2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
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- Sharapova survives as upsets rock US Open
World number two Simona Halep and two-time champion Venus Williams tumbled out of the US Open, but Maria Sharapova bucked the upset trend that rocked the women's draw. Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a former phenom now a 32-year-old veteran who had to fight through qualifying, shocked second-seeded Halep, the French Open runner-up, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2. "It's incredible, amazing, I feel goofy," said Lucic-Baroni, who reached a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time since making it to the 1999 Wimbledon semi-finals as a 17-year-old. The reward for the 121st-ranked Lucic-Baroni is a fourth-round meeting with 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani, who thwarted Williams 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7/5).
- U.N. was told Golan peacekeepers seized 'for their protection'
The United Nations on Friday said it had been informed that the Islamist militants who seized 44 Fijian peacekeepers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights did so "for their own protection" and that all the detained blue-helmeted soldiers are safe. U.N. officials had been trying to establish the whereabouts of the peacekeepers, who were seized by al-Qaeda-linked rebels this week inside Syrian territory along the rocky frontier between Syria and the Golan Heights. "The United Nations has received assurances from credible sources that the 44 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who were taken from their position on the morning of Thursday, 28 August, are safe and in good health," the U.N. press office said in a statement.
- Couple Fined For Refusing To Host Gay Wedding Shuts Down Venue
A Christian couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host a lesbian wedding on their New York farm has decided to close the venue rather than violate their religious beliefs. Cynthia and Robert Gifford decided not to host ceremonies anymore, other than those already scheduled, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney James Trainor told The Blaze. ”Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run,” he said. New Jersey couple Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin took the Giffords to court when they refused to host their 2012 wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm, where the Giffords host about a dozen weddings a year.
- Batistuta asked legs be cut off to relieve pain
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Former star Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina's record goal scorer for the national team, says he once asked a doctor to amputate his legs to relieve intense pain in his ankles.
- Dam-hit Sri Lankans to get their own 'Bridge on River Kwai'
Its detonation is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history. Now, 57 years after it was blown to smithereens, authorities in Sri Lanka plan to rebuild the "Bridge on the River Kwai" to assuage the anger among locals over a controversial dam project. While the World War II epic was supposedly set in Japanese-held Burma (present-day Myanmar), it was mostly filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) between 1956 and 1957, less than a decade after independence from Britain. The final scene in which a British officer played by Alec Guinness blows up a rail bridge that his fellow prisoners of war have just built was shot at sleepy Kitulgala, two hours' drive from the capital Colombo.
- Adopted Pit Bull Saves Little Boy’s Life [VIDEO]
When a little boy stepped on a bee nest Tuesday and was hit by a swarm of bees, his family’s adopted pit bull dragged him to safety. Jesse-Cole, 8, his sister Jasmine, 17, and seven other kids were playing in a creek behind their Oregon apartment complex when someone stepped on a rotten log and unleashed a dangerous swarm of bees, Fox 12 Oregon reports. The other kids quickly climbed up the steep embankment to safety, but Jesse-Cole, who was stung at least 24 times, was unable to make it. He and his sister Jasmine, who is allergic and was injected twice with an EpiPen were taken to the hospital.
- Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village
A community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries Thursday began leaving the Guatemalan Indian village where they have lived for six years after claims and counterclaims of discrimination and threats. Their exit from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, follows a meeting Wednesday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement. "We are a people of peace and in order to avoid an incident we've already begun to leave the village," Misael Santos, a representative from the Jewish community, told AFP. Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan.
- Pentagon says Iraq operations costing on average $7.5 million per day
Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told a briefing the expense of U.S. He did not offer an estimate of the Pentagon's total costs so far, but an average cost of $7.5 million per day for 71 days would mean the department has spent roughly $532 million. By comparison, the Pentagon has been spending roughly $1.3 billion per week on Afghanistan, analysts said.