2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help
    Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea gave foreign media access on Monday to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and — watched by officials as they spoke — called for Washington to send a high-ranking representative to negotiate for their freedom.

  • Health workers death toll mounts in W.Africa as Ebola spreads
    Health workers death toll mounts in W.Africa as Ebola spreads

    Nigeria's health minister will hold an emergency meeting of state health commissioners on Monday as West Africa struggles to halt the deadly Ebola virus, amid growing concern at the toll among healthcare workers. Nigeria on Sunday confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband died from the virus, adding to a growing list of those providing healthcare in West Africa to be hit by the epidemic. The woman's husband was also a doctor who died in the city of Port Harcourt on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with the Liberian man who brought the virus to Nigeria in late July. She was in a stable condition at an isolation unit in the financial capital, Lagos, said Sampson Parker, the health commissioner of Rivers State, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.

  • Sharapova crashes, Bencic and Federer in Swiss joy at US Open
    Sharapova crashes, Bencic and Federer in Swiss joy at US Open

    Maria Sharapova crashed out of the US Open while 17-year-old Belinda Bencic became the youngest women's quarter-finalist since 1997 giving Switzerland a double boost after Roger Federer had moved into the last-16. Sharapova's defeat at the hands of fellow former world number one Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday meant that only three of the top 10 seeds in the women's draw were left standing after Bencic had taken care of ninth-ranked Jelena Jankovic. On a day of shocks at the US Open, China's Peng Shuai reached her first singles quarter-final at a major by beating experienced Czech Lucie Safarova while, in the men's draw, fourth-seed David Ferrer was defeated by Gilles Simon of France.

  • Defending arming of Kurds, Merkel calls Islamic State a threat to Europe
    Defending arming of Kurds, Merkel calls Islamic State a threat to Europe

    By Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government's taboo-breaking decision to send arms to Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq, telling parliament on Monday that the group posed a major security threat to Germany and Europe. A day after Berlin announced it would send anti-tank rockets, assault rifles and hand grenades to the Kurds, Merkel said Germany had a responsibility to intervene in the conflict to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq, citing evidence of ethnic cleansing by Islamic State fighters.

  • Doubts over whether Detroit bankruptcy plan gets job done
    Doubts over whether Detroit bankruptcy plan gets job done

    By David Greising, Karen Pierog and Tim Reid DETROIT Reuters) - Detroit’s plan to recover from bankruptcy includes several blueprints for a new future. Detroit is far short of the $1.7 billion it needs over the next 10 years to remove abandoned buildings, replace outdated technology and increase public safety to stem the exodus from the city. “What Detroit needed to start with was a reinvestment program,” said James Spiotto, managing director of Chapman Strategic Advisors, a municipal finance consultancy. “If you don’t solve the systemic problem and fix it for real, all you’re going to do is repeat it going forward.” Detroit’s 1,034-page plan for fixing the city’s finances will be the subject of a weeks-long bankruptcy court proceeding, beginning on Tuesday.

  • Fidel Castro compares NATO to Nazis, lashes out at US
    Fidel Castro compares NATO to Nazis, lashes out at US

    Cuban ex-president Fidel Castro lashed out at the United States and Europe on Monday, accusing them of war-mongering and comparing the NATO military alliance's representatives to the Nazi SS. In a tortuous column published in Cuban state media, the father of the island's communist revolution also attacked US Senator John McCain over United States policy in the Middle East, calling him "Israel's most unconditional ally."

  • US urges Israel to reverse Palestinian land-grab plan
    US urges Israel to reverse Palestinian land-grab plan

    Israel faced increasing pressure Monday, including from the United States, after saying it plans to expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem area in the south of the occupied West Bank. Ally Washington, the United Nations and Egypt all called for an urgent rethink after Sunday's announcement, which angered the Palestinians and alarmed Israeli peace campaigners, and comes days after a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians took hold. "This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve, and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel's stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians," a US State Department official said.

  • Amid foreign crises, Obama takes solace in U.S. economic turnaround

    By Steve Holland MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Throughout much of his presidency, Barack Obama has been under siege about the state of the U.S. With his handling of foreign policy under fire in confronting challenges from Ukraine to the Middle East, Obama made a Labor Day trek to Milwaukee's annual Laborfest event to underscore how he feels his leadership on the economy has paid off.

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