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AP Top News at 12:25 p.m. EST

Sony cyberattack may be costliest ever
NEW YORK (AP) - The unprecedented hack of Sony Pictures which a U.S. official says is linked to North Korea may be the most damaging cyberattack ever inflicted on an American business. The fallout from the hack that exposed a trove of sensitive documents, and this week escalated to threats of terrorism, forced Sony to cancel release of the North Korean spoof movie "The Interview." The studio's reputation is in tatters as embarrassing revelations spill from tens of thousands of leaked emails and other company materials.


Sony film took aim at North Korea's biggest taboo
TOKYO (AP) - If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons. No country would welcome a movie portraying the glib and graphic assassination of its leader.


Obama reignites political debate over Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) - The surprising move by President Barack Obama to restore U.S. ties with Cuba reignited long-simmering political passions over the fate of the island nation, reinforcing yet another difference between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and several Republicans eyeing bids for the White House. Yet even in Florida, the nation's most essential swing state, those distinctions may not matter as much as they once did amid an increasingly diverse electorate of Hispanic voters and younger Cuban-Americans, many of whom do not share the same fervor to depose Cuba's Castro brothers as their parents and grandparents.


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Exiles divided on plans to thaw US-Cuba relations
MIAMI (AP) - When Cuban and American leaders announced they would restore diplomatic relations after a standoff lasting more than a half-century, all eyes in the U.S. immediately turned to Miami, where many expected the country's largest population of Cuban exiles to pour angrily into the streets. Outrage was decidedly muted, however, with only a handful of demonstrations, while some of the expatriates known for their support of isolationist tactics actually expressed support for the changes.


10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos
Here's your look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see. This week's collection includes a man standing by tombstones outside Bucharest, Romania; Shiite faithful pilgrims gathering for Arbaeen in Karbala, Iraq; a panda mother playing with her triplet cubs in south China's Guangdong province; and a hostage running for safety in Sydney, Australia.


AP IMPACT: Abused kids die as authorities fail to protect
BUTTE, Montana (AP) - At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities - many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found. To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia and all branches of the military - circumventing a system that does a terrible job of accounting for child deaths. Many states struggled to provide numbers. Secrecy often prevailed.


Tsarnaev lawyer says he plans to seek trial delay
BOSTON (AP) - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and his lawyer said the defense will ask to delay his upcoming trial. Tsarnaev also received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings.


Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence
NEW YORK (AP) - Federal prosecutors sued New York City on Thursday to speed the pace of reforms at the Rikers Island jail complex and address what a Justice Department investigation found was a "deep-seated culture of violence" against young inmates. The move comes a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the 10-jail lockup to announce the end of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates, a policy change initiated after the 2 1/2-year federal probe released in August.


Q&A: Drones might help explain how tornadoes form
DENVER (AP) - Researchers say they have collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now, they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how tornadoes form. Drones can penetrate parts of weather systems that other instruments can't reach, and they can do it at less cost and with less danger than piloted planes, the scientists say.


Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of 'Late Late Show'
NEW YORK (AP) - It's not such a great day, America - not for fans of Craig Ferguson. Ferguson, television's kinetic Scottish cutup, on Friday brings to a close his decade-long run as host of CBS' "The Late Late Show."