly," Putin told a meeting with Russia's Defence Ministry. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Israeli military says Gaza rocket hits Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli military said, in the first such attack since September.

US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2014 file photo a farmer drives his tractor past a soybean field toward grain storage bins near Ladora, Iowa. U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba, and soybeans are one of the main products Cuba now buys from the United States. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. From wheat to rice to beans, the industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama's plan to ease economic and travel restrictions imposed against the communist-ruled island.


FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, center, leaves a hotel to lead a meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. Amid another crisis at FIFA, Blatter will lead an executive committee meeting on Thursday with the sudden resignation of ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia now on the agenda. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — FIFA will not reopen the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and will publish at least some of the confidential report into the bidding process, President Sepp Blatter said Friday.


Obama closing 2014 with year-end news conference

Obama closing 2014 with year-end news conferenceWASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will end his year in Washington with a news conference at which he'll face questions on Cuba, the Sony hacking and how he will work with the Republican Congress.


Libya's Benghazi port still closed, some wheat routed via Tobruk

A Libyan military personnel mans a checkpoint in the city center in BenghaziBENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The commercial port in Libya's second city, Benghazi, remains closed due to fighting between pro-government and Islamist forces, forcing wheat imports to make a detour via Tobruk harbour, a port official said. Benghazi has been a battlefield since May, when former army general Khalifa Haftar declared war on Islamist fighters who had been roaming unchallenged. Its commercial port was still closed for wheat and other imports, a port official said. "Some wheat imports, though in small quantities, come via Tobruk," he said. ...


5 topics for Obama's year-end news conference

People line up to take the bus outside the Capitolio in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. How does one end almost 54 years of hostility toward a next-door neighbor? That’s about to become clear as the Obama administration and the communist government of Raul Castro move to normalize more than a half-century of bitter animosity between the United States and Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)WASHINGTON (AP) — Before President Barack Obama jets off to Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation, he will carry out a White House ritual: the year-end news conference.


Auschwitz victim suitcases get high-tech storage

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Auschwitz museum says some of the victims' 3,800 suitcases have been put into a state-of-the-art protective storage room partly funded by the European Union.

Pakistan's most hated man: volleyball player, child killer

People place pictures of victims of the Pakistan Taliban attack on the Army Public School, during a candle light vigil in IslamabadBy Saud Mehsud DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The most hated man in Pakistan is a 36-year-old father of three and volleyball enthusiast nicknamed "Slim". His real name is Umar Mansoor and the Pakistani Taliban say he masterminded this week's massacre of 132 children and nine staff at a school in Peshawar - the deadliest militant attack in Pakistan's history. A video posted on Thursday on a website used by the Taliban shows a man with a luxuriant chest-length beard, holding an admonishing finger aloft as he seeks to justify the Dec. 16 attack. The caption identified him as Umar Mansoor. ...


Turkey keeps media executive in custody on terrorism charge

A Zaman journalist holds a placard at the headquarters of Zaman daily newspaper in IstanbulISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish court kept a media executive and three other people in custody on Friday pending trial on accusations of belonging to a terrorist group, in a case which President Tayyip Erdogan has defended as a response to "dirty operations" by his enemies. Hidayet Karaca heads Samanyolu Television which is close to the president's ally-turned foe Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric. Erdogan accuses Gulen of seeking to topple him through supporters in the judiciary and police. ...


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