2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • A Mother's Day to Remember: Winner Gets Portrait By Anne Geddes

      By Teri Whitcraft and Carrie Halperin For Allison Dearstyne of Dunkirk, Md., her first Mother’s Day as a mom may be the best ever. Last November,  when she was nine months pregnant, she and her husband Richard entered a photo in the Million Moms...

  • Business Highlights

    ___ China factories face new challenge as growth slows Chinese manufacturers are discovering that being an efficient low-cost producer is no longer enough to prosper in the face of the country's slowing ...

  • Scientists discover first Earth-sized planet that could support life
    Scientists discover first Earth-sized planet that could support life

    For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an "Earth cousin" that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. "One of the things we've been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com.

  • Smuggled cellphone use a growing concern for U.S. prisons
    Smuggled cellphone use a growing concern for U.S. prisons

    By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Cellphones smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards, concealed in food containers or hurled over security fences are an increasing worry for law enforcement as prisoners use them to intimidate witnesses, direct drug deals and plan escapes. The concerns about these contraband devices came into the national spotlight this month when U.S. officials accused a member of the notorious Bloods gang serving a life sentence in North Carolina of using a mobile phone hidden in his prison cell to arrange the kidnapping of the father of a woman who prosecuted him. There are no widely available reliable figures on how many cellphones are in the hands of the 2.3 million inmates in local, state and federal prisons in the United States, but statistics point to a swift rise of the problem. In California, for instance, the number of contraband cellphones discovered by corrections staff jumped to more than 15,000 in 2011, more than 10 times the 1,400 seized in 2007.

  • Ukraine government pledges Russian language rights

    By Alastair Macdonald and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's acting president and prime minister offered some of their strongest pledges yet on Friday to strengthen constitutional rights to use the Russian language in an effort to defuse separatist protests. In a joint televised address, acting President Oleksander Turchinov and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk called for national unity, urged people to refrain from violence and said they would support constitutional change and decentralizing more power to local councils, including over their official language - a central demand of Russian-speaking protesters in the east. "The Ukrainian government is prepared to conduct comprehensive constitutional reform which will strengthen the powers of the regions," Yatseniuk said. "We will strengthen the special status of the Russian language and protect this language," the premier said.

  • Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia
    Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia

    Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Russia was under intense US pressure Saturday to convince pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to give up eastern towns they are occupying, after Washington said the situation in the former Soviet republic was in a "pivotal period". But with the separatists' refusal to budge throwing a deal to defuse the crisis into doubt, and US sanctions looming large, Russia was biting back -- warning that its military is massed on Ukraine's border, ready to act. In the major eastern city of Donetsk, separatist gunmen remained barricaded inside the regional government building. The failure to implement the agreement hammered out in Geneva on Thursday by the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU threatened to deepen the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

  • Clinton sought GOP support for health care
    Clinton sought GOP support for health care

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bill Clinton's advisers estimated early in his term that passing a health care overhaul would require a delicate balance of Democratic and Republican support, needing at least eight moderate Republicans in the Senate and 15 or more in the House to win approval, according to documents released Friday.

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