2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Obama faces bipartisan criticism over his foreign policy
    Obama faces bipartisan criticism over his foreign policy

    By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama faced criticism over his foreign policy from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Sunday as he wrestled with crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Republican lawmakers seized on Obama's comment on Thursday when he said, "We don't have a strategy yet" for confronting the Islamic State militant group, saying it suggested indecisiveness. On Sunday, influential Democrats chimed in with their own critiques of Obama's foreign policy, chiding him for being "too cautious" on Syria, and urging him to do more to help Ukraine resist Russian advances.

  • Tony Stewart's return to race track ends early
    Tony Stewart's return to race track ends early

    HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Tony Stewart climbed from his battered car, took a big gulp of water, and surveyed the damage.

  • Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke
    Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke

    By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared "state land, on the instructions of the political echelon" by the military-run Civil Administration. "We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move "counterproductive" to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.

  • Russia's Putin seeks 'statehood' talks on east Ukraine
    Russia's Putin seeks 'statehood' talks on east Ukraine

    Moscow and Kiev representatives will meet in Minsk Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for statehood to be discussed for the restive east of the former Soviet state. Putin's remarks on Sunday came just hours after the European Union gave Moscow -- which the bloc accuses of direct involvement in the Ukraine insurgency -- a week to change course or face new sanctions. "We need to immediately begin substantive talks... on questions of the political organisation of society and statehood in southeastern Ukraine," the Russian leader was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. Moscow has previously only called for "federalisation" that would grant greater rights to the eastern regions of Ukraine, where predominantly Russian-speakers live.

  • The Ridiculous—and Sexist—Reason This Little Boy Was Sent Home From School

    The Seminole Independent School District said that it was only following procedure, noting that proper documentation of religious or spiritual beliefs was required for exceptions. After F.J. Young Elementary turned Malachi away, his mother contacted the Navajo Nation. In Oklahoma, a school superintendent recently came under fire for asking female high school students to bend over to check the length of their shorts.

  • Ukraine: rebels fire on border guard vessel
    Ukraine: rebels fire on border guard vessel

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Ukraine to immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

  • Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case
    Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case

    The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal. The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly. On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals. ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died.

  • Brain tumour boy in 'stable condition' as parents face court
    Brain tumour boy in 'stable condition' as parents face court

    A five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour who was taken from hospital without medical consent is in a "stable condition" in Spain, hospital staff said Sunday. The boy's parents were arrested on Saturday evening in southern Spain following an international manhunt. Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, will appear before a judge in Madrid on Monday, a judicial source told AFP. Meanwhile, their son Ashya was said to be "in a stable condition and under police guard" in the paediatric oncology department at the Regional University Hospital in Malaga, a spokesman for the hospital told AFP on Sunday.

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