After turbulent year, Obama aims for quiet Hawaii getaway

President Barack Obama and the first family disembark Air Force One after arriving at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for their annual family Christmas vacation Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, in Honolulu. The first family will be staying in Kailua, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) — A tumultuous year all but behind him, President Barack Obama set off for his annual winter getaway in Hawaii hoping for one thing: Quiet.



Putin urges Russia's secret services to tackle 'modern challenges'

Russian President Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in MoscowMOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Saturday for improvement of Moscow's secret services to tackle "modern challenges and threats" amid his country's standoff with the West over the Ukrainian crisis. The call came in a letter by Putin, himself a former KGB agent, to veterans and current operatives of Russia's security services on the day Moscow traditionally honors them. ...



Christmas 1914: The day even WWI showed humanity

In this photo taken on Nov. 21, 2014, a Princess Mary Christmas tin from 1914 on display at the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience museum in Ploegsteert, Belgium. The gift boxes were given to soldiers during Christmas of 1914. The tins contained a package of cigarettes, a Christmas card and a photo of Princess Mary. Soldiers who had been killing each other by the tens of thousands for months climbed out of their soggy trenches to seek a shred of humanity amid the horrors of World War I. Hands reached out across the divide and in Flanders Fields a century ago, a spontaneous Christmas truce ever so briefly lifted the human spirit. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)PLOEGSTEERT, Belgium (AP) — With British and German forces separated only by a no-man's land littered with fallen comrades, sounds of a German Christmas carol suddenly drifted across the frigid air: "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" ("Silent Night, Holy Night").



2016 hopeful Ben Carson pledges support for Israel

In this Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 photo, Ben Carson visits in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Carson, 63, a retired African-American neurosurgeon best known for his groundbreaking work in separating conjoined twins, has not yet declared his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination, saying that he is "strongly considering" a bid. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)JERUSALEM (AP) — In his first visit to Israel, prospective Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he is in awe of the Jewish state, inspired by its ancient holy sites, impressed by the resilience of people living in a perpetual conflict zone — and deeply disappointed in President Barack Obama.



Child under observation at Chicago hospital to rule out Ebola

Interview is conducted with passenger arriving from Sierra Leone at O'Hare International Airport in ChicagoBy Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - A child who arrived in Chicago with a fever was under observation on Friday at a city hospital to rule out the Ebola virus, hospital officials said. Federal officials screening arriving passengers at O'Hare International Airport detected the fever but no other symptoms of the disease, the University of Chicago Medical Center said in a statement. The patient was isolated under strict quarantine protocols until the child’s condition improves and a diagnosis is established, the hospital said. The child was in stable condition. ...





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