Obama says Putin presiding over economic contraction: CNN interview

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Russian President Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in MoscowWASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. president Barack Obama has rejected the charge that he has been outmaneuvered by Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying in a TV interview due for broadcast later on Sunday that Putin was presiding over "a huge economic contraction" due to the Ukraine crisis. Obama, in an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union" program rejected the notion that Putin "is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other." The United States and Europe have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia. …


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Gunman kills two New York police officers in possible revenge attack

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An ambulance carrying one of the two New York Police officers who were shot dead passes by a New York Fire Department honor guard along Broadway in the Brooklyn borough of New YorkNEW YORK (Reuters) – A gunman shot dead two New York City police officers and then killed himself, police said, after a social media post indicated he may having been seeking revenge for the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest attempt. The two New York City Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were ambushed in their patrol car Saturday afternoon, said NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton. …


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Prosecutor: No charges in church disturbance death

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Anti-Castro groups gathered in a Little Havana park to protest President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba on Saturday, and an opposition leader from the island was expected to open the… Waving U.S. and Cuban flags and chanting “Obama, traitor,” anti-Castro protesters gathered Saturday in a Little Havana park in a show of opposition to the president’s plan to normalize relations with the communist nation. Authorities say two New York Police Department officers are in critical condition after being shot inside their patrol car, and the suspect is believed dead.

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Nigerian growth to slow, inflation to rise in 2015: IMF

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A woman takes Nigerian Naira from a bank's automated teller machine (ATM) in Ikeja district in the commercial capital LagosABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria's growth rate is expected to slow to about 5 percent in 2015 as falling oil prices cut revenues and spending, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday. Africa's biggest economy will have to rely more on businesses outside its core oil sector in the medium term — agriculture, trade, and services all helped it grow 6.1 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the fund added. Nigeria has been battered by the more than 45 percent decline in crude prices since the summer, in the run up to hotly contested presidential elections in February. …


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Sea Shepherd ‘in contempt of US court’

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Radical environmentalists have been found in contempt of court in the US for failing to halt their campaign to disrupt the annual Antarctic whale hunt. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ordered a lower court to determine how much the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and founder Paul Watson owe Japanese whalers.

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Obama says U.S. blacks better off overall than when he began presidency

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U.S. President Barack Obama reponds to a question during his end of the year press conference in the briefing room of the White House in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday that U.S. blacks are better off now than they were when he began his presidency in 2009, but that the gap between blacks and whites remains. "Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," he told reporters in an end-of-year news conference. "The gap between income and wealth of white and black America persists, and we've got more work to do on that front. …


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Nigeria to raise 1.2 trl naira in T-bills in Q1

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LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s central bank said on Friday it plans to raise about 1.22 trillion naira ($6.61 billion) in treasury bills in the first quarter of next year. The bank in an issuance calendar said it plans to issue 230.88 billion naira worth of 3-month treasury bills, 291.53 billion of 6-month paper and 700.56 billion in one year notes between Dec. 18 to March 5, next year. Nigeria, Africa’s top economy, issues treasury bills twice a month to fund its budget and manage liqudity in the banking system. ($1 = 184.50 naira)

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Lawyers for two friends of accused Boston bombers due in court

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Hayden, defense attorney for Matanov who is accused of lying to federal investigators about his ties to accused Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, talks to reporters following Matanov's arraignment in federal courtBOSTON (Reuters) – Lawyers for two friends of the accused Boston Marathon bombers are due in court on Friday for separate hearings as the city braces for the January start of a trial focused on the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. Attorneys for Khairullozhon Matanov, a cab driver from Kyrgyzstan who was charged with lying to investigators by downplaying his relationship with the accused bombers after calling police to offer information on them, are expected to ask a judge to crack down on leaks about their client from law-enforcement sources. …


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