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Belgian police detain 3 after apartment siege

Belgian police detain 3 in Ghent city after apartment siege; terror motive is excluded
The Associated Press

GHENT, Belgium - Belgian police detained three men after reports of a hostage taking in an apartment building in the western city of Ghent on Monday. No one was injured in the incident.

Federal police spokeswoman Annemie Serlippens excluded any political or terror motive.

"We are sure that it has nothing to do with terrorism," Serlippens said. "We think it might be drug related."

Death toll from Indonesian mudslide rises to 56

Death toll from Indonesian mudslide rises to 56 as rain halts search for dozens of others
Bayu Sasongko, The Associated Press

BANJARNEGARA, Indonesia - The death toll from a mudslide that flattened much of a village in central Indonesia rose to 56 on Monday before rain forced rescuers to halt their search for dozens of missing people, officials said.

Seventeen bodies, including those of four children, were recovered Monday, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency. Fifty-two people were still missing, three days after Friday's disaster.

1 dead after crash involving Walt Disney World bus

Florida woman dead after 3-vehicle crash involving Walt Disney World bus near resort
The Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Florida state troopers say one person is dead after a crash involving two cars and a bus near a Walt Disney World resort.

Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol says a car ran a red light early Monday and drove into the path of a Disney bus carrying about 20 passengers. The impact spun the car into another car alongside the bus.

The 29-year-old driver of the first car died at a hospital. She was identified as a woman from nearby Windermere. Her name was not released, pending notification of her family.

Australian killed by shark on Great Barrier Reef

18-year-old Australian killed by shark while spearfishing on Great Barrier Reef
The Associated Press

BRISBANE, Australia - An 18-year-old man was killed by a shark on Monday while spearfishing on the Great Barrier Reef off the eastern Australian tourist town of Port Douglas, police said.

It was the first fatal shark attack in Australia since September, when a 50-year-old swimmer was killed at popular Byron Bay, 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) to the south.

In the latest attack, the man from the nearby town of Mossman was mauled while fishing with friends off Rudder Reef, police said in a statement. He was pronounced dead after his friends brought him to shore by boat.

Hong Kong police close final protest site

Hong Kong police remove barricades, make arrests as they shut last pro-democracy protest site
Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press

HONG KONG - Hong Kong police tore down barricades, folded up tents and arrested some protesters Monday at a third and final pro-democracy protest camp, ending demonstrations that blocked traffic in the southern Chinese city's streets for 2 1/2 months.

A police negotiator gave the 17 protesters one last chance to leave voluntarily from a short stretch of road in Causeway Bay before officers started taking them away one by one to a waiting bus.

China clears man 18 years after his execution

Chinese court clears man of rape and murder 18 years after his execution
The Associated Press

BEIJING, China - A court in northern China on Monday cleared a man of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet 18 years after he was executed for the crime.

The Inner Mongolia Higher People's Court announced on its microblog that it had overturned the conviction of Huugjilt, who was 18 when he was sentenced to death and executed for the 1996 crime. Like many ethnic Mongolians, Huugjilt used only one name.

Sales of macadamias soar in Korea after nut rage

Sales of macadamia nuts soar in South Korea after Korean Air executive's nut rage
Youkyung Lee, The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea - Nut rage imploded the career of a Korean Air Lines executive and embarrassed her family and country. Now South Korean retailers are experiencing the unexpected upside: a boom in sales of macadamias.

The flavourful macadamia nut was unfamiliar to many South Koreans until Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean Air's chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight from New York City after she was served them in a bag, instead of on a plate.

Merriam-Webster names 'culture' word of the year

The cult of culture: Merriam-Webster names 'culture' its 2014 word of the year
Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture.

The word joins Oxford Dictionaries' "vape," a darling of the e-cigarette movement, and "exposure," declared the year's winner at during a time of tragedy and fear due to Ebola.

'Selma' stars on poignancy and parallels of movie

'Selma' stars remark on the film's poignancy and parallels to recent protests in the US
Alicia Rancilio, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - At Sunday's premiere of "Selma" in New York, the cast acknowledged parallels between their film about the African-American civil rights movement and recent protests nationwide, calling attention to the deaths of unarmed black males at the hands of police.

US court reconsiders anti-Muslim film on YouTube

US court reconsiders order to have YouTube remove anti-Muslim film that sparked riots
Brian Melley, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A federal appeals court will reconsider a decision to order YouTube to take down an anti-Muslim film clip that sparked violence in the Middle East and death threats to the actors from those who considered it blasphemous to the Prophet Muhammad.

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