2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • French journalists free after 10-month Syria hostage ordeal
    French journalists free after 10-month Syria hostage ordeal

    Four French journalists taken hostage in Syria last year were freed on Saturday after a 10-month ordeal in the world's most dangerous country for the media. French President Francois Hollande announced the release of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres, saying they were "in good health despite the very challenging conditions of their captivity". Turkish soldiers found the four men abandoned in no-man's land on the border with Syria overnight, wearing blindfolds and with their hands bound, the Turkish news agency Dogan reported. They had been captured in two separate incidents in June last year while covering the conflict in Syria.

  • Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West
    Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West

    The Kremlin is preparing a new culture policy for Russia focusing on its distinctive civilisation and traditional values, which observers say has political ends amid Moscow's standoff with the West. At the end of four hours of questions Thursday in his annual call-in, President Vladimir Putin waxed philosophical on what it means to be Russian. The authors preparing the document, who are kept secret, believe that such a policy must be based on the thesis that "Russia is not Europe" and generously quote from Putin's speeches. The policy states Russia is at a historical crossroads and must make a choice between cultural extinction or the preservation of its unique "moral and spiritual foundations," which can only be done with a "state culture policy."

  • Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final
    Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

    MONACO (AP) — Roger Federer ousted defending Monte Carlo Masters champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 Saturday, and the second-ranked Serb said he plans to take a break to let his injured wrist heal.

  • Cutest act of revenge ever: Over 1,000 ducklings released into boss’s apartment [PHOTOS]
    Cutest act of revenge ever: Over 1,000 ducklings released into boss’s apartment [PHOTOS]

    Get ready to say, “Awww!” Shanghaist brings us this bit of adorableness and reports that a man named Xiang unleashed 1,130 ducklings on his boss’s apartment in an act of revenge.

  • 'Touched by an Angel' producer back in series TV
    'Touched by an Angel' producer back in series TV

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the decade that "Touched by an Angel" executive producer Martha Williamson has been away from series TV, much has changed. A new golden age has brought more daring shows, from "Mad Men" to "House of Cards" to "Breaking Bad," and more ways to see them.

  • Student fought bureaucrats for Holocaust justice
    Student fought bureaucrats for Holocaust justice

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Charlotte van den Berg was a 20-year-old college student working part-time in Amsterdam's city archives when she and other interns came across a shocking find: letters from Jewish Holocaust survivors complaining that the city was forcing them to pay back taxes and late payment fines on property seized after they were deported to Nazi death camps.

  • Chelsea's title hopes hit by Sunderland defeat

    By Josh Reich LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea's title ambitions suffered a major blow with a shock 2-1 home defeat by bottom side Sunderland on Saturday, handing the initiative to Premier League leaders Liverpool who visit lowly Norwich City on Sunday. It was manager Jose Mourinho's first league defeat at Stamford Bridge in 78 matches, with the winner coming from a cooly converted penalty by former Chelsea player Fabio Borini, who is on loan at Sunderland from the Merseyside club. The Italian forward tucked home the spot kick in the 82nd minute after Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta brought down Jozy Altidore.

  • Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs
    Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

    KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

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