2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Heads roll in Russia as more details emerge of Total crash
    Heads roll in Russia as more details emerge of Total crash

    Top Russian airport officials quit on Thursday as more employees were detained over the Moscow plane crash that killed the CEO of French oil giant Total. The driver of the snowplough that collided with Total boss Christophe de Margerie's plane as it was taking off from Moscow's Vnukovo airport late Monday was also ordered to be held for two months behind bars for further questioning. "The investigation suggests that these people did not respect the norms of flight security and ground operations, which led to the tragedy," said the powerful Investigative Committee in charge of the probe. Vnukovo airport also said its general director and his deputy had resigned "due to the tragic event" after the management was accused of "criminal negligence" by investigators.

  • Massive cheating scandal at UNC involved athletes
    Massive cheating scandal at UNC involved athletes

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Bogus classes and automatic A's and B's are at the heart of a cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina that lasted nearly two decades, encompassing about 3,100 students — nearly half of them athletes.

  • Russia Tones Down the Rhetoric as Its Economy Struggles
    Russia Tones Down the Rhetoric as Its Economy Struggles

    Russia’s leaders have continued to criticize the economic sanctions imposed by the West over their invasion of Ukraine, but the official complaints from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have recently taken a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone. Growth in Russia has come to a virtual standstill, as foreign investors pull money out of the country and those who have been considering new investments reconsider. Global oil prices are moving sharply downward, presenting a major challenge to a Russian economy that is utterly dependent on oil and gas exports. Russia’s inflation rate rose to 8.3 percent in mid-October, driven largely by increasing food prices, driving concern that the central bank will need to raise interest rates in order to slow price increases.

  • Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun Explosions
    Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun Explosions

    Known as magnetic flux ropes, coronal loops and solar prominences, these structures possess spiraling magnetic field lines, as if a huge bar magnet had been twisted into a corkscrew. Scientists have long thought magnetic flux ropes drive powerful solar explosions such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can spawn geomagnetic storms that damage satellites in space and disrupt power grids on Earth. Two models for how magnetic flux ropes are involved have emerged. In the first model, a magnetic flux rope exists before the eruption.

  • Counterinsurgency expert: Beating ISIS will require U.S. ground troops in Iraq
    Counterinsurgency expert: Beating ISIS will require U.S. ground troops in Iraq

    New book by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Nagl calls for measured military approach to insurgencies

  • Judge nixes Teresa Giudice's halfway house bid
    Judge nixes Teresa Giudice's halfway house bid

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge won't recommend that prison officials allow "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice to serve most of her prison sentence in a halfway house.

  • Canada to speed up plans to toughen security laws: PM Harper

    OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday the government will expedite plans to give more powers of detention and surveillance to security agencies in the wake of an attack on Parliament. "They need to be much strengthened, and I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that work which is already under way will be expedited," he told the House of Commons, one day after a gunman launched an attack on Parliament and was shot dead. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)

  • Islamic State militants seize Iraq village, press assault on Yazidis

    By Saif Sameer and Ned Parker BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State wrested a Sunni Muslim village in western Iraq on Thursday from tribal defenders who put up weeks of fierce resistance, and the insurgents tightened a siege of the Yazidi minority on a mountain in the north. The attacks showed Islamic State's continued operating resilience despite air strikes by U.S. ...

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