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Cuba releases Alan Gross

Cuban President Raul Castro's head of North American affairs says Cuba welcomes 'the entire package' of policy changes offered by President Obama - @AP

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abortion

Federal appeals court strikes down North Carolina law requiring ultrasound before an abortion - @AP

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Sony cyberattack 2014

US State Department spokeswoman says North Korea should admit culpability and compensate Sony for hacking it - @AliABCNews

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Sony cyberattack 2014

US State Department says it has no confirmation that Chinese servers used in Sony hack - @HannahAllam

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US-Cuba relations

The US let 1 of the 3 Cuban prisoners freed last week provide sperm to impregnate his wife while he was still behind bars - @NBCNews

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Tunisia

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi congratulates Beji Caid Essebsi on winning Tunisia's presidency - @AlArabiya_Eng

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NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn, Dec. 20, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder is directing Justice Department officials to expedite death benefits to the families of 2 New York police officers who were fatally shot inside their patrol car - @AP

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NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn, Dec. 20, 2014

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: 'I think Mayor de Blasio is doing the best he can in a difficult situation' - @jessemckinley

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Tunisia

Editor's note: Voting in Tunisia's presidential runoff was largely pronounced free and fair, reports the Associated Press, with a participation rate of 60 percent. The election of 88-year-old former government minister Beji Caid Essebsi completes the democratic transition following events in 2011 that set off what became known as the Arab Spring. - Tricia

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Catalonia independence movement

Catalonia's High Court will open proceedings over alleged disobedience of regional President Artur Mas and other local leaders for holding Spain independence vote - @Reuters

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Tunisia

Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi swiftly claims victory in Tunisia's landmark presidential election, taking 55% of the vote - @AJENews

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Catholic Church

At annual Christmas meeting Pope Francis tells priests, bishops and cardinals who run church's central administration that careerism, scheming and greed had infected them with 'spiritual Alzheimer's' - @Reuters

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Ukraine, Russia political crisis

President Putin to hold phone talks with President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel and President Poroshenko - @Reuters

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China

China says investigating ex-President Hu's top aide, Ling Jihua, for disciplinary violations - @AP

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Republic of South Sudan violence

South Africa's President Zuma arrives in Uganda for continuation of South Sudan peace talks - @PresidencyZA

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Ukraine, Russia political crisis

Vice President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discuss situation in eastern Ukraine over phone call, White House says - @WhiteHouse

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Obama 2nd term nominations

White House plans to nominate US attorney from Georgia to become 2nd-highest-ranking official in the Justice Department, according to US officials - @washingtonpost

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NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn, Dec. 20, 2014

White House says President Obama called New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to express condolences for the killing of 2 officers and to offer support - @DavidNakamura

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Tunisia presidential election 2014

Update: Exit poll says Beji Caid Essebsi, 88-year-old official from Tunisia's previous regimes, has won the nation's presidential runoff - @AP

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NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn, Dec. 20, 2014

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani blames killing of 2 NYPD officers on anti-police 'propaganda' - @HuffPostPol

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