2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Robin Williams' ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay
    Robin Williams' ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay

    Comedian Robin Williams' ashes have been scattered in the San Francisco Bay following his apparent suicide, according to a death certificate released by Marin County on Thursday. Williams, 63, was found hanged in his Tiburon, California, home last week. The "Mrs. Doubtfire" star had been suffering from severe depression, anxiety and early Parkinson's disease before his death. Williams' cremated remains were released on Aug. 12, the day after his death, according to the document.

  • British couple walled into French home by 'neighbours from hell'
    British couple walled into French home by 'neighbours from hell'

    A British couple's dream of a quiet retirement in the sun of southern France turned into a nightmare when their neighbours walled them into their home. Locals in the village of Brugairolles in the foothills of the Pyrenees were so appalled by the immurement, they rose up to rescue the elderly couple, tearing down a wall from the front of the house and ripping open windows and doors that had been nailed shut. "We could not accept that they should continue to live under such terror," declared retired Republican Guard Jeannot Gach, who helped lead the operation to free Faith and John Dyson, both in their 70s, from their home. The Dysons' tormentors were not jealous locals resentful of outsiders pushing up property prices, but another British couple furious that they had apparently trespassed on a shared lane they claimed to own.

  • Gaza gunmen execute 18 'collaborators' in Gaza; Israel pursues air strikes

    By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Hamas-led gunmen in Gaza executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel on Friday, a day after Israel tracked down and killed three top Hamas commanders, the highest-ranking militants to be killed in the six-week war. Seven people were shot dead in front of worshippers outside a mosque in one of Gaza's main squares, witnesses said, the first public executions in the Palestinian enclave since the 1990s. A further 11 were killed at an abandoned police station near Gaza City, Hamas security officials said. In the public execution, militants wearing masks and dressed in black gunned down the suspects, whose faces were covered and hands bound, as worshippers emerged from the Omari mosque on Palestine Square, one of Gaza's busiest districts.

  • Exclusive: Apple iPhone 6 screen snag leaves supply chain scrambling
    Exclusive: Apple iPhone 6 screen snag leaves supply chain scrambling

    By Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Suppliers to Apple Inc are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component disrupted panel production ahead of next month's expected launch, supply chain sources said. It's unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers, the sources said, as Apple readies larger-screen iPhones for the year-end shopping season amid market share loss to cheaper rivals. Cupertino, California-based Apple has scheduled a media event for Sept. 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) screens - bigger than the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c. Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July.

  • British Muslims blame jihadi subculture after beheading video
    British Muslims blame jihadi subculture after beheading video

    By Kate Holton and Raheem Salman LONDON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A British Muslim leader called for action on Thursday to tackle a jihadi sub-culture after an Islamic State video showed a suspected Briton beheading U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the threat from Islamic State was "beyond anything we've seen" and the U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the death of Foley on the video, which featured a masked man speaking English with a British accent. As Western officials tried to identify the man, the Muslim Council of Britain denounced Foley's "abhorrent murder" and one of its advisers urged anyone who knows the killer's identity to contact the police.

  • Prisoner freed 90 years early appeals sentence
    Prisoner freed 90 years early appeals sentence

    DENVER (AP) — A Colorado convict sent back to prison after being mistakenly released 90 years early says it was cruel and unusual punishment to put him back behind bars after he reformed his life.

  • Man in mystery selfie comes forward in LA County

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — The couple whose selfie was snapped with a Southern California burglary victim's phone has been identified, authorities said Thursday.

  • Our life with the Neanderthals was no brief affair

    By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Far from wiping out Neanderthals overnight, modern humans rubbed along with their shorter and stockier cousins for thousands of years, giving plenty of time for the two groups to share ideas - and have sex. The most accurate timeline yet for the demise of our closest relatives, published on Wednesday, shows Neanderthals overlapped with present-day humans in Europe for between 2,600 and 5,400 years before disappearing about 40,000 years ago. Pinpointing how and when the Neanderthals became extinct has been tough because the mainstay process of radiocarbon dating is unreliable for samples that are more than 30,000 years old, due to contamination. The data showed that Neanderthals vanished from Europe between 39,000 and 41,000 years ago - but rather than being replaced rapidly by modern humans, their disappearance occurred at different times across sites from the Black Sea to the Atlantic.

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