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Sheriff to halt squad targeting immigrant ID theft

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants in the country illegally on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases.
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Putin says Russia economy will be cured, offers no remedy

Russian President Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in MoscowBy Timothy Heritage and Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin assured Russians on Thursday that the economy would rebound after the ruble's dramatic slide this year but offered no remedy for a deepening financial crisis. Defiant and confident at a three-hour news conference, Putin blamed the economic problems on external factors and said the crisis over Ukraine was caused by the West, which he accused of building a "virtual" Berlin Wall to contain Russia. …



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Byron Pitts replacing Dan Abrams as ABC ‘Nightline’ anchor

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC News says Byron Pitts is taking over for Dan Abrams as a co-anchor of “Nightline.”
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Germany arrests 3 accused of spying for Turkey

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Thursday that they have arrested three Turkish men accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for Turkish intelligence.
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Kenya legislators exchange blows over new security law

A small group of protesters against the new security law, who managed to get past heavy police cordons preventing demonstrations, are beaten with wooden clubs and arrested by riot police after shouting against the new law, outside the Parliament building in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. Kenyan legislators Thursday exchanged blows on changes to security laws which the government says will help fight terrorism but which critics say are meant to silence dissent by curtailing civil liberties, with opposition legislators throwing the papers on the floor and government supporters hitting and tearing the clothes of an opposition senator. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Fistfights and scuffles broke out in Kenya's parliament Thursday as legislators passed a controversial security measure which the government says will help fight terrorism but which critics say are meant to silence dissent by curtailing civil liberties.



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10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos

AP10ThingsToSee - The uncle and cousin of injured student Mohammad Baqair, center, comfort him as he mourns the death of his mother who was a teacher at the school, which was attacked by Taliban, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing more than 100, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)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.



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Pimco sees global growth ramping up in 2015, boosted by lower oil

By Jennifer Ablan NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pacific Investment Management Co expects global growth to accelerate in 2015 to around 2.75 percent from around plus 2.5 percent this year, on expectations that supply-driven declines in oil prices were fundamentally positive, the bond giant said on Thursday in its year-end Cyclical Forum outlook report. Pimco said its view that the outlook for the U.S. economy is incrementally positive is backed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who participated in Pimco’s Cyclical Forum last week at its headquarters in Newport Beach, California. …
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Ebola: 11th Sierra Leone doctor dies; fire destroys supplies

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 file photo, a healthcare worker dons protective gear before entering an Ebola treatment center in the west of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, confirmed Thursday Dec. 18, 2014, that Dr. Victor Willoughby died earlier in the day after being tested positive for Ebola on Saturday, the 11th doctor in the country to die from the disease that is ravaging West Africa. (AP Photo/Michael Duff, FILE)FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — One of Sierra Leone's most senior physicians died Thursday from Ebola, the 11th doctor in the country to succumb to the disease, a health official said.



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Palestinian leader supports more talks on UN bid

FILE - In this April 1, 2014 file photo Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a leadership meeting in Ramallah. The examples from recent weeks signal that disagreeing with Abbas and his inner circle comes at a price for Palestinians. Critics say that after a decade in power, Abbas has created an increasingly authoritarian system with little room for dissent. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he supports further negotiations over a draft resolution on ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands that was submitted to the U.N. Security Council for a possible vote.



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Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185, fleeing residents said Thursday of an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April.
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Woman, 56, arrested after car slams into crowd

This Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 booking photo released by the Redondo Beach Police Department shows Margo Bronstein, 56, a resident of Redondo Beach that has been arrested for felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Bronstein is suspected of hitting a group of pedestrians, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, outside a Southern California church as a Christmas service ended, killing three people including two women in their 80s and leaving up to nine others injured, police said. (AP Photo/Redondo Beach Police Department)REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A driver suspected of being intoxicated hit a group of pedestrians and another car outside a Southern California church as a Christmas service ended, killing three people and injuring several others including five children, police said.



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Snow monster scares Anderson

Anderson Cooper takes a look at two little boys who were very determined to talk to Santa Claus and a scary snow monster.


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Snow monster scares Anderson

Anderson Cooper takes a look at two little boys who were very determined to talk to Santa Claus and a scary snow monster.


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Amazon launches 1-hour shipping in Manhattan

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says it is offering one-hour delivery of thousands of basic products to its Prime customers in Manhattan.
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US delays release of study on 1953 Iran coup

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is delaying release of a history study because publication could interfere with ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations.
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Lauren Hill to become honorary coach

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2014, file photo, Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives a thumbs-up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The freshman at Mount St. Joseph decided Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014 to give up her playing career after achieving her goal of scoring in a game even as she fights an inoperable brain tumor. Hill will continue raising money for cancer research as she spends time with her family. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman, File)CINCINNATI (AP) — Lauren Hill's basketball career is finished.



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Paul: Trade with Cuba ‘probably a good idea’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that starting to trade with Cuba “is probably a good idea” and that the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island “just hasn’t worked.”
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More US troops going to Iraq in a couple of weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Iraq says additional American troops will begin moving into the country in a couple of weeks to train local forces.
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Drug supplier pleads guilty in MLB doping case

MIAMI (AP) — A man who admitted working as a black market chemist at a garage lab in his suburban home pleaded guilty Thursday to being the main supplier of banned performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball’s most recent steroid scandal.
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NY rapper Bobby Shmurda faces gun, drug charges

FILE -- In this Oct. 30, 2014 file photo, Bobby Shmurda arrives at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Shmurda whose real name is Ackquille Pollard has been arrested in New York City in a gun and narcotics investigation. Authorities said Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, that he was apprehended after leaving a Manhattan recording studio. Several others were also taken into custody. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)NEW YORK (AP) — An up-and-coming rapper who performs under the name Bobby Shmurda will face gun and drug trafficking charges when an arraignment is unsealed in court.



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Iraq wins one-year reprieve on Gulf War reparations due to crisis

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations body agreed on Thursday to let Iraq postpone its final payment of reparations to Kuwait for the 1990-91 Gulf War, in an effort to help ease Baghdad’s cash-strapped budget. The consensus decision, reached by major powers at the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC), means Iraq will have until Jan. 2016 to begin paying its oil-rich neighbor $4.6 billion for oil fields destroyed during its invasion and seven-month occupation. …
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U.S. jobless claims signal firmer labor market; other data mixed

Job seekers adjust their paperwork as they wait in line to attend a job fair in New YorkWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market continued to strengthen.



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Average US 30-year loan rate falls to 3.80 percent

In this photo made Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a for sale by owner sign sits in front of a home in Richardson, Texas. Mortgage company Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year.



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Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185, fleeing residents said Thursday of an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April.
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Suicide bombers kill at least seven in Yemen port: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) – Suicide attackers set off two car bombs in Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hodeida on Thursday, killing themselves and seven other people, sources in the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi movement and medical officials told Reuters. Three other suspected bombers were killed by members of a local security patrol before they were able to attack, the Houthi sources said. “The bombs rocked the city. They were targeting a building that belonged to Houthi movement officials,” said a resident. …
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Woman, 56, arrested after car slams into crowd

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Police say a 56-year-old woman suspected of being intoxicated faces felony charges after a car struck a group of pedestrians and another car outside a Southern California church, killing three people and injuring eight.
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Germany arrests 3 accused of spying for Turkey

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors say they have arrested three Turkish men accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for Turkish intelligence.
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US stocks rise; Oracle leads technology stocks higher

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The market is opening sharply higher, building on gains from the day before after the Federal Reserve indicated it was in no rush to raise interest rates. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose Thursday, led by gains in technology stocks after Oracle surged following a strong earnings report. Energy stocks fell back as oil gave resumed its slide.



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