2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • 'No military solution' to Ukraine crisis, UN chief warns
    'No military solution' to Ukraine crisis, UN chief warns

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Western powers Tuesday "there is no military solution" to the Ukraine crisis, after the government in Kiev accused Russia of launching a "great war". As NATO prepares to upgrade its combat readiness in eastern Europe, Ban said he was greatly concerned at developments in Ukraine and wanted to avoid further deterioration to "a very chaotic and dangerous situation". "I know the European Union, the Americans and most of the Western countries are discussing very seriously among themselves how to handle this matter," he told reporters during a visit to New Zealand. His comments came after European-mediated talks on the fast-escalating crisis opened Monday behind closed doors in the Belarussian capital Minsk, attended by Ukraine government, separatist and Russian envoys.

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of 'undisguised aggression' as rebels advance

    By Pavel Polityuk and Polina Devitt KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of "direct and undisguised aggression" which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance as Kiev's forces suffered a further reverse in their war with pro-Moscow separatists. In the latest in a string of setbacks in the past week, Ukraine's military said it had pulled back from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion. Poroshenko said in a speech there would be high-level personnel changes in the Ukrainian armed forces, whose troops fled a new rebel advance in the south which Kiev and its Western allies say has been backed up by Russian armored columns. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called on Sunday for immediate negotiations on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, blamed Kiev's leadership for refusing to enter into direct political talks with the separatists.

  • Man dumps liquid nitrogen on his head in most dangerous Ice Bucket Challenge video yet
    Man dumps liquid nitrogen on his head in most dangerous Ice Bucket Challenge video yet

    The band members of Spinal Tap always talked about “the fine line between stupid and clever,” and that’s about all we can think of while watching this latest Ice Bucket Challenge video produced by chemist Muhammad Qureshi, who decided to one-up everyone else who has taken the challenge so far by pouring liquid nitrogen all over his head. FROM EARLIER: Stephen Hawking delivers the most heartwarming Ice Bucket Challenge video yet For those of you who don’t know your science, nitrogen has to be very cold before it becomes a liquid — it has a boiling point of −321 °F and a freezing point of −346 °F, so any liquid nitrogen you encounter will be within that temperature range. Because Qureshi knows what he’s doing, however, he

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group's alleged crimes
    UN backs inquiry of IS group's alleged crimes

    GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights body on Monday overwhelmingly approved the Iraqi government's request for an investigation into alleged crimes against civilians committed by the Islamic State group in its rampage across northeastern Syria and parts of Iraq.

  • U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Department of Defense spokesman said. "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. Al Shabaab is an Islamist group affiliated with al Qaeda that wants to impose its own strict version of Islam in Somalia. It ruled most of the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when African peacekeeping troops marched into the capital, Mogadishu.

  • China universities vow ideology clampdown on staff, students
    China universities vow ideology clampdown on staff, students

    Three top Chinese universities have vowed to tighten "ideological" control over students and teachers, as a wider clampdown on free expression in the country intensifies. The comments came from the Communist Party committees of Peking University, Shanghai's Fudan University, and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, which each wrote a statement in the Communist Party theoretical journal Qiushi. The statement from Peking University -- China's top academic institution -- condemned those with "ulterior motives" who target the ruling party. "In recent years, some people go on the Internet and with ulterior motives add fuel to the fire... ultimately targeting the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system," it said.

  • Florida power utilities fear return of ‘Green Governor' Crist
    Florida power utilities fear return of ‘Green Governor' Crist

    By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - When Charlie Crist last governed Florida, his green energy and climate policies made him few friends among the state's powerful electricity corporations. Now, as the Republican-turned Democrat bids to return to the governor's mansion, it may be payback time. Florida's three largest utilities have poured money into the re-election campaign of Republican incumbent Governor Rick Scott in an expensive and closely watched political battle for the nation's largest swing state. ...

  • 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."

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