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U.S., Cuba to restore ties after 50 years of hostility

HAVANA/WASHINGTON - The United States will restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, a major policy shift ending decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday. | Video

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Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power

MOSCOW - Russia failed to halt the collapse of the ruble on Tuesday, leaving President Vladimir Putin facing a full-blown currency crisis that could weaken his iron grip on power. | Video

Anger and grief as Pakistan buries students massacred at school

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A shocked Pakistan on Wednesday began burying 132 students killed in a grisly attack on their school by Taliban militants that has heaped pressure on the government to do more to tackle the insurgency. | Video

2:43pm EST

Fed confident in U.S. growth outlook, opens door wider to rate hike

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday offered a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, altering a pledge to keep them near zero for a "considerable time" in a show of confidence in the U.S. economy.

2:37pm EST

U.S. moves to normalize relations with Cuba in dramatic shift

WASHINGTON - The United States and Cuba are moving to normalize diplomatic relations more than 50 years after they were severed in a historic shift in policy, President Barack Obama was set to announce on Wednesday. | Video

Cuba, World, Politics 2:36pm EST

U.N. Security Council renews cross-border Syria aid authorization

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday renewed for 12 months its authorization for humanitarian access without Syrian government consent into rebel-held areas of Syria at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.

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Florida's Cuban Americans rejoice at U.S. policy overhaul

MIAMI - Some Cuban exiles rejoiced at the prospect of easier access to their relatives. Some swelled with guarded optimism over the prospect of thawing relations between the United States and the communist island. And some were simply "ecstatic."

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Australia orders sweeping investigation after deadly hostage siege

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday ordered a sweeping investigation into a deadly hostage siege after tough new security laws and the courts failed to stop a convicted felon from walking into a Sydney cafe with a concealed shotgun. | Video