Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Putin: What ruble crisis?

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the economy would rebound after the ruble's dramatic slide this year but offered no remedy for a deepening financial crisis.  Full Article 

U.S. jobless claims signal firmer labor market; other data mixed 12:34pm EST

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market continued to strengthen.

U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Cuba's President Raul Castro of Cuba from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC  December 16, 2014. REUTERS/White House/Pete Souza/handout

Inside the U.S.-Cuba backchannel

Reuters Diplomatic Editor Warren Strobel breaks down the secret evolution of U.S.-Cuba ties under the Obama administration culminating in Wednesday's prisoner swap and the potential for opening relations after more than fifty years.  Video | Full Article 

An explosion following an air strike is seen in central Kobani in Syria, November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

U.S. allies increasingly absent from Syria strikes

WASHINGTON/DUBAI - As U.S. fighter jets pound Islamic State targets in Syria, Washington's coalition allies appear increasingly absent from the air war.  Full Article 

Cast members James Franco (L) and Seth Rogen pose during premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California December 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Sony bows to hackers, cancels film

LOS ANGELES - Sony Pictures has canceled the release of a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea's leader, in what appears to be an unprecedented victory for Pyongyang and its abilities to wage cyber-warfare.  Full Article 

A woman with an umbrella walks along the shoreline of Lanikai Beach during a brief sunrise sunshower in Kailua, Hawaii. REUTERS/Lucy Pemoni

The best places to retire

Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire. Learn how to use our interactive tool to help you determine the cities and towns that meet your criteria.  Video | Graphic 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (R) greets fracking protesters outside his office in New York December 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

New York bans fracking after health report

ALBANY, NY/NEW YORK - New York state will ban hydraulic fracturing after a long-awaited report concluded that the oil and gas extraction method poses health risks.  Video | Full Article 

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Breakingviews: Biotech bonanza

Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding discuss Juno Therapeutics' IPO and the prospects for its cancer drug as well as other promising technologies in the booming sector.