Obama says North Korea hacked Sony, vows response WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. Speaking of executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama said at a year-end news conference, "I wish they had spoken to me first. ... We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship."
No word yet from Fidel amid historic US-Cuba shift HAVANA (AP) - Everyone in Cuba is talking about the startling turn in relations with the United States, with one notable exception: Fidel Castro. So far, the larger-than-life retired Cuban leader has made no public comment on the biggest news in years - that the U.S. and his island nation will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility.
AP WAS THERE: US breaks relations with Cuba EDITOR'S NOTE - When the United States severed its diplomatic relationship with Cuba on Jan. 3, 1961, it kicked off a year in which CIA-funded counterrevolutionaries would try to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and after that, the withdrawal or ouster of almost all American and European media from the island, including The Associated Press' American staff. Isaac M. Flores was the first American AP reporter allowed back into Cuba, in 1965. He said the lack of diplomatic ties and tense relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in those days made reporting all the more difficult. He had to contend with officials who would summon him to their offices after he wrote something they didn't agree with and threaten to revoke his visa. But in an interview from his home in Winter Park, Fla., Flores said he never believed that the schism between the two formerly interdependent countries would last forever.
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Obama cautions that change may be slow to come to Cuba WASHINGTON (AP) - Tempering his historic Cuba policy shift with a dose of realism, President Barack Obama said Friday that change may not come quickly to the communist island. He suggested Congress will keep the U.S. economic embargo in place until lawmakers can gauge the pace of progress in the "hermetically sealed society." Still, Obama's surprise announcement this week that the U.S. was ending its Cold War diplomatic freeze with Cuba appeared to have contributed to energizing the president as he closes a difficult sixth year in office.
Driver pleads not guilty in pedestrian deaths TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) - A woman accused of killing four people, including a 6-year-old boy, while running her car into pedestrians outside a California church appeared in court Friday cuffed to a gurney and pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges. An attorney for Margo Bronstein, 56, entered the plea on her behalf to four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury.
Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children SYDNEY (AP) - An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home. The 37-year-old woman, who is recovering in a hospital from stab wounds, was under guard and speaking with police, Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said. She has not yet been charged.
Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude WASHINGTON (AP) - 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 upcoming presidential election. After weeks of torture that included being subjected to prolonged stress positions and sleep deprivation at a secret site in Romania, the prisoner, Janat Gul, begged to be killed. But he steadfastly denied knowledge of any plot, CIA records show -- leading interrogators to conclude he was not the hardened terrorist they thought he was, and that the informant who fingered him was a liar.
Theater shooter's parents plead for his life DENVER (AP) - The parents of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes begged Friday for his life to be spared through a plea bargain - a move that rekindled the long-running, emotional debate about whether the horrific details of the mass killing should be played out at his upcoming trial. The statement released by Robert and Arlene Holmes emphasized a key legal issue in the tortured history of the case - James Holmes' mental state when he killed 12 people and injured 70 others, and whether he should die if convicted of the crime.
Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan hanged two convicted militants Friday in the country's first executions in years, while warplanes and ground forces pounded insurgent hideouts in a northwest region bordering Afghanistan - part of a stepped-up response to the Taliban slaughter of scores of schoolchildren. Unchastened by criticism from all corners of the globe, the Taliban threatened earlier Friday to kill more children if executions were carried out as promised.
More than 4 million people watched 1st dog telethon LOS ANGELES (AP) - More than 4,400 people filed adoption papers for homeless dogs during what was billed as the first all-star dog adoption telethon, producers say. "If only half of those result in adoptions, that would be huge," director Michael Levitt said.