World News | WRHL World News 2014-12-18T09:25:22Z World News Putin says Russia economy will be cured but offers no remedy By Timothy Heritage and Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin assured Russians on Thursday that the economy would rebound after the ruble's dramatic slide this year but offered no remedy for a deepening financial crisis. In an assured performance at a three-hour news conference, Putin blamed the economic problems on external factors and said the crisis over Ukraine was caused by the West, which he accused of building a "virtual" Berlin Wall to contain Russia. ... Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap 100 over women, children in Nigeria By Lanre Ola MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 other people on Sunday during a raid on the remote northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, a security source and resident said on Thursday. Although no one has claimed it yet, the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which abducted more than 200 women in April from a secondary school in Chibok, only 24 km (15 miles) from this latest attack. ... 'Another Wall falls': Europe hails U.S.-Cuba breakthrough BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall reunited Europe, the European Union hailed a "historic turning point" in the Caribbean with the renewal of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. "Today another Wall has started to fall," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement. "These moves represent a victory of dialogue over confrontation. ... Israel's Lieberman says hopes Palestinians return to talks PRAGUE (Reuters) - Israel hopes the Palestinians come back to the negotiating table, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday, calling a U.N. Security Council draft resolution seeking a peace deal within a year counter-productive. "Only through negotiations is it possible to achieve a comprehensive solution," he said while visiting the Czech capital. Earlier in the day, Lieberman described as a gimmick a Palestinian-proposed U.N. Security Council draft resolution that calls for a peace deal within a year and an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017. ... Colombia rejects FARC's verification demand for ceasefire By Peter Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's government welcomed on Thursday a plan by Marxist rebels for an indefinite ceasefire but rejected their demand for independent monitoring as a prerequisite. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have announced an indefinite ceasefire from Saturday if the government allows independent verification. But Latin America's oldest insurgent movement said it would be called off if they are attacked. ... U.N. defers Iraq's $4.6 billion Gulf War reparations to Kuwait By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Gulf War compensation fund agreed on Thursday to defer Iraq's requirement to deposit five percent of its oil revenues for a year due to its budgetary difficulties, a senior U.N. official said. Major powers on the fund's ruling body took the decision by consensus as Iraq's economy is being battered by both low oil prices and war with Islamic State militants. ... European court rules obesity can be a disability LONDON (AP) — Obesity can be a disability, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday — a decision that could have widespread consequences across the 28-nation bloc for the way in which employers deal with severely overweight staff. Poll: 81 percent back Putin even as ruble falls MOSCOW (AP) — From a Western perspective, Vladimir Putin's days as president of Russia should be numbered: The ruble has lost about half its value, the economy is in crisis and his aggression in Ukraine has turned the country into an international pariah. Putin: West is trying to 'defang' the Russian bear MOSCOW (AP) — Vowing never to let the West defang his proud nation, President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to fix Russia's economic woes within two years by diversifying and voiced confidence that the plummeting ruble will soon recover. Cambodian villagers angry over HIV outbreak PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's prime minister has appealed to villagers in northwestern Cambodia not to lynch an unlicensed medical practitioner who they suspect caused more than 100 people to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013 BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is back inside a courtroom for the first time since July 2013. Saudi says oil decisions not linked to politics RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi says there are no links between the kingdom's decision to oppose production cuts and politics. EU's Mogherini urges Putin to change his attitude BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to radically change his attitude to the rest of the world and be more cooperative. Russia's financial crisis was not good news for Russian citizens, or for Ukraine, Europe or the rest of the world, Mogherini told reporters before an EU summit that will discuss the Ukraine conflict and the EU's relations with Russia. ... Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears in court for first time since July 2013 BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears in court for first time since July 2013. Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy WASHINGTON (AP) — A lack of unanimity in both political parties toward President Barack Obama's sudden move to re-establish ties with Cuba complicates any congressional effort to scuttle the most significant change in U.S. policy toward the communist island in 50-plus years. Top Asian News at 3:00 p.m. GMT TOKYO (AP) — If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons. No country would welcome a movie portraying the glib and graphic assassination of its leader. Pakistan grants bail to main Mumbai attack suspect ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Thursday granted bail to the chief suspect in the Mumbai attack trial, a defense lawyer said, a decision immediately criticized by India. US stocks gain as energy sector extends rebound NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks opened higher as the energy sector continued to rebound along with the price of oil. Oracle surged after reporting strong earnings. Putin says his grip on power is firm and economy will rebound President Vladimir Putin vowed on Thursday that Russia would rapidly recover from its financial crisis and said his grip on power was firm, even as new Western sanctions and a run on the ruble pile on the pressure. The Russian leader, who is locked in a confrontation with the West, showed no willingness to change tack on Ukraine and dismissed the possibility of the country's elite turning against him. Sanctions-hit Russia is grappling with a ruble collapse seen as a major test for Putin, whose pact with voters has been based on the relative prosperity brought by years of high oil prices. He said Russia's would adjust to low oil prices, but he gave no recipe for turning the economy around. Yemeni women fear Houthis are restricting freedoms By Yara Bayoumy SANAA (Reuters) - When Yemeni Arwa Othman took a dance at the headquarters of a political party in Sanaa, she exposed the kind of deep hostility that is worrying women's rights campaigners now that Houthi rebels control the capital. Othman presented an unusual sight in conservative Yemen, where most women are shrouded in black, but all she was doing was celebrating a national holiday last September. ... Dutch Cabinet crisis deepens THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands' prime minister has canceled plans to attend a European summit in Brussels in order to focus his full attention on a domestic political spat that is threatening to cause the collapse of his 2-year-old governing coalition. OSCE extends observer mission at Russia-Ukraine border until March VIENNA (Reuters) - European security watchdog the OSCE prolonged the mandate of its observer mission at two Russian checkpoints on the border with Ukraine by three months on Thursday, the longest extension so far. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of sending weapons and soldiers to help pro-Russian separatists in the country's east during the conflict that began after the overthrow of Ukraine's Moscow-backed leader in February. Russia denies it. ... 'Impossible' for Saudi to reduce oil output: minister Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that competitive pressures prevent it from reducing output, and the kingdom can weather plunging oil prices. Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi denied that "political objectives" play a role in decisions about production, and expressed optimism for the future despite crude's price drop of about 50 percent since June. "It is difficult, or even impossible, for Saudi Arabia or OPEC to undertake any measure that would lead to a reduction in (their) share of the market and an increase in that of others" who do not belong to the cartel, he said in comments to the official Saudi Press Agency. Crude prices traded above $100 a barrel earlier this year but have fallen to multi-year lows since June. Sony film took aim at North Korea's biggest taboo TOKYO (AP) — If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons. France fines 13 firms $1.2 bln for price-fixing PARIS (AP) — Penalizing a dirty business involving cleaning products, French regulators fined 13 consumer-products makers about 950 million euros ($1.2 billion) for price fixing on goods like shampoos, detergents and toothpaste. EU leaders seek long-term strategy to deal with Russia By Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday seeking common ground on a long-term strategy to deal with an unfriendly but economically wounded Russia. Summit host Donald Tusk, the new president of the leaders' European Council, said it was vital for stability on the bloc's eastern borders to start a discussion about how to handle a relationship that some warn risks becoming a new Cold War. "The situation is really dramatic and very dynamic and of course ... ... U.N. launches 2015 Syria appeal, focuses on helping refugees' host nations By Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations called on Thursday for more than $8.4 billion to help nearly 18 million people in need in Syria, wrecked by civil war, and across the region in 2015. As well as calling for cash for essential humanitarian aid for millions of Syrians inside and outside their homeland, the annual appeal included for the first time development plans to help neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Launched at a donor meeting in Berlin, the 2015 appeal includes $2. ... Dutch secret service taps terror suspects' lawyers AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch interior ministry has acknowledged the country's secret service sometimes taps the communications of lawyers who represent terrorism suspects. UK police probe murder claims in child abuse case LONDON (AP) — British police said Thursday they are investigating three allegations of murder as part of an inquiry into claims that politically powerful people sexually abused children several decades ago. Greek opposition leader says wants 'negotiated' solution to debt ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's radical leftist Syriza party would cancel austerity policies agreed by the current government if elected but would negotiate debt relief with international lenders without taking unilateral steps, party leader Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday. Saying he was committed to keeping Greece in the euro, Tsipras told Reuters that Europe should cut or erase a big chunk of Greek debt. He said loans from the IMF must be paid but he would seek an extension to maturities on bonds held by the ECB. ... Daimler puts aside $748 million for antitrust case BERLIN (AP) — Daimler AG says it's booking a 600 million-euro ($748 million) charge related to European Union antitrust proceedings against commercial vehicle makers. Actress Diane Guerrero writing memoir NEW YORK (AP) — Through her own story, Diane Guerrero wants to change the lives of others. All Blacks' Carter to leave for France after World Cup AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter confirmed Thursday he will end his test career after next year's World Cup and join French club Racing Metro on a deal that could make him rugby's highest-paid player. Russia says EU sanctions on Crimea unacceptable MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday new European Union sanctions banning investment in Crimea were "absolutely unacceptable" and amounted to discrimination against the Black Sea peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Kiev in March. "Brussels should realize that Crimea and Sevastopol are an inseparable part of Russia," the ministry said in a statement. "We consider absolutely unacceptable any discrimination against the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol based on political reasons." (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Elizabeth Piper) Fischnaller, Schoeffmann win snowboard WCup races MONTAFON, Austria (AP) — Italian snowboarder Roland Fischnaller won the season-opening World Cup parallel slalom Thursday for his 10th career victory, and Sabine Schoeffmann of Austria upset the favorites in the women's competition for her maiden win. Rights group decries judges' sacking in Maldives COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — An international rights group has criticized the dismissal of two top judges in the Maldives, including the country's chief justice, calling it an assault on judicial independence. Irish face new abortion row over brain-dead woman DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland is debating its constitutional ban on abortion again amid a case involving a brain-dead pregnant woman on life support. EU leaders meeting about Russia, jumpstarting growth BRUSSELS (AP) — Leaders of the 28 European Union countries are meeting to talk about two major issues —how to jumpstart sluggish economic growth at home, and how to deal long-term with Russia. Egypt jails 40 Morsi backers for church fires An Egyptian court sentenced 40 backers of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to up to 15 years in jail Thursday for violence including torching churches, a judicial source said. Followers of Morsi have been the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since he was deposed in July 2013 by ex-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The criminal court in Assiut in southern Egypt sentenced two defendants to 15 years each, while the others were given jail terms ranging from one year to 10, the source said. They were accused of taking part in acts of violence in Assiut last year during which five churches, several police stations and a number of shops were set on fire. Lawmakers disrupt vote on Kenyan security law NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan opposition lawmakers shouted slogans, sang and threw water in parliament on Thursday, disrupting a vote to authorize terrorism-related measures that rights activists say threaten civil liberties and free speech. The bill would allow suspects to be held without charge for 360 days, up from 90 days; compel landlords to provide information about their tenants and punish media organizations for printing material that is "likely to cause fear or alarm". Speaker Justin Muturi had already suspended the morning session after opposition legislators shouted him down. ... WRHL 2014-12-18T14:25:22Z