2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Obama seeks to do no harm to Democrats in midterms
    Obama seeks to do no harm to Democrats in midterms

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hampered by low approval ratings and an unfriendly electoral map, President Barack Obama enters the fall campaign as a liability to some vulnerable Democrats and a target for Republicans trying to fire up conservatives and appeal to disillusioned independents.

  • 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.

  • Dozens arrested at Made in America music festival in Los Angeles

    (Reuters) - Seven people were arrested on Sunday at the Made in America music festival in downtown Los Angeles, following an opening day that left more than two dozen people in handcuffs, police said. During Sunday's show at Grand Park there were four felony arrests, including one for battery and the rest for possession of narcotics, besides three misdemeanor arrests, including one charge of public drunkenness, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Another 23 people were given alcohol citations, an LAPD police spokeswoman said. So far about 27,000 tickets have been scanned for Sunday's full day of events, including top-billed stars John Mayer and Kanye West later in the evening.

  • Ukraine defence minister warns of 'great war' with Russia
    Ukraine defence minister warns of 'great war' with Russia

    Ukraine's defence minister warned on Monday that a "great war" had broken out with Russia over his country's future that could claim tens of thousands of lives. "A great war has arrived at our doorstep -- the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II. Unfortunately, the losses in such a war will be measured not in the hundreds but thousands and tens of thousands," Valeriy Geletey wrote in a Facebook post. Russia on Monday again denied either sending or planning to send troops into eastern Ukraine to help separatist rebels pursue their recent counteroffensive against the pro-Western government's forces. Geletey wrote on Monday that "hundreds of Russian soldiers and officers have permanently entered Ukraine's (eastern) 'black earth' region."

  • Los Zetas chieftain arrested near US-Mexico border
    Los Zetas chieftain arrested near US-Mexico border

    A leader of the violent Los Zetas drug cartel has been arrested in the northwestern Mexican state of Tamaulipas bordering the United States, officials said on Sunday. Mario Alberto Arce Moreno, 31, was apprehended by federal and state police, who were able to make the arrest "without firing a single shot," according to a press release issued by law enforcement officials. Authorities said Arce is a top figure with the Zetas, one of Mexico's most feared cartels. He is alleged to have been involved in major drug trafficking and human smuggling operations for the cartel, which is said to be responsible for much of the violence that has roiled the northern Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in recent years.

  • Drama and secrets in 'Downton Abbey' season 5
    Drama and secrets in 'Downton Abbey' season 5

    ITV has unveiled the first trailer for its period drama's next season, which premieres September 21 in the UK. The fifth season of "Downton Abbey" is poised to be an eventful one for the protagonists of the popular series. In its new video, the British network hints at romance -- as Lady Mary grows closer to Lord Gillingham and the footman Jimmy Kent pursues his forbidden love affairs -- as well as drama, as Lord Grantham fears that his grandson is about to be stolen from the family. The new season, written once again by the show's creator Julian Fellowes, is set in 1924 and finds the family coping with reforms carried out by the first Labour government.

  • NATO to create new 'spearhead' force to respond to crises

    By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO leaders will respond to the Ukraine crisis by agreeing this week to create a "spearhead" rapid reaction force, potentially including several thousand troops, that could be sent to a hotspot in as little as two days, officials said on Monday. The 28-nation alliance already has a rapid reaction force but U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders meeting for a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday are expected to create a new force that would be able to respond more quickly to a crisis. The speed with which Russian forces infiltrated Ukraine's Crimea region in March has focused minds at NATO on speeding up its ability to respond if a similar crisis ever occurred on NATO territory.

  • Twenty years on, Schaeuble pleads again for core Europe

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble renewed a call for a core group of European Union countries to move ahead faster with economic and political integration, 20 years after his ground-breaking proposal fell on deaf ears in key partner France. In an article published in the Financial Times on Monday, Schaeuble proposed creating an EU commissioner with the power to reject national budgets that breach the bloc's fiscal rules, and establishing an inner-core parliament for the euro zone. "In order to make progress in all of these areas, we should keep using the approach that proved its mettle back in 1994: to establish cores of co-operation within the EU that enable smaller, willing groups of member states to forge ahead," Schaeuble wrote in the article, co-authored by fellow German Christian Democrat Karl Lamers. They acknowledged that many EU countries remain reticent about closer political union that would involve transferring more sovereignty to Europe.

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