2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Israeli premier, Hamas declare victory in Gaza war
    Israeli premier, Hamas declare victory in Gaza war

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Both Israel's prime minister and Hamas declared victory Wednesday in the Gaza war, though their competing claims left questions over future terms of their uneasy peace still lingering.

  • Islamic State commits war crimes, Syrian govt using poison gas: U.N.

    By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations accused Islamic State insurgents on Wednesday of committing war crimes including amputations and public executions, sometimes in the presence of children, and said it believed Damascus had used chlorine gas in combating its enemies. The Sunni militants, who are bringing weapons from Iraq, have changed the power balance in Syria, consolidating control over large areas and establishing order by imposing harsh sharia law, the U.N. said in its latest report. "Children have been present at the executions, which take the form of beheading or shooting in the head at close range... Bodies are placed on public display, often on crucifixes, for up to three days, serving as a warning to local residents." The independent investigators voiced deep concern about boys forced to join the ranks of Islamic States who are being trained in camps in Syria that could be targeted by U.S.

  • Mega-IPO to rekindle the 'bromance' behind Alibaba's rise

    By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - Masayoshi Son's nose for an investment has turned a $20 million start-up punt on Alibaba into a stake worth maybe $50 billion or more as the Chinese e-commerce giant co-founded and led by Jack Ma heads to what could be the biggest U.S. Son, CEO of Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank Corp, also put money into a young Yahoo Inc, co-founded by Jerry Yang, in 1995, and Yahoo's subsequent investment in Alibaba saw Ma, Son and Yang build Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [IPO-BABA.N] into one of world's biggest internet companies as China's e-commerce market took off.

  • Mitt Romney Bungles His 'I'm Not Running Again' Line
    Mitt Romney Bungles His 'I'm Not Running Again' Line

    Let's get one thing straight: Mitt Romney is not running for president again. Saying 'circumstances can change' is what happens when you fail to slam a creaky door shut and then turn around to find it is once again wide open." Sure, Romney is getting the best press of his life right at the moment. President Obama's foreign policy foibles have made him look smart, 2012 voters say they feel some remorse, no one has brought up those 47 percent remarks in months, and Republican candidates are cozying up to him even more than when he was the plausible next president of the United States.

  • Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life
    Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life

    BEIRUT (AP) — The mother of a hostage American journalist pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerged of mass killings, including masked militants shooting kneeling men after the capture of a strategic air base in Syria.

  • New York risks 'return to bad old days'
    New York risks 'return to bad old days'

    New York is hurtling back to "the bad old days of high crime" under current Mayor Bill de Blasio, a major police union has warned, drawing a sharp rebuke from the Democrat. "The degradation of our streets is on the rise," said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, urging the Democratic Party to choose another city to hold its 2016 convention. In a full-page open letter in The New York Times, Mullins said that the city was "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime, danger-infested public spaces, and families that walk our streets worried for their safety." He accused de Blasio of making "dangerous choices" and said that the New York Police Department (NYPD) was "understaffed, overworked and underpaid."

  • We are about to find out if our universe really is a hologram
    We are about to find out if our universe really is a hologram

    What could be the most important scientific experiment of our lifetime is about to begin. The so-called Holometer Experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory aims to determine whether our perception of a three-dimensional universe is just an illusion. Do we actually live on a 2D plane, as a holographic projection? There is a well-established theory that states we are indeed living in a hologram, with a pixel size of about 10 trillion trillion times smaller than an atom. This has certain implications, some of which are quite sinister, even unspeakably horrific. The argument about the nature of the universe hinges on something that 99.99% of people are not able to comprehend even on the most superficial level — namely,

  • On Ukraine's 'other side' to the west, fears of familiar crisis brew in tiny Moldova
    On Ukraine's 'other side' to the west, fears of familiar crisis brew in tiny Moldova

    The world may not be ready for another crisis on Ukraine’s borders, but one may be brewing — this time on the west, in the obscure Moldovan province of Transnistria, occupying about 1,600 square miles between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian frontier.

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