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.
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 Thursday, many Cubans expressed hope 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.
8 children killed, mother stabbed, in Australia SYDNEY (AP) - Eight dead children and a woman suffering from stab wounds were found inside a home in a northern Australian city on Friday, police said. Queensland state police said they were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries.When police got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside, ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years.
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Companies' data security in question after Sony hack ATLANTA (AP) - Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being the next company brought to its knees by hackers like those that executed the dramatic cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated in the cancellation of a Sony film and ultimately could cost the movie studio hundreds of millions of dollars. That the hack included terrorist threats and was focused on causing major corporate damage, rather than on stealing customer information for fraud like in the breaches at Home Depot and Target, indicates a whole new frontier has emerged in cybersecurity. Suddenly every major company could be the target of cyberextortion.
Will artists skip studio support after Sony scandal? LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sony's decision to cancel "The Interview" in the face of terrorist threats is already affecting the way Hollywood does business. It has outraged artists, killing their faith in studios to release edgy content. But it's also inspired a rare hush across a usually chatty industry as everyone from moguls to makeup artists takes stock of the scandal and how it could affect their jobs. Actors, filmmakers, politicians and pundits roundly denounced Sony's decision on Wednesday to nix "The Interview" in response to theater owners' refusal to show the Christmas release in light of threats invoking 9/11. But after venting on social media, Hollywood mostly went quiet.
Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attacker ISLAMABAD (AP) - A Pakistani prosecutor says the government will try to cancel the bail granted to the main suspect in the Mumbai terror attacks. Special public prosecutor Abu Zar Peerzada said he would appeal to the High Court to cancel the bail given to Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi on Thursday by an anti-terrorism court.
In Lebanon, Syrian newborns risk statelessness BEIRUT (AP) - Nearly 30,000 Syrian children born as refugees in Lebanon are in a legal limbo, not registered with any government, exposing them to the risk of a life of statelessness deprived of basic rights. It is a problem that is replicated, to varying degrees, in nations across the Middle East where more than 3.3 million Syrians have found safe haven from the intractable civil war in their homeland.
Judge: Slender Man stabbing defendants competent WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - Two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please a fantasy character called Slender Man are mentally fit to stand trial on attempted homicide charges, a judge ruled Thursday. Experts for the state concluded that both girls would be able to assist in their own defenses but their attorneys disagreed with the findings. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren sided with the state during back-to-back hearings to decide the issue Thursday.
Brazil graft cases: Beginning of impunity's end? RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - A federal investigation into a kickback scheme at Brazil's state oil company has, so far, ensnared 30 executives. In Sao Paulo, prosecutors accuse 33 businessmen of running a "cartel" to profit from the city's subway system. And in perhaps the most stunning turn of all, the oil and mining tycoon who once was Brazil's richest billionaire is on trial for something that, until recently, was not even seen as a crime: profiting from inside information.