President Barack Obama won praise from Cuba's leader Saturday for moving to restore diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, but President Raul Castro told his nation that the change did not mean the end of communist rule in Cuba. In a speech to Cuba's National Assembly that was televised throughout the island, Castro said he was open to discussing a wide range of issues with U.S. officials who are expected to visit Havana next month. He also confirmed that he would...

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IS Militants Use Sex to Lure Recruits

by Matthew Hilburn on December 20, 2014

Fighters join the so-called Islamic State [IS] for myriad motives, but one big reason might be the lure of one of the most basic human desires: sex. “The offer of access to sex is part of the Islamic State's recruitment strategy,” said Jytte Klausen, a professor at Brandeis University and the founder of the Western Jihadism Project which monitors IS activities. “It has to be assumed that it works. Many young and not-so-young men in the Middle East and Africa, and beyond, live under...

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Zambia Ruling Party Reconcile Leaders Ahead of Election

December 20, 2014

Zambia’s information minister says the ruling Patriotic Front has a much better chance of winning next month’s presidential by-election now that acting President Guy Scott has publicly reconciled with the party’s presidential candidate, Edgar Lungu…

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Sierra Leone Welcomes Cooperation in Christmas Celebration Ban to Contain Ebola

December 20, 2014

A Sierra Leone government spokesman says Freetown is pleased with the cooperation of citizens after a ban on all public celebrations during Christmas began in a bid to contain Ebola.

The police, army and other security agencies have been deployed to e…

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Blast Wounds Police in Shi’ite Bahrain Village

December 20, 2014

The Interior Ministry of Bahrain says a bomb blast in a Shi’ite village wounded three policemen on Friday.

A ministry statement described the explosion in Bani Jamra, near the capital, Manama, as a “terrorist blast.” The statement, posted on the minis…

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US Releases 4 Afghan Prisoners From Guantanamo

December 20, 2014

The U.S. Defense Department said Saturday that four Afghans held for more than a decade at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had been returned to their home country.

Officials said the four detainees — identified as Shawali Khan, Khi…

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UN’s Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

December 20, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday urged countries affected by the Ebola virus to avoid discriminating against healthcare workers fighting to end the disease.

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at tha…

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Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

December 20, 2014

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers have been found in contempt of court for continuing their campaign to disrupt Japan’s annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ba…

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India PM Modi’s party distances itself from religious conversions

December 20, 2014

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party said on Saturday it does not support forceful religious conversions, distancing itself from a sensitive issue that has drawn sharp criticism from opposition parties and hurt the government’s reform agenda.

M…

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US Issues General Travel Alert

December 20, 2014

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans traveling abroad.

A news release issued Friday said the recent deadly hostage incident in Australia “is a reminder that U.S. citizens should be extra cautious” concerning their personal…

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