Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

FARC rebels say they will stop kidnappings

Colombia

FARC rebels say they will stop kidnappings

Latin America's last major rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, announced Sunday it was giving up kidnappings in a policy reversal that could be a stepping stone toward peace talks after decades of conflict. On its website, the FARC, as the group is known, said it would release 10 soldiers and policemen that have been held in jungle camps going back as far as the 1990s. The group also announced the end to kidnapping for ransom to fund its war. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said via his Twitter account that the shift was "not sufficient in the right direction," meaning it fell short of renouncing violence.

Australia

Premier wins vote to keep her job

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard won a resounding victory today against the party leader she deposed two years ago, Kevin Rudd, in a ballot of Labor Party lawmakers that she had ordered in hopes of putting down strife within her unpopular government. Following his defeat by 71 votes to 31, Rudd called on his center-left Labor Party to unite behind Gillard. He had warned during his brief leadership campaign that she would lead Labor to certain defeat at elections next year.

New York

Study cites new stem-cell finding

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say they have extracted stem cells from human ovaries and made them generate egg cells. The advance might provide a new source of eggs for treating infertility, though scientists say it's too early to tell if the work holds such promise. The research depends on a special protein found to mark the surface of reproductive cells like eggs and sperm. Using a cell-sorting machine that can separate out the marked cells, the team obtained reproductive cells from mouse ovaries and showed that the cells would generate viable egg cells that could be fertilized and produce embryos.

South Korea

N. Korea threatens attack for exercise

North Korea's newly installed leader Kim Jong Un threatened Sunday to launch a powerful retaliatory strike against South Korea if provoked. It was the second such threat in recent days. North Korean media said Pyongyang's forces would deal harshly with any threat posed by today's scheduled annual South Korean-U.S. military drills, which North Korea characterize as a dress rehearsal to an invasion. South Korean and U.S. officials say the 12-day drills are defensive in nature.

Elsewhere

South Africa: Nelson Mandela was released from the hospital Sunday after an overnight stay for minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint, President Jacob Zuma said.

Britain: Rupert Murdoch said News Corp.'s first Sunday edition of the Sun sold 3 million copies, topping the circulation of its News of the World predecessor that he closed after a phone-hacking scandal last July.

Canada: A Canadian Via Rail passenger train derailed west of Toronto on Sunday, killing three railroad employees and injuring dozens of passengers, officials said.

Senegal: Voters booed President Abdoulaye Wade as he went to cast his ballot in elections Sunday, the latest sign of how his decision to seek a third term has caused his popularity to fall and divided the nation.

Times wires

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Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

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