Police departments on alert after cop killings NEW YORK (AP) - Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car. The slayings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide, though there is no evidence any threats are imminent. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs" as retaliation for the slayings of black men at the hands of white police.
Experts expect surge in Cuba tourism under Obama opening HAVANA (AP) - As the U.S. and Cuba begin to normalize relations for the first time in half a century, some Americans are already roaming the streets of Old Havana, attending dance exhibitions and talks on architecture as they take part in scripted cultural tours that can cost more than a decent used car back home. The U.S. visitors are participants in the highly regulated "people-to-people" travel that President Barack Obama permitted in 2011 in one of his first moves toward detente with Cuba. The program aims to increase interaction with ordinary Cubans without creating uncomfortable images of Americans lounging on beaches in a single-party state. The tours tend to attract people sympathetic to improving ties with President Raul Castro's government.
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. POLICE DEPARTMENTS ON ALERT AFTER COP KILLINGS
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AP poll: Police killings of blacks voted top story of 2014 NEW YORK (AP) - The police killings of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere - and the investigations and tumultuous protests they inspired - was the top news story of 2014, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors. In a year crowded with dramatic and often wrenching news developments around the world, the No. 2 story was the devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, followed by the conflict in Iraq and Syria fueled by the brutal actions of Islamic State militants.
N. Korean cinema: Kidnappings and evil Americans SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea hates the currently scrapped Hollywood film that revolves around the assassination of its beloved leader, but the country has had a long love affair with cinema - of its own particular styling. In the six decades since North Korea began to cultivate its own film industry, a South Korean director and his movie star wife have been kidnapped, a Godzilla-inspired monster movie has bombed at the box office in the South, American defectors have hammed it up in anti-U.S. propaganda films - and there has even been a foray into "girl power" cinema with the more recent "Comrade Kim Goes Flying."
Ariz. sheriff aims to halt Obama immigration order WASHINGTON (AP) - A gadfly attorney and an Arizona county sheriff want to halt President Barack Obama's immigration order in the first courtroom battle over an initiative designed to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation. On Monday, lawyer Larry Klayman will try to convince a judge nominated by Obama that the immigration system isn't really broken - contrary to what the president says.
Iraq TV show makes 'terrorists' confront victims BAGHDAD (AP) - Haider Ali Motar was convicted of terrorism charges about a month ago for helping to carry out a string of Baghdad car bombings on behalf of the Islamic State extremist group. Now, the 21-year old is a reluctant cast member in a popular reality TV show. "In the Grip of the Law," brings convicted terrorists face-to-face with victims in surreal encounters and celebrates the country's beleaguered security forces. The show, produced by state-run Iraqiyya TV, is among dozens of programs, cartoons and musical public service announcements aimed at shoring up support for the troops after their humiliating defeat last summer at the hands of the Islamic State group, which now controls about a third of the country.
Pope issues blistering critique of Vatican bureaucracy VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from "spiritual Alzheimer's" that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God. Francis' Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalogue of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.
Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India RORO VILLAGE, India (AP) - Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, hazardous piles of broken rocks and powdery dust left behind. In Roro Village and other settlements below, people who never worked in the mines are dying of lung disease. Yet in a country that treats asbestos as a savior that provides cheap building materials for the poor, no one knows the true number and few care to ask.
Seattle could be back in Arizona for Super Bowl GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The way they are playing, the Seattle Seahawks could well be back in Arizona in a month or so. The Super Bowl will be played in the same stadium where the Seahawks dominated the Cardinals 35-6 on Sunday night.