2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
The standout news & pop obsessions gleaned from your search habits
YIR 2012: Superstorms and Scorchers
Mother Nature made her mark again this year and did so, unfortunately, in the most extreme ways: hellish heat, drought, superstorms and other wild weather events.
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- Teen Vandals Literally Caught Red-Handed
Potential crooks are figuratively caught red-handed all the time, from kids breaking into a box of cookies before dinner to the more serious grown-up crimes. But has anyone ever been caught with red-colored hands? Probably. But maybe not like this. Early Thursday morning at 3:20, officers from the New York Police Department arrested 17-year-old Mike Kushnir and an unnamed 15-year-old female friend after they received a 911 call. The two teenagers have been accused of vandalizing the 114-year-old Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument on Riverside Drive and West 89th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
- Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village
A community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries Thursday began leaving the Guatemalan Indian village where they have lived for six years after claims and counterclaims of discrimination and threats. Their exit from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, follows a meeting Wednesday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement. "We are a people of peace and in order to avoid an incident we've already begun to leave the village," Misael Santos, a representative from the Jewish community, told AFP. Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan.
- After hard bargaining, EU set for deal on new leadership
By Alastair Macdonald and Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders are set to end weeks of wrangling over top jobs in Brussels and agree on Saturday on who will fill key posts in EU institutions that face major challenges from a combative Russia and a stuttering economy. A summit in Brussels that was called after a pre-vacation meeting two months ago ended in deadlock is likely, diplomats and officials said, to hand Poland's conservative prime minister the influential role of European Council president and Italy's little tested young foreign minister given the running of the EU's common diplomatic efforts.
- Microsoft will not hand over overseas email, despite order
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Friday lifted a suspension on her order directing Microsoft Corp to turn over a customer's emails stored overseas to U.S. Microsoft in particular was stung by revelations last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and has been at pains to prove to customers that it does not allow the U.S. Preska had delayed enforcement of the government's search warrant so Microsoft could appeal. Preska agreed, saying her order "merely confirmed the government's temporary forbearing of its right to stay enforcement of the order it secured." She added that "the fact the court has not closed this case cuts against Microsoft's argument" that her order was final and appealable.
- North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia: South Korea newspaper
By Ju-min Park and James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) - A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday, citing an unidentified source. Yun Tae Hyong, a senior representative of North Korea's Korea Daesong Bank, disappeared last week in Nakhodka, in the Russian Far East, with $5 million, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported. The Daesong Bank is suspected by the U.S. The newspaper said North Korea had asked Russian authorities for cooperation in efforts to capture Yun.
- Florida mother arrested after five kids found living in filthy home
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after her 10-year-old boy came to school in foul-smelling clothes and told a teacher he could not remember when he last took a bath, court documents showed. Betsy Velasquez, 34, of Kissimmee, was charged on Tuesday and was released from the Osceola County jail on Wednesday on a $1,000 bond. Investigators were alerted by an elementary school teacher who also said the boy had been coming to school late and hungry.
- U.N. was told Golan peacekeepers seized 'for their protection'
The United Nations on Friday said it had been informed that the Islamist militants who seized 44 Fijian peacekeepers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights did so "for their own protection" and that all the detained blue-helmeted soldiers are safe. U.N. officials had been trying to establish the whereabouts of the peacekeepers, who were seized by al-Qaeda-linked rebels this week inside Syrian territory along the rocky frontier between Syria and the Golan Heights. "The United Nations has received assurances from credible sources that the 44 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who were taken from their position on the morning of Thursday, 28 August, are safe and in good health," the U.N. press office said in a statement.
- Palestinian leader says Hamas caused prolonged war
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas on Friday for extending fighting with Israel in the Gaza Strip, casting doubt on the future of the Palestinian unity government that the Islamic militant group backs, while Israel's premier said the end of the war could mark resumption of peace talks with Abbas.