December 21, 2014

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Chicago thieves adopt ‘crash-and-grab’ tactics

Yellow tape surrounds the scene where a van can be seen inside the glass entrance of a store on South Western Avenue, in Chicago. At least a dozen "crash-and-grab" burglaries, in which gangs drive stolen cars directly into retail businesses, has shop owners nervous and police stumped in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Brian Jackson)

CHICAGO (AP) — All the burglars use the same audacious tactics: A vehicle crashes through a storefront in the wee hours and up to six people in dark clothing and ski masks pour out,grabbing whatever they can with the speed of a NASCAR pit crew. Then the thieves dash out over the broken glass to a waiting getaway Read More…

Senate may confirm up to 88 federal judges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Impeded no more by Republican blocking tactics, Democrats are on track to win confirmation of up to 88 of President Barack Obama’s top judicial nominations this year, a total that would be the highest for any president in two decades. Last year, Democrats made it harder for Republicans to derail Obama’s nominations by weakening the Senate’s Read More…

AP was there: Romania’s Revolution in 1989

In this file photo dated Dec. 23, 1989, people stand on a armored carrier in the suburbs of Timisoara, Romania, during clashes between the army and pro-Ceausescu forces, as over 5000 people are reported killed in Timisoara during this week. Twenty-five years ago the people rose up against Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, executed him and set the country on a path to democracy. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Twenty-five years ago the people rose up against Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, executed him and set the country on a path to democracy. One of the near victims of the revolt that toppled Ceausescu and communism in Romania was AP correspondent John Daniszewski — now a senior managing editor at the news agency — who, Read More…

Search intensifies for Pa. gunman who killed 6

Bradley William Stone

PENNSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Schools closed and hospitals and other public places tightened security as police in two suburban Philadelphia counties hunted on Tuesday for a Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives. Residents remained on alert even as officials lifted a shelter-in-place order for parts of Bucks County, where Read More…

Ruble slides again despite Central Bank rate hike

Signs advertising currencies are illuminated next to the exchange office in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday. After a massive overnight rate hike by Russia's Central Bank, the ruble staged a two-hour rally Tuesday morning before rolling back to new historic lows. The surprise Central Bank decision to raise the rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent came in the early hours on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to prop up the troubled currency. It's the biggest interest rate hike since 1998, the year when Russia defaulted on its sovereign bonds. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A massive interest rate hike by Russia’s Central Bank on Tuesday failed to stem the selling pressure on the ruble, which slid another 14 percent Tuesday to new historic lows. The surprise Central Bank decision to raise the rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent came in the early hours on Tuesday in a Read More…

‘Deluded’ hostage-taker saw himself as a martyr

Man Haron Monis

SYDNEY (AP) — He wrote letters to grieving families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan that likened them to “Hitler’s soldiers.” He was accused of assisting a woman kill his ex-wife, whose body was found stabbed and set on fire. But the social media postings of 50-year-old Man Haron Monis, the man who was killed Read More…

Australian leader mourns for siege victims

A woman cries after laying a flower at a makeshift memorial in Sydney, Australia Tuesday near where three people died in a siege. An Iranian-born gunman took 17 people hostage at a central city cafe Monday before police stormed the cafe early Tuesday. The gunman and two hostages were killed. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

SYDNEY (AP) — Tearful Australians laid mounds of flowers at the site where two of 17 hostages were killed Tuesday when police swooped into a cafe to rescue them from a gunman — an Iranian-born self-styled cleric described by the prime minister as a deeply disturbed person carrying out a “sick fantasy.” The 16-hour siege that ended Read More…

Police altering tactics after killings, protests

Richmond Chief of Police Chris Magnus stands with demonstrators to protest the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths during a peaceful demonstration in Richmond, Calif. In cities and states nationwide, police departments are already altering policies and procedures to temper concerns about police conduct in the aftermath of recent cases of black males dying at the hands of white officers. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Kristopher Skinner, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With tensions running high over the killings of blacks by police, departments around the country are changing policies and procedures to curb the use of deadly force, ease public distrust and protect officers from retaliation. New York City plans to issue stun guns to hundreds more officers. The Milwaukee department is Read More…

Police end Sydney hostage siege after 16 hours

A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

SYDNEY (AP) — A swarm of heavily armed police stormed a cafe in the heart of downtown Sydney early Tuesday, ending a siege where a gunman had been holding an unknown number of people hostage for more than 16 hours. A police spokesman confirmed “the operation is over,” but would not release any further details Read More…

10 Things to Know, Monday, Dec. 15

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Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. Gunman takes hostages in Sydney cafe  Five people have managed to escape from the crisis in the heart of the city’s business district while police negotiate with the gunman. 2. How Washington found itself in a Mideast Read More…