Target: 40M card accounts may be breached Target says about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may be affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. The chain said customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.
Putin to pardon jailed tycoon Khodorkovsky MOSCOW (AP) - Jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky will be pardoned, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday in a surprise decision that will let his top foe and Russia's formerly richest man out of prison after more than a decade. The move, along with an amnesty for the two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band and the 30-member crew of a Greenpeace protest ship, appears designed to assuage international criticism of Russia's rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Putin's pet project.
Egypt: Mubarak's sons, PM acquitted of corruption CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian court on Thursday acquitted former leader Hosni Mubarak's two sons and his last prime minister of corruption charges, a verdict announced just hours after security forces arrested a prominent activist as part of an intensifying crackdown against icons of the nation's 2011 uprising. The Cairo criminal court found Gamal and Alaa Mubarak and Ahmed Shafiq innocent of corruption in a case that arose from the 1995 sale of a plot of land to Mubarak's sons by an association led at the time by the former prime minister. Prosecutors claim the land was sold to the two at a price lower than its market value and were given a larger plot than what was stated in the contract.
Watch Top News Video
UN finds systematic disappearances in Syria GENEVA (AP) - A U.N. panel reported Thursday it believes the Syrian government is committing a crime against humanity by making people systematically vanish, and that rebels have also recently begun making their opponents disappear. The expert panel said it found "a consistent country-wide pattern" of Syrian security, armed forces and pro-government militia seizing people in mass arrests or house searches and at checkpoints and hospitals, then making them disappear - and denying that they even exist. Most of the victims have been young men.
Pa. pastor defrocked after performing gay wedding NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - United Methodist church officials defrocked a pastor from central Pennsylvania on Thursday who officiated his son's gay wedding in Massachusetts, a move seen as contradictory to the denomination's beliefs. The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon had already been suspended when he met with church officials to determine whether he would continue as a pastor.
A mistreated maid? Or a profound insult? NEW DELHI (AP) - In New York, it looked like a straightforward case: an obscure young diplomat at the Indian consulate was accused of lying on visa forms so she could bring her maid to the U.S., paying her less than $3 an hour. The diplomat was arrested, processed through the legal system like anyone else and quickly freed on bail. In India, though, the hours that Devyani Khobragade spent in custody have set off a diplomatic storm. Government officials roared about her public arrest, particularly her strip search. Cabinet ministers warned of international conspiracies. An Indian official compared the search to a gang rape. Heavy concrete security barriers were dragged by police from around the U.S. Embassy. The Indian media fumed over the country's humiliation.
Brazil: Waiting for more details on NSA changes RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazil's foreign minister says the Brazilian government is eager to hear from the U.S. government about proposed changes to U.S. surveillance programs. Luiz Figueiredo said Thursday that Brazil is "following with interest" the action in the U.S. over the National Security Agency's espionage program, of which Brazil and its president were targets.
Amid spasm of violence, US diplomat in C. Africa BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) - The American ambassador to the United Nations arrived Thursday in Central African Republic in the highest profile American effort to date to spotlight the violence in this impoverished nation, which has claimed hundreds of lives and displaced at least 10 percent of the population. Samantha Power said on the eve of her visit that she was "deeply disturbed" by the killings which have wracked the country since the government was overthrown in March.
Overhaul website problems may trigger price hikes Problems with the government's main health care overhaul website carry a bigger risk than frequent crashes: Higher prices could follow for many Americans if technical troubles scare off young people. The government has touted recent improvements to HeathCare.gov, which millions of Americans are expected to use to sign up for coverage. But enrollment still lags far behind projections, and that has triggered worries that legions of potential customers in their 20s and 30s might not sign up. If that happens - and older, sicker people continue to register in larger numbers - insurers might have to raise future prices to address the imbalance.
Santa's ethnicity in US evolves over years ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Santa Claus may be popularly known as a white-bearded benefactor with Dutch-English origins. But multiethnic versions of Santa are making the rounds out there, too.