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Cuba's Raul Castro steps out of brother's shadow with U.S. deal, support surges

HAVANA - Stepping out of his legendary brother's shadow, President Raul Castro has scored a diplomatic triumph and a surge in popular support with the deal that ends decades of open hostility with the United States.

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Cuba not returning to capitalism despite U.S. deal: Castro's daughter

HAVANA - Cuba will defend its socialist principles and will not return to capitalism just because it has agreed a detente with the United States, the daughter of President Raul Castro said, dispelling any notion that U.S. companies would be free to roll into Cuba.

Politics, Cuba 19 Dec 2014

Obama to block exports of goods, technology, services to Crimea

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Friday said he would ban exports of goods, technology or services to Ukraine's Crimea region, and called on Russia to end its annexation of the region.

19 Dec 2014

Exclusive: Iran's support for Syria tested by oil price drop

AMMAN - Syrian businessmen and trade officials say they are worried the economic lifeline provided by Iran is under strain from plunging oil prices, despite public messages of support from Syria's strongest regional ally.

Syria 19 Dec 2014

Iraqi Kurds claim more territory after breaking siege of Sinjar

DOHUK, Iraq - Kurdish forces claimed to have seized more territory on Friday after breaking the siege of Sinjar mountain in what they called their biggest victory yet in their war against Islamic State.

19 Dec 2014

Eight Colombian police, military killed in guerrilla attacks

BOGOTA - Colombia's Marxist-led FARC guerrillas killed five soldiers in an ambush on Friday just hours before the rebels were to begin an indefinite ceasefire, the army said.

19 Dec 2014

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