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Government and politics

Pro-Russian rebels reject peace deal, launch new offensive

Pro-Russian rebels reject previously signed peace deal, launch new offensive against Ukraine
Mstyslav Chernov, The Associated Press

DONETSK, Ukraine - Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine rejected a previously signed peace deal Friday and launched a new multipronged offensive against Ukrainian government troops, upending recent European attempts to mediate an end to the fighting.

Cuba ties diplomatic renewal to US ending aid to dissidents

Cuba ties reinstatement of diplomatic relations to Washington cutting support for dissidents
Bradley Klapper And Michael Weissenstein, The Associated Press

HAVANA - Cuba says it's demanding that the United States drop much of its support for dissidents on the island as part of the restoration of diplomatic relations.

A U.S. delegation visited Havana this week to negotiate the reopening of U.S. and Cuban embassies. A central U.S. demand is unrestricted movement of U.S. diplomats in Cuba.

Death of Saudi king unsettles oil market, prices waver

Death of Saudi king unsettles market but effect seen to be fleeting
Jonathan Fahey And Youkyung Lee, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Oil prices rose initially on news of the death of Saudi Arabia's powerful King Abdullah, but the increase was moderate and short-lived.

The king's death is unlikely to lead to a change in the kingdom's immense crude production or change the course of oil prices in the coming months, analysts say.

New generation enters line to Saudi throne as king mourned

Saudi King Salman appoints new generation to enter the line to the throne as Abdullah buried
Abdullah Al-Shihri And Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - As Saudi Arabia mourned its late ruler, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud quickly set the course for the monarchy's future Friday by naming a second-in-line to the throne from the next generation of princes for the first time.

World leaders react to death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

Reactions from around the world to the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
The Associated Press

Comments from world leaders in response to the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who died early Friday in Riyadh.

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"As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. ... One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond." — U.S. President Barack Obama

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70 years after Auschwitz liberation, a survivor remembers

One of few remaining survivors from Auschwitz liberation recalls end of infamous death camp
Aron Heller, The Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Marta Wise was ill and emaciated when she heard the distant sound of soldiers marching toward Auschwitz. The 10-year-old Slovakian Jew assumed it was German troops coming to get her but once she saw the red stars on their uniforms she realized they were Russian. Her nightmare was over. She was liberated.

Activists: Syrian airstrike kills at least 35 near Damascus

Activists say a Syrian government airstrike outside of Damascus kills at least 35 people
The Associated Press

BEIRUT - A Syrian government airstrike hit an opposition-held suburb of the capital shortly after Friday prayers, killing at least 35 people, scattering bodies and rubble in the streets and setting at least one building on fire, activists said.

An activist based near the capital who goes by the name of Abu Yazan said the air raid struck near a popular market in the town of Hamouriyeh just east of Damascus.

Art embraces science in new British play 'Oppenheimer'

Turing, Hawking, now British play 'Oppenheimer' focuses on atomic bomb creator
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

LONDON - Suddenly, scientists are sexy. With Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for multiple trophies as Alan Turing and Eddie Redmayne turning heads as Stephen Hawking, young British actors playing scientists are all the rage this awards season.

So it's good timing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose new play, "Oppenheimer," features rising star John Heffernan as American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the team that developed the first nuclear weapon.

Saudi King Abdullah, a gradual modernizer, dead at 90

Saudi King Abdullah, dead at 90, pushed gradual reforms at home, led Arab Spring backlash
Lee Keath And Abdullah Al-Shihri, The Associated Press

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - His changes looked minute to the outside world. But in a kingdom where ultra-conservative Muslim clerics long have held a lock on all aspects of society, King Abdullah's incremental reforms echoed mightily.

Thai ex-premier says 'democracy is dead' after impeachment

Thai ex-premier Yingluck says 'democracy is dead' after she's impeached
Thanyarat Doksone, The Associated Press

BANGKOK - Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Friday that democracy in her country was dead, after the military-appointed legislature voted to ban her from politics for five years and the prosecutor announced plans to indict her on criminal charges in connection with a money-losing rice subsidy program.

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