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Major powers seek to hold Syria peace congress in late January

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 11:17

Major powerbrokers agreed Friday to hold a peace congress for Syria in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi in late January after previous attempts to hold the conference collapsed. Sochi will host the "Congress of National Dialogue" on Syria on January 29 and 30, said a joint statement released after two days of talks spearheaded by Russia and Iran, both key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and rebel-aligned Turkey.


How to cook the perfect Christmas dinner – the definitive step-by-step guide

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 11:15

Juggling all the components that go into having the Christmas dinner all laid out on the dinner table can seem like having to deliver six billion presents all over the world in one evening. And with just four hobs (or seven reindeers in Santa's case) too. Everything has to be piping hot and on the dinner table at the same time, on time (quite like the presents under the tree). And while this may seem like mission impossible, you can do it. Really. You just need a little help. That's why, with the kind help of Leiths Cookery School, we have put together this definitive interactive guide to cooking the perfect Christmas dinner on this most stressful of days.   Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith founded the school in 1975, and their teachers have been helping home cooks master the seemingly dark arts of cookery ever since.  With this guide you can follow their expert timings and instructions, making a breeze of the (roughly) five hour cooking process. Just hit start on the graphic and follow the step-by-step guide. Checklist | What you need to make our perfect Christmas dinner The guide works on the basis that you are working with a conventional home oven and four hobs. It's a done-in-one-go instruction manual; there's no need to do anything the day or the week before (although you do need to make sure your turkey is fully defrosted by the time you wake up on Christmas morning). And if you fall behind at any point, don't worry too much: Leiths say they'd always allow for an hour's contingency when cooking a meal as large as this. Simply click the link at the bottom of the graphic to reveal the step-by-step process in full. Good luck and have a Merry Christmas! Christmas roast interactive timer Celebrate Christmas with Leiths with their festive gift guide How to make the perfect gravy | Source: Leiths cookery School  


Rights groups call on Egypt to free Al-Jazeera journalist

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 11:13

CAIRO (AP) — Rights groups and a press freedom organization renewed calls on Egyptian authorities Friday to release an Al-Jazeera journalist whose detention passed the one-year mark. Egypt accuses the Qatar-based news network of bias toward Islamist groups including its own outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.


'Beds Are Just Wireless Chargers For Humans'

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:15

Separated from their cellphones, standing under running water often allows people’s minds to run free.


How Does Santa Claus Deliver All the Presents on Christmas Eve? Watch Our Santa Tracker to Find Out

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:00

We calculated the best route for Santa to take through the U.S. See when he'll arrive at your house


How to track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve from any device

Macworld - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 08:59

The presents are wrapped, the tree is up, and the stockings will soon be hung by the chimney with care. There’s only one thing left to do: track Santa’s annual Christmas Eve voyage around the world from your PC, smartphone, or tablet.

This year Santa’s departure time depends on which version of the Santa-tracking fun you’re following. Check out our explanations below for all the details.

Norad

It’s been 61 years since a misprinted telephone number in a newspaper ad led children in the Colorado Springs area to call NORAD predecessor CONAD, looking for Santa.

As usual, the fun begins at NoradSanta.org, where you can find games, videos, music, and stories to pass the time. Once Santa’s sleigh lifts off from the North Pole around 7 a.m. UTC on Sunday, December 24—that’s 2 a.m. Eastern or 11 p.m. on the 23rd Pacific time—the website will track Santa on a map and link to video updates on YouTube.

To read this article in full, please click here

10 promises Trump kept in 2017

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 07:11

Donald Trump in 2017 moved from being a chaos candidate to a chaos president. He shoots for the moon (literally), routinely says things that aren’t true, and often makes pledges that generate enormous attention but very little follow-through. Many of his signature policy efforts have been tied up in or blocked by the courts, his campaign is under investigation by the FBI, and his approval rating is at historic lows for a first-year president.


10 Obama regulations Trump has overturned

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 07:06

Trump’s executive-order counteroffensive carries more than mere symbolic value and represents a dramatic policy shift that will impact the nation and the world for years to come.


The unsung heroes of 2017

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 06:52

Rescue workers and volunteers help residents make their way out of a flooded Houston neighborhood following Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 29. The catastrophic flooding in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey was the backdrop for plenty of dramatic boat rescues in August. Both groups used Facebook to organize and coordinate their street-by-street searches.


The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:46

The ladies of Twitter never fail to brighten our days with their brilliant ― but succinct ― wisdom.


The Christmas Cats Of Instagram Are Bringing The Holiday Cheer

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:19

Cute cats are wishing everyone a meow-y Christmas.


The 'bloody-nose option'? Trump eyes action on North Korea in 2018

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:00

A year of erratic U.S. rhetoric and steadily escalating diplomatic and economic pressure has failed to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, leaving the frustrated Trump administration to reconsider its options going into 2018 as the world wonders whether it’s on the edge of war. “We’re not committed to a peaceful resolution — we’re committed to a resolution,” President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, told BBC News this week. “We want the resolution to be peaceful, but as the president said, all options are on the table. And we have to be prepared, if necessary, to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime,” McMaster said.


After Hurricane Maria, a look back at the Vazquez family, lit by generator

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:00

Christmas marked 96 days since Jesse Vazquez’s house on Calle Alameda in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, lost power in Hurricane Maria. The small generator his children brought him from New York back in October, when Yahoo News accompanied them on their journey, has since been supplemented with a larger one.


 New Democratic leader orders party to 'organize everywhere'

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:00

Tom Perez, the head of the Democratic National Committee, sees organizing as central to rebuilding the party.


5 ways Donald Trump has failed to 'drain the swamp'

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 05:00

One year into his first term, however, Trump’s pledge to root out Washington corruption has not exactly yielded the quick and easy results his slogan promised. Perhaps as a result, a new poll finds a sharp jump over the past 12 months in the number (44 percent) of Americans who think that most or all of the officials in the current administration are corrupt. A man holds up a “Drain the Swamp in Washington DC” sign as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the airport in Kinston, N.C., Oct. 26, 2016.


Tweeters Refuse To Let Donald Trump Take Credit For Booming House Sales

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 03:33

President Donald Trump appeared to claim credit for booming house sales on Thursday, but folks online weren’t having it.


US Congress votes to avert shutdown with hasty stopgap spending bill

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 03:22

The US Congress averted a government shutdown just one day before federal funding was due to expire, sending President Donald Trump a bill to provide just enough money to keep agencies operating through January 19. With lawmakers eager to begin a holiday recess until January 3, the House of Representatives and Senate scurried to pass the hastily written bill by votes of 231-188 and 66-32, respectively. When Congress returns, lawmakers will immediately have to get back to work on appropriating more money for a fiscal year that already will be three months old. They will try to pass an "omnibus" spending bill to fund the government from January 19 through September 30. Negotiators have been struggling for months over thorny issues such as the amount of defense-spending increases versus increases for other domestic programs, including medical research, opioid treatment and "anti-terrorism" activities. Fiscal hawks, meanwhile, are angry that Congress is again moving to bust through spending caps that had been designed to tamp down mounting federal debt. But some of those same lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Congress earlier in the week voted for a sweeping tax bill that will add $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to a national debt that already stands at $20 trillion. With the clock ticking toward a deadline of midnight on Friday when government funding would run out, Democrats in the House and Senate made a strong pitch for including protections for young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, popularly known as "Dreamers." In the end, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigration advocacy groups failed. But nearly all of the House's 193 Democrats and 29 of the Senate's 46 Democrats voted no, in part to protest the lack of action on the immigration measure. Shortly before the House and Senate votes, Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez told reporters, "We're really tired of tomorrow," referring to years of failed attempts in Congress to protect Dreamers from deportation, allow them to legally work in the United States and get on a path to citizenship. They will resume their fight in January, aiming to win on the next spending bill or a separate measure. Trump has eliminated Obama-era temporary protections for Dreamers, but has asked Congress to come up with a permanent solution by March. In the meantime, about 122 Dreamers a day are becoming vulnerable to deportation while Congress bickers. Also on Thursday, the Senate put the brakes on another bill that passed the House, which would provide $81 billion in new disaster aid to help Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and several states hit by this year's hurricanes or wildfires. The temporary spending bill did, however, give Trump a modest increase of $4.7 billion for the Department of Defense to be used for missile defense and ship repair. The bill includes $2.85 billion to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program through March and funding for community health centers and the Indian Health Service. The plan also would extend the National Security Agency's expiring internet surveillance program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, through Jan. 19. Other provisions address funding for veterans, the Coast Guard and flood insurance. Most government programs would be temporarily extended until Jan. 19 at fiscal 2017 levels.


PM Orban: Hungary will block any punitive EU action on Poland

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 02:31

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday said that Hungary sees a strong Poland as a vital component of a central European caucus within the European Union, and so will block any action to suspend Poland's voting rights in the EU. Orban said Poland, under fire from Brussels for its transformation of the judiciary, was being criticized unfairly and unjustly.


French woman, husband incommunicado in China after Liu Xiaobo tribute

Top Stories - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 00:44

A French citizen and her husband have been incommunicado for a week after the couple travelled to southern China to paint a tribute to the late democracy activist and dissident Liu Xiaobo, friends and witnesses said Friday. Marine Brossard and Hu Jiamin painted a mural at the entrance of a public exhibition in Shenzhen on December 15, but city authorities covered the wall with a banner the same evening, witnesses told AFP.


Japan company says to close two large ageing nuclear reactors

Top Stories - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 23:17

A Japanese company said Friday it would decommission two ageing nuclear reactors due to difficulty in ensuring safety, as the public remains wary about atomic energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Kansai Electric Power's reactors No.1 and No.2 of the Oi plant in central Japan will be decommissioned, the largest reactors to be closed down aside from those at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant, the company said in a statement.


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