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AP Top International News At 6 p.m. EST

Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US
HAVANA (AP) -- The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States unleashed expectations Thursday of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings....

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle clues in the hacking tools left behind and the involvement of at least one computer in Bolivia previously traced to other attacks blamed on the North Koreans....

Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear
MOSCOW (AP) -- Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years....

European court rules obesity can be a disability
LONDON (AP) -- Obesity can be a disability, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday - a decision that could have widespread consequences across the 28-nation bloc for the way in which employers deal with severely overweight staff....

Analysis: New focus on how Pakistan will address militancy
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Many wonder if the attack that killed 148 people at a Pakistani school will be a watershed in the country's long, conflicted history with Islamic militancy....

Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185 in an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April, witnesses said Thursday....

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....

Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile
WASHINGTON (AP) -- How does one end almost 54 years of hostility toward a next-door neighbor?...

Pope Benedict helped free American from Cuba
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the U.S. and Cuba together and free U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists....

EU leaders agree to fund for jumpstarting growth
BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union leaders agreed Thursday to create a strategic investment fund that could generate up to 315 billion euros ($386 billion) in private- and public-sector money to upgrade infrastructure, jumpstart the EU's sluggish economies and ignite job growth....

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AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
World Video
Up to the Minute
Africa
Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

Asia
Analysis: New focus on how Pakistan will address militancy

Europe
World War II bomb defused in German city

Latin America/Caribbean
Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

Middle East
Iraqi Kurdish troops battling IS open key corridor in Iraq