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China creates 3 new army units to modernize military

BEIJING—China has created three new military bodies as part of reforms to modernize its military—the world’s largest standing force—and improve its fighting capacity. 

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Christmas storm woes continue in southern US

Birmingham, Alabama —Severe weather has plagued the southern US during Christmas week, and the misery continued as a tornado touched down in north-central Alabama on Christmas Day. 

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Wife’s role in California attack raises fear of jihad brides in US

By Ellen Knickmeyer / The Associated Press Los Angeles—A Pakistani woman’s role as a shooter in the San Bernardino massacre is raising fears that foreign-born brides who support the Islamic State group could marry Americans to come to the US to carry out extremist missions. 

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FBI investigates California gun attack as ‘act of terror’

San Bernardino, California— The Pakistani woman who joined her US-born husband in killing 14 people in a commando-style assault is at the center of a massive Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) terrorism investigation, yet she remains shrouded in mystery.

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Brussels under serious terrorism threat after Paris attacks

By John-Thor Dahlburg  / The Associated Press Brussels—Belgium’s capital entered a security lockdown on Saturday as the government warned of a threat of a repeat of Paris-style attacks, with subways in Brussels closed and heavily armed police and soldiers deployed. At least one suspect from the deadly Paris attacks is at large, and was last seen crossing into Belgium. 

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Xi visits Vietnam to mend ties

Hanoi, Vietnam—Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam last week comes as the two communist countries seek to mend ties strained over territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). 

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Illinois Supreme Court again rejects $10-B cigarette verdict

St. Louis—A divided Illinois Supreme Court has again rejected a $10.1-billion class-action judgment against Philip Morris over its past efforts to market “low-tar” and “light” cigarettes as healthier alternatives. 

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China nixes involvement in Taiwan’s January polls

  Beijing—China won’t get involved in Taiwan’s upcoming elections, a government spokesman said, underscoring the sensitivity surrounding polls in which the island’s pro-independence opposition is expected to make a strong showing. 

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UN overwhelmingly condemns embargo on Cuba; US votes ‘No’

United Nations—The United States recently voted against a United Nations (UN) resolution condemning its embargo on Cuba, even though US President Barack Obama has called on Congress to lift the trade restrictions. 

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Biden dropping out seen as boost for Clinton bid

  Washington—United States Vice President Joe Biden said he won’t be a candidate in the 2016 White House campaign, solidifying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s status as the Democratic front-runner and the party’s likely heir to President Barack Obama’s legacy. 

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