By JULIE PACE and MATTHEW LEE, AP | Updated: Wed, Dec 17, 2014
WASHINGTON — American Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison after five years Wednesday, a surprise move that could pave the way for a major shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island nation, senior Obama administration officials said.
Gross, 65, was on an American government plane bound for the U.S. Wednesday morning after being released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the Obama administration. As part of the secret negotiations to secure his release, the U.S. was releasing three Cuban jailed in Florida for spying.
Obama administration officials have considered Gross’ imprisonment an impediment to improving relations with Cuba.
By KRISTEN GELINEAU, AP | Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014
SYDNEY — 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 about the fate of the gunman or his remaining captives.
After a flurry of loud bangs, police swooped into the Lindt Chocolat Cafe shortly after five or six hostages were seen running from the building.
After the police moved in, one weeping woman was helped out by the officers and at least two other people were wheeled out on stretchers.
By ANDREW TAYLOR, AP | Published: Fri, Dec 12, 2014
WASHINGTON — It’s now up to the Senate to pass a huge $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running, but not before a battle between old school veterans and new breed freshmen such as tea partier Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren, a liberal with a national following.
The smart money’s on old school types such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The measure passed the House on Thursday after a day of drama but by a relatively comfortable 219-206 vote.