Police departments on alert after NYC cops killed 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 killings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs" as retaliation for the deaths of black men at the hands of white police.
Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats 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 catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.
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.
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10 years after tsunami, victim's mom learns body wasn't lost SEINT PAING, Myanmar (AP) - Of all the moments to chase a dream, May Aye Nwe chose the morning of Dec. 26, 2004. A child of rural Myanmar, she boarded a small boat seeking a better life in Thailand, just as the Indian Ocean tsunami raced in.
Late at night, Christie doing 2016 foreign policy homework NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - It's after 9 p.m. on a Sunday night in late November and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is deep into a conference call, talking about nuclear weapons and Iran. One voice is advocating a hard line, arguing against allowing Iran any capability to enrich uranium. Another summarizes the status of current negotiations and argues that forcing Iran to give up enrichment entirely isn't realistic.
Big changes coming to Cuba tourism with US opening HAVANA (AP) - U.S. tourists are roaming the streets of Old Havana, listening to lectures on Art Deco architecture and meeting with jazz musicians. What they aren't doing yet - at least most of the time - is lounging in the sun and sipping mojitos at white-sand-beach resorts. American citizens have been allowed to visit Cuba on such "people to people" trips since 2011, one of President Barack Obama's first moves toward detente with the communist-run island - provided their scheduled activities are sufficiently educational, and down time is kept to a minimum.
AP-GfK Poll: Cards, gifts cross religious lines WASHINGTON (AP) - Christmastime is here and a new poll reveals the cards and gifts that are part of celebrating the holiday are ubiquitous, even among those who don't share the Christian beliefs behind the story of the Magi who gave the first Christmas gifts. According to the Associated Press-GfK poll, 77 percent of Americans plan to exchange gifts this holiday season and 48 percent will send greeting cards. The gift-giving set includes about 8 in 10 Christians and 73 percent of those who say they have no religious beliefs.
Judge seems skeptical of challenge to Obama immigration plan WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge seems skeptical of a lawsuit that seeks to halt President Barack Obama's immigration plan to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell heard arguments Monday in a case brought by an Arizona sheriff who claims the program will let more illegal immigrants enter the country and commit crimes, burdening law enforcement.
Australia family found after 10 days in wilderness SYDNEY (AP) - A 5-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother were recovering in a hospital Monday after surviving with their father for 10 days in the Australian wilderness with little food and in weather conditions that ranged from stormy to scorching. Their ordeal began Dec. 11 when dad Steven Van Lonkhuyzen took a wrong turn during a family road trip and then got his four-wheel-drive vehicle bogged in mud. The family was rescued Sunday after farmer Tom Wagner went searching and found them in the remote Expedition National Park.
China indicts Jackie Chan's son on drug charge BEIJING (AP) - Chinese prosecutors on Monday indicted the son of Hong Kong action film star Jackie Chan on the charge of sheltering others to use drugs, more than four months after he was detained. If convicted, singer-actor Jaycee Chan could be jailed for up to three years.