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Russian Cossacks patrol Sochi Olympics

By Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) - Cossacks in their traditional lambswool hats and coats with epaulettes will be patrolling the Russian resort of Sochi for next month's Winter Olympics. Russia has imposed a security clampdown in Sochi to try to ensure the safety of the Games which are a sworn target of Moscow's most wanted man, the Islamic insurgency leader Doku Umarov.

'Blackadder' debate shows Britain still at war over WWI

One hundred years after the start of World War I, Britain has been gripped by an unexpectedly bitter argument over the legacy of the conflict, focusing on the television comedy "Blackadder". Comments by the education minister Michael Gove about the war this week have sparked a fierce debate that, despite its historical origins, goes to the heart of present-day questions about British identity.

Kerry highlights NK threats, Yun raises regional history issues

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his American counterpart, John Kerry, agreed Tuesday that the allies will deal sternly with any future North Korean provocations. Kerry warned that North Korea should not test the strength of the alliance.

Four killed in North Caucasus train station blast

Four people were killed and 10 injured Sunday when a blast tore through a train station in the southern Russian city Volgograd ahead of February's Winter Olympic Games in nearby Sochi. Regional interior ministry spokeswoman Svetlana Smolyaninova told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the blast occurred inside the train station at around 12:45 pm (0845 GMT). "According to the latest information, which is preliminary, four people died as a result of the blast," Interfax quoted an unnamed local emergencies ministry official as saying.

Car bomb kills three in southern Russia

By Steve Gutterman MOSCOW (Reuters) - A car bomb killed three people in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk on Friday, officials said, in a worrying development for the Kremlin as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in six weeks' time. Pyatigorsk lies 270 km (170 miles) east of Sochi, where the Games, a major prestige project for President Vladimir Putin, will open on February 7.

'Lone Survivor' depicts U.S. Navy SEALs comradery in Afghan tragedy

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - From shooting down a helicopter to firefights, film director Peter Berg spared no details to recreate a tragic United States Navy SEALs mission in Afghanistan in "Lone Survivor," an unflinching account of one of the worst losses of life in the history of the special operations force.

Israel frees Palestinian prisoner after hunger-strike deal

By Ali Sawafta RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israel freed a Palestinian prisoner from jail on Monday, completing a deal agreed earlier this year in exchange for him halting a lengthy hunger strike that almost killed him. Samer al-Issawi stopped his eight-month, on-off fast last April. His confinement had stoked weeks of protests in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Scrooged: US Senate mired in rancor before holidays

US senators swapped gifts this week, but don't be fooled: Christmas spirit has evaporated in the once-chummy chamber, and bitter rancor will drag through the holidays and into next year The Senate did pass an all-important, bipartisan budget agreement Wednesday that will restore some stability and sanity to America's fiscal process. And yes, the must-pass defense spending bill will clear Congress on Thursday night.

Budget deal still short of votes to pass Senate: Durbin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats are still short of the votes needed to pass a budget deal that would avoid a government shutdown in January and blunt automatic spending cuts, Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber's No. 2 Democrat, said on Sunday. "The struggle is still on in the United States Senate. We will need about eight Republicans to come our way. I feel we'll have a good strong showing from the Democratic side, but we need bipartisan support to pass it," Durbin, of Illinois, said on the CBS "Face the Nation" program.

'America stands with you', Senator McCain tells Ukraine rally

US Senator John McCain told more than 200,000 EU supporters rallying in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Sunday that Washington backed their desire for European integration. "To all Ukraine, America stands with you," he called out to the cheering crowd. "The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you... Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better." am-ma/zak
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