THE RUNDOWN
A BLOG OF NEWS AND INSIGHT
  • BY Carey Reed  December 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM EST

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    The man who shot and killed two New York Police Department officers in Brooklyn Saturday expressed anger against the government for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown on social media and had previously attempted suicide, officials said Sunday.
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  • BY Carey Reed  December 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM EST

    Women place flowers at a memorial to the two New York Police Department  officers that were shot and killed nearby December 21, 2014 in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Flags flew at half staff around the city of New York on Sunday, as residents mourned the killings of two New York Police Department officers in what was characterized by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as an assassination.
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  • BY Josh Lederman, Associated Press  December 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM EST

    HONOLULU — The United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back onto its list of state sponsors of terrorism, President Barack Obama said as the U.S. decides how to respond to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that law enforcement has blamed on the communist nation.

    Obama described the hacking case as a “very costly, very expensive” example of cybervandalism, but did not call it an act of war. In trying to fashion a proportionate response, the president said the U.S. would examine the facts to determine whether North Korea should find itself back on the terrorism sponsors list.

    “We’re going to review those through a process that’s already in place,” Obama told CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview to air Sunday. “I’ll wait to review what the findings are.” READ MORE

  • BY Associated Press  December 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM EST

    WASHINGTON — 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.

    Obama said a half-century of trying to push out the Castro government through isolation has not worked. He said his administration is taking a look at whether to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror, acknowledging that Havana’s inclusion makes it difficult for the U.S. to pursue closer ties.

    “If we engage, we have the opportunity to influence the course of events at a time when there’s going to be some generational change in that country,” Obama told CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview set to air Sunday. “And I think we should seize it and I intend to do so.” READ MORE

  • BY Lara Jakes, Associated Press  December 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM EST

    WASHINGTON — 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.

    With a diplomatic showdown looming this past week over Arab plans to force Israel from occupied Palestinian lands within three years, Kerry prepared for a quick trip to Jordan in hopes of finding a calmer alternative.

    By Thursday, the crisis appeared to have been averted when Palestinian and Jordanian officials said they would not push their resolution to an immediate vote in the U.N. Security Council, partly because the U.S. threatened a veto.

    The fast-moving political drama was a small, if temporary, victory for America’s chief diplomat in his quest to end generations of fighting and tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. But it also showed how unlikely it is that Kerry can help restart peace talks soon, much less achieve the lasting truce he long has hoped to arrange.

    “If people come together, work together, exert an effort to try to find the common ground here, I’m confident that the people of Israel are as interested in peace as are the people in Palestine, in the West Bank, in Jordan, and in the region,” Kerry said recently.

    “But this is not the moment to opine on that process,” Kerry said. READ MORE

  • BY Andrew Mach  December 20, 2014 at 5:51 PM EST

    Two NYPD officers were shot to death in their patrol car in Brooklyn shortly before the suspected gunman shot himself in the head at a nearby subway station.

    Two New York City Police Department officers were shot and killed in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on Saturday, and the gunman also died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Continue reading

  • BY Carey Reed  December 20, 2014 at 4:15 PM EST

    Visitors walk across a bridge over the Tumen river from North Korea to the town of Tumen in China's Jilin province on March 21, 2009. Credit:  Peter ParksAFP/Getty Images.

    Chinese authorities arrested Christian missionary Peter Hahn near the China-North Korea border on Friday. Continue reading

  • BY Andrew Mach  December 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM EST

    Photo by Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

    Leaders in North Korea on Saturday called the Obama Administration’s accusations that it was behind the cyber attack on Sony Pictures “groundless slander” and threatened to retaliate unless the United States agreed to conduct a joint investigation with them. Continue reading

  • BY Carey Reed  December 20, 2014 at 2:13 PM EST

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    Researchers discovered a new fish species living at the greatest depths ever explored of the world’s largest ocean. Continue reading

  • BY Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press  December 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM EST

    113th Session Of Congress Convenes

    WASHINGTON — 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.

    Congress extends these tax breaks every year or two, usually at the last minute, drawing complaints from business leaders tired of the uncertainty. This year’s package will add nearly $42 billion to federal budget deficit, according to congressional estimates.

    Five things to know about the year-end tax package, which President Barack Obama signed into law Friday: Continue reading