2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis
    Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis

    By Alexei Anishchuk and Richard Balmforth LAKE SELIGER Russia/KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine called on Friday for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help, after accusing Russia of sending in armored columns that have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels. Russian President Vladimir Putin, defiant as ever, compared Kiev's drive to regain control of its rebellious eastern cities to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War Two. Speaking to young people at a summer camp, Putin told his countrymen they must be "ready to repel any aggression towards Russia." He described Ukrainians and Russians as "practically one people," language that Ukrainians say dismisses the very existence of their thousand-year-old nation. Kiev and Western countries say the reversal was the result of the arrival of armored columns of Russian troops, sent by Putin to prop up a rebellion that would otherwise have been near collapse.

  • Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case
    Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case

    The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal. The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly. On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals. ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died.

  • Rob Ford resurgent in Toronto mayor race; but new claims emerge
    Rob Ford resurgent in Toronto mayor race; but new claims emerge

    By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has gained ground on challengers heading into an election this fall, according to a poll released on Thursday, but the boost was coupled with fresh claims about inappropriate behavior. The city's Catholic school authority released documents alleging that Ford had threatened a teacher, turned up late and inebriated to an important practice, swore at his players and made them roll in animal feces while working as a volunteer head football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. The allegations have not been proven in court and Ford did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.

  • Comedian Tracy Morgan still struggling after crash
    Comedian Tracy Morgan still struggling after crash

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — An attorney for Tracy Morgan says the former "Saturday Night Live" actor is having a tough time recovering from a June accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that left a fellow comedian dead.

  • Don't mess with nuclear Russia, Putin says
    Don't mess with nuclear Russia, Putin says

    By Alexei Anishchuk LAKE SELIGER Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia's armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: "It's best not to mess with us." Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate. Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armor to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people.

  • Florida mother arrested after five kids found living in filthy home
    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.

  • How much does Malia Obama tip? A brush with American royalty

    My daughter’s voice was breathless on the other end of the phone: “I just waited on Malia Obama!” How cool! How Washington! I thought. What did Malia eat? The restaurant is in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, well situated between two major hotels, and gets people from all over the world.

  • Saudi king warns of terrorism threat to U.S., Europe

    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East, the Saudi state news agency reported late on Friday. "I ask you to convey this message to your leaders... Terrorism at this time is an evil force that must be fought with wisdom and speed," said King Abdullah. "And if neglected I'm sure after a month it will arrive in Europe and a month after that in America." The world's top oil exporter shares an 800-km (500-mile) border with Iraq, where Islamic State militants and other Sunni Islamist groups have seized towns and cities. Britain raised its terrorism alert on Friday and Prime Minister David Cameron said Islamic State posed the greatest ever security risk to the country.

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