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US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

Cargill aims to sell more corn and soybeans. MasterCard covets another site for Americans to swipe credit cards. Marriott sees beachfront property that needs hotels.

2014 frustrates US hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Secretary of State John Kerry is ending 2014 much in the same way he started it, frustrated in efforts to push Israel and Palestinians toward peace.

Republicans fighting to hang onto Senate _ in 2016

Senate majority in hand, ascendant Republicans are set to challenge President Barack Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill come January. But a much tougher election map two years from now could force the GOP right back into the minority.

Obama says US can influence new generation in Cuba

President Barack Obama said his plan to normalize relations with Cuba gives the U.S. a chance to influence events at an important moment of change for the communist nation, and he brushed off critics who accuse him of kowtowing to dictators.

Holder calls police shootings 'act of barbarism'

Attorney General Eric Holder is condemning the shooting deaths of two New York City police officers as senseless and an "unspeakable act of barbarism."

GOP to back 'The Interview' if it gets to theaters

The GOP is calling on supporters to buy a ticket to the movie "The Interview" if theater owners reverse their decision not to show the film amid threats of retaliation for its comedic take on assassinating North Korea's leader.

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing executive emails.

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

The Pentagon said Saturday that four Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been returned to their home country in what U.S. officials are citing as a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Obama's Cuba moves reflect Florida political shift

For decades, the politics of Cuba in Florida were simple: anything less than a hard line stance against Fidel Castro was a sure way to lose a race for office.

Congress finishes up, its members still grumbling

The 113th Congress began its turbulent life two years ago battling over whether to help Superstorm Sandy victims. They did, eventually.

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

Faced with one of its biggest challenges in years -- repairing a troubled nuclear missile corps -- the Air Force has taken an important first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its problems run deep and wide.

Obama takes foreign policy risk, but on his own terms

President Barack Obama has been criticized as cautious on foreign policy, but the secret negotiations on Cuba suggest a willingness for bold and risky action, if he can keep tight control and rely on a few close aides.

Bush officials did little oversight of CIA program

In July 2004, despite growing internal concerns about the CIA's brutal interrogation methods, senior members of George W. Bush's national security team gave the agency permission to employ the harsh tactics against an al-Qaida facilitator the agency suspected was linked to a plot to disrupt the upcoming presidential election.

5 things to know about year-end tax breaks

In an almost annual ritual, Congress has passed a last-minute package of temporary tax breaks, sparing millions of businesses and individuals from unwanted tax increases just weeks before start of filing season.

Obama calls on women only at news conference

Something was missing from President Barack Obama's year-end news conference. Male questioners.

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