Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US HAVANA (AP) - The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States has unleashed expectations of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings. On the first full day after the surprise announcement, many Cubans expressed hope Thursday that it will mean greater access to jobs and the creature comforts taken for granted elsewhere, and lift a struggling socialist economy where staples like meat, cooking oil and toilet paper are often hard to come by.
Spy's parents search for son after Cuba-US deal HAVANA (AP) - The parents of convicted spy Rolando Sarraff Trujillo feared the worst when their son failed to call home from prison and they were told he had been taken away at dawn. But officials assured the couple that their son was now better off. Sarraff was publicly identified by a former intelligence official in the United States on Thursday as the unnamed spy traded for three Cuban intelligence agents jailed in the United States, one who U.S. President Barack Obama hailed as one of Washington's most valuable assets.
10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. SPY'S PARENTS SEARCH FOR SON AFTER CUBA-U.S. DEAL
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Hack attack spurs call for more NKorea sanctions WASHINGTON (AP) - Suspicions that North Korea was behind a destructive hacking attack against Sony Pictures and a threat against movie theaters are intensifying calls for tougher U.S. steps to cut that country's access to hard currency and declare it once more as a state sponsor of terrorism. At first glance, U.S. options for responding to the hacking attack are limited. Bringing the shadowy hackers to justice appears a distant prospect. A U.S. cyber-retaliation against North Korea would risk a dangerous escalation. And North Korea is already targeted by a raft of sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.
5 topics for Obama's year-end news conference 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. Obama's sixth year in office was a difficult one. His faced foreign policy crises in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, lost Democratic control of the Senate and saw his approval rating plummet.
Pakistan: 77 militants killed after school massacre ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistani warplanes and ground forces killed at least 77 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said Friday, days after Taliban fighters killed 148 people - most of them children - in a school massacre. Meanwhile, a Pakistani prosecutor said the government will try to cancel the bail granted to the main suspect in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks - a decision that outraged neighboring India and called into question Pakistan's commitment to fighting militancy.
James Holmes' parents plead against death penalty DENVER (AP) - The parents of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes are pleading for him to be spared the death penalty. In a letter to The Denver Post published Friday, Robert and Arlene Holmes say they have always loved their son and do not want him to be executed.
No word yet from Fidel amid historic US-Cuba shift HAVANA (AP) - Amid the excitement over the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, one person has been conspicuously absent: Fidel Castro. The former Cuban president hasn't made any public comment about the announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility.
8 children killed, mother stabbed, in Australia SYDNEY (AP) - The bodies of eight children - aged 18 months to 15 years - and a wounded woman were discovered in a home in northern Australia on Friday, police said. Police in Australia do not typically name suspects. Police did say they do not believe a murderer is at large and that they were talking to the woman, who was found stabbed in the chest. She is believed to be the mother of seven of the dead children, police said.