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N. Korea threatens strikes on 'whole U.S. mainland'
Pyongyang accuses the U.S. of "recklessly" spreading rumors that it led an attack on Sony.

Police departments on alert after cop killings
NEW YORK (AP) — Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car.

Florida police officer dies on duty after getting shot, run over
By Letitia Stein TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A veteran Florida police officer died on Sunday after being gunned down and run over with a car by a felon who said he "felt like a caged rat" because he faced likely arrest and more prison time, a law enforcement official said. Officer Charles Kondek, a 45-year-old married father of six, was killed in Tarpon Springs, about 30 miles northwest of Tampa, after responding to a noise complaint around 0700 GMT, the local police department said. Authorities charged Marco Antonio Parilla Jr. ...

Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor
By Laila Kearney and Edward McAllister NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio faced the biggest crisis of his political career on Sunday after a gunman killed two police officers in an attack intended to avenge recent police killings of unarmed black men in the United States. New York police officers turned their backs on de Blasio in protest during a news conference and their union said the mayor had blood on his hands after Saturdays shooting. ...

In wake of police killings, New York officers on edge
By Michelle Conlin (Reuters) - On December 13, as thousands of protesters mobbed the New York streets, Yuseff Hamm, an NYPD police officer, was monitoring the demonstrations from a mobile command unit near the Brooklyn Bridge. As the protest drew near, Hamm and his fellow officers could hear the chants of the noisy throngs:  “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.”     In his 13 years on the force, Hamm had never encountered demonstrators shouting out anything like that. ...

Republicans weigh big changes at U.S. budget referee agency
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When Republicans take full control of Congress on Jan. 6, they will face decisions on major changes at the Congressional Budget Office, including possibly naming a new head and changing the rules used to assess the cost of legislation. Conservative groups have been calling for the replacement of CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, who was appointed by Democrats in 2009 and whose term expires next month. ...

13-year-old son of slain NYPD officer mourns father on Facebook
In a pair of a heart-wrenching Facebook posts, the son of one of the two NYPD officers killed in Saturdays apparent ambush paid tribute to his slain father.

Obama, de Blasio blasted over NYPD cop slayings
Lawmakers, civil rights leaders and other officials took to Sunday-morning talk shows to condemn Saturdays slayings of two NYPD police officers.

What police departments can learn from the LAPD
Los Angeles used to be a hotbed of racial profiling and unrest. Now Chief Charlie Beck thinks his force could be a model for the rest of the nation.

Popess role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock
The key role Pope Francis played encouraging talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro left fractures among his flock in South Florida, where many older Roman Catholics equate the Castro brothers with the devil.

Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage
Authorities made several arrests in the case of the Taliban school attack that killed 148 in the northwestern city of Peshawar, on Sunday, officials said.

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history
The warning came just moments too late: A man who had shot his ex-girlfriend a few hours earlier had traveled to New York City and vowed online to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.

U.S. mulls putting N. Korea on terrorism sponsor list
HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company.

Raul Castro: Don't expect detente to change Cuban system
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro sent a blunt message to Washington Saturday as the White House works to reverse a half-century of hostility between the U.S. and Cuba: Dont expect detente to do away with the communist system.

U.S. dismisses N. Korea hacking probe offer, seeks China's help
The United States has dismissed a call by North Korea for a joint investigation into the hacking of Sony Pictures and wants China to help block cyber attacks from Pyongyang. Washington blames North Korea for a breach of cyber security at Sony which led to the release of embarrassing emails and prompted executives to halt the release of "The Interview". Pyongyang has repeatedly denied that it was behind last months crippling attack, which also led to the leaking of scripts, and called Saturday for a joint probe with the US.

Teen gets portrait with rifle into yearbook despite objections from staff
A teenage girl from Broadalbin-Perth High School in upstate New York managed to get her hunting picture into the yearbook even after a school committee objected to its inclusion.

North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of "serious" consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes would prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack.

Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Boxing great Muhammad Ali was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia that was caught early and should result in a short hospital stay, an Ali spokesman said Saturday night.

U.S. stands by assertion that North Korea behind Sony attack
The United States stands by its assertion that the North Korean government was behind the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council said on Saturday.

2 NYPD officers fatally shot in ambush
The officers were shot inside their patrol car in a Brooklyn neighborhood.

Obama's Cuba moves reflect Florida political shift
For decades, the politics of Cuba in Florida were simple: anything less than a hard line stance against Fidel Castro was a sure way to lose a race for office.

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?
Faced with one of its biggest challenges in years — repairing a troubled nuclear missile corps — the Air Force has taken an important first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its problems run deep and wide.

Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes
The Muleshoe Ranchs profits were chopped in half when the drought withered pastures, dried up stock tanks and forced the owner to move most of his cattle out of state.

N. Korea says did not hack Sony, wants joint probe with U.S.
A spokesman of the Norths foreign ministry said there would be "grave consequences" if the U.S. refused to cooperate.

U.S. sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo
U.S. officials say the transfer from the detention center is a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Human rights in spotlight after U.S.-Cuba deal
HAVANA (AP) — To many exiles and their allies, President Raul Castro is a brutal dictator who locks up dissenters in gulag-like jails, snuffs out political discourse and condemns his people to socialist poverty.

Stephen Collins to '7th Heaven' Fans: 'I'm very sorry'
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, embattled actor Stephen Collins admits to sexual misconduct with underage girls and talks about his time starring on the hit show '7th Heaven.'

washingtonpost.com

Researchers try to understand naked mole rats' resistance to cancer
With their pinkish, translucent and wrinkly skin, double-saber buck teeth and black-bead eyes, naked mole rats look like characters in a nightmare from hell. In fact, they do live underground in pitch-dark burrows where their air, from a human point of view, can contain chokingly little oxygen, t...

Doctors try new models to push health insurers aside
Just about everyone agrees that the way we pay for primary care needs fixing. Under the current insurance model, doctors get paid for procedures and tests rather than for time spent with patients, which displeases doctors and patients alike and increases costs. Now some medical practices are side...

Medigap supplemental coverage can be too pricey for younger Medicare beneficiaries
One night three years ago, Joe Hobson finished reading a book, went to sleep and woke up blind. The problem, caused by a rare hereditary disease, forced him to give up his 20-year communications job, along with its generous health insurance. Now 63, the Arlington man is covered by Medicare, the f...

Breathless, but not from asthma

Fish and seafood recipe recommendations
Jennifer LaRue Huget offers some suggestions

Fish and seafood recipes
How much fish and seafood should you eat each week? What are some good recipes?

Inside the new Dietary Guidelines: Fish and other seafood
Jennifer LaRue Huget explains how best to incorporate the new dietary guidelines on seafood into your diet.

Parenting an overweight child can be difficult
Should they intervene early and practice a form of benign neglect, hoping that the baby fat will melt away as a child grows?

Type 2 diabetes surges in people younger than 20
U.S. cases in those under 20 have grown from almost zero to tens of thousands in just over a decade.

Surgeon general says obesity crisis should be addressed together
Surgeon general says obesity crisis should be addressed together.

Wisconsin's health-care fight illustrates challenges as states change leadership
After President Obama signed the nation's health-care overhaul into law, Wisconsin made more headway than virtually anywhere else in the country at preparing to carry the statute out. Then a Republican governor came to power and changed all that.

Drums Alive: Feel the beat, feel the burn
Could Drums Alive be the next Zumba? Vicky Hallett explores Baltimore's latest exercise craze.

Top green vegetables for your health -- and St. Patrick's Day
Get in the spirit with these top five green vegetables.

Fear is potent risk of Japanese nuclear crisis
The psychological impact of Japanese nuclear crisis could turn out to be significant

An incomplete story was published to this webpage. We apologize for the confusion and inconvenience. Please find our latest coverage at washingtonpost.com

Radiation exposure poses range of potential health problems for Japanese
Among other things, radiation from nuclear power plants could increase cancer rates for decades.

Nurses' strike cost Washington Hospital Center $6 million
Washington Hospital Center spent about $6 million to hire 600 temporary nurses, beef up security and cover other costs during last week's nurses' strike and subsequent lockout at the region's largest hospital, hospital officials said.

Report reveals steep increase in war amputations last fall
The majority of American soldiers undergoing amputation for war wounds last fall lost more than one limb, according to data presented Tuesday to the Defense Health Board, a committee of experts that advises the Defense Department on medical matters.

More information about ranch dressing
The original, handmade batches of buttermilk dressing were made in the mid-1950s by Steve Henson at his Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif. Buttermilk is now the sixth ingredient in the Hidden Valley full-fat dressing, after soybean oil, water, egg yolk, sugar and salt; it's third on t...

March madness? A basketball league that doesn't keep score
I recently spent a couple of hours at the Jewish Community Center in Fairfax watching women in their 40s, 50s and 60s play two games of full-court basketball. These were rec-league ballplayers, but there was nothing casual about the games. They played organized zone defense. A ref in black and wh...

Ranch dressing: How good is it for you?
Is ranch dressing the best way to get kids to eat their vegetables?

Milestones in the eradication of smallpox
With officials debating whether to destroy the remaining specimens of the pathogen, here is a look at notable dates in smallpox history:

Should last remaining known smallpox virus die?
Intense debate rages over whether to destroy the remaining laboratory specimens of the smallpox virus.

Smart food choices can cut excess sugar and empty calories from your diet
The average U.S. adult consumes about a half-cup of added sugar a day, which amounts to roughly 355 nutritionally empty calories.

Paperbacks discuss antidepressants and technology's role in marriage
Irving Kirsch's describes "The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth." Spouses Edward M. Hallowell and Sue George Hallowell explain how technology leaves people "Married to Distraction."

Children seem to gain extra weight after having their tonsils removed
A study analyzes data from nine studies, involving 795 children who had a tonsillectomy, with or without adenoid removal, before they turned 18.

Vitamin D deficiency may be a factor in development of allergies
Young people low in Vitamin D may be more prone to allergies, according to a new study.

Doctor-owned centers spark criticism, scrutiny
When Kenneth Baker found out he had prostate cancer, his urologist detailed his options: The 84-year-old was too old for surgery, but he could pick from two forms of radiation or simply wait to see if he really needed treatment.

Health insurers offer patients the option of paying extra for higher-priced care
When consumers and employers pick health plans, some increasingly are being offered a trade-off these days: They can get a hefty break on their premiums if they agree to pay more out-of-pocket when they use certain high-cost providers in their network or if they cut those providers out of their n...

Hospital, union brace for nurses' strike
Managers at Washington Hospital Center and the nurses union are bracing for a planned strike Friday at the region's largest hospital, with managers flying in replacement nurses from all across the country and nurses seeking support from city officials.

Republicans shift focus to Medicaid complaints
A day after President Obama said he would support amending the health-care law so states can opt out of key provisions sooner, Republicans sought to shift the rhetorical battle back to an issue that would be largely unaffected by the president's proposal: the impact of the law's Medicaid requirem...

Can't judge an exercise book by its cover
Crack open a copy of "The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You!" and you'll find a compilation of 619 moves designed to work every muscle in your body. If you thought you'd see anything all that different inside "The Women's Health Big Book of Ex...

How men and women exercise differently
No one wants to think she's a cliche. But it's time for me to recognize that when it comes to my gym behavior, that's exactly what I am: a cardio-loving woman who has to be forced to hoist a dumbbell.

The Checklist: Fitness and nutrition advice for March
March is my pudgiest month. Winter has made it challenging to get to the gym or outside for regular runs. But now spring is nigh (it officially starts March 20!), and shorts-wearing weather can't be far behind. So now's the time to start getting in shape for the warm months ahead. I will if you w...

Many Americans have poor health literacy
An elderly woman sent home from the hospital develops a life-threatening infection because she doesn't understand the warning signs listed in the discharge instructions. A man flummoxed by an intake form in a doctor's office reflexively writes "no" to every question because he doesn't understand ...

D.C. Health Department issues measles alert
A woman infected with measles, a contagious and potentially dangerous disease, traveled through the District and Maryland after flying into Dulles International Airport, it was disclosed Monday.

Obama says he will support letting states opt out of health-care law earlier
President Obama told a group of governors Monday that he would support moving up the timetable in which states can opt out of the federal health care law, making a major concession to critics of the law.

Patients find plenty of health information on line, but not all of it is reliable
The Internet has no equal as an information storehouse. The trick is to know how to get right to a source of useful information and not waste time on Web sites that are biased, trying to sell you something or just plain wrong.

Medical Mysteries: A Teen's Swollen Ankle
Shortly after Thanksgiving 2009, 14-year-old old Abby Picard began complaining that her right ankle hurt. Her parents brushed it off, believing her discomfort was the result of her fondness for fashionable thin-soled sneakers and an extremely heavy backpack. "We thought nothing of it," recalled h...

Mobile dental clinic brings care to poor children in Prince George's County
At last, dentist Belinda Carver-Taylor was sitting in the new mobile dental clinic with a child before her. She had hoped for this day so long that now she could only shake her head.

Governors differ on extent of flexibility for Medicaid
Democratic and Republican governors, burdened by crushing budget pressures from Medicaid, said Sunday that federal officials should allow them more freedom to change eligibility rules and other aspects of the public health insurance program for the poor. But they displayed sharp ideological diffe...

The Checkup: More questions about cell phone safety
Are cell phones safe? That question has gotten a lot of attention, but so far, as my colleague pointed out on Monday, there has been no convincing evidence that those ubiquitous devices actually cause health problems. However, a new federal study may stir things up further, even though the bottom...

Obama administration asks states to cut costs without dropping Medicaid coverage
The Obama administration is deploying squadrons of in-house experts to help budget-strapped states figure out how to save money on Medicaid, the health program for the poor that has been a source of rising tensions between state capitals and Washington.

Whole grain and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines
It's no secret that whole grains are good for us. They deliver way more nutrients per calorie than refined grains do, which just happens to fall in line with one of the major themes of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (published by the U.S. Agriculture and Health and Human Services d...

Hospitals aim to reduce the number of patients readmitted after discharge
"Welcome back" are two words you'd really rather not hear at a hospital, especially if you've just been discharged. Yet one in five Medicare patients found themselves back in the hospital within 30 days of leaving it in 2003 and 2004, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medi...

I cannot tell a lie: Racing Presidents tryout isn't easy
I had to be Teddy. Nothing else would make sense. This is, after all, a fitness column, and any high school history student can tell you which U.S. president is most closely linked with "the life of strenuous endeavor," as Roosevelt liked to put it himself.

Flu season heats up
Don't let the warmer, brighter days fool you. Flu season is not over.

Fiber seems to be linked to a reduced risk of disease in people older than 50
THE QUESTION: Diets high in fiber have been shown to aid weight loss and help with digestive problems. Might fiber also offer other health benefits?

'Policy Review' essay covers PTSD; veteran benefits
How could a Veterans Administration rule making it easier for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to file disability claims be a bad thing? In a "Policy Review" essay called "PTSD's Diagnostic Trap," psychiatrist and Yale University School of Medicine lecturer Sally Satel argues that ful...

Bacteria's role in colon cancer, cystic fibrosis; burning paper to measure carbon
Here's a not-so-savory news flash: There are more bacterial cells living in our bodies than human cells. Researchers are learning how the balance of these bugs affects our health, but reaping the benefits of bacteria is not quite as simple as eating probiotic yogurt. That's the gist of "The Good,...

Google, Yahoo! BabelFish use math principles to translate documents online
Early one morning in 2007, Libby Casey was trying to do her laundry in a guesthouse in Reykjavik, Iceland. When she couldn't figure out how to use the washing machine, she opened up the instruction manual.

An insomniac learns to make the most of getting the least sleep
In the wee hours of the morning - or is it still night? - my eyes snap open and my mind races. What do I have to do today? What didn't I get done yesterday? Why did I get into that disagreement? Other nights, I am on a high wire, hovering between sleep and wakefulness and chewing over my next mov...

Can relaxation drinks put you to sleep?
Once, "relaxation beverages" consisted of alcohol, chamomile tea and warm milk. Now, the field includes a slew of new drinks promising a better night's sleep using such ingredients as melatonin, valerian root and - think turkey - tryptophan.

Women are more likely than men to give up sleep to care for children and others
Call it the real night shift - that noctural period when bleary-eyed adults leave warm beds to tend to the needs of sick kids, elderly parents, an ailing spouse or incontinent pet. So, who takes the night shift: Mom or Dad?

Free app adjusts color on monitors to prevent disruption of sleep cycle
I stare at screens almost every waking hour. Computer monitor. Laptop. TV. Tablet. Smartphone. So I've tested a few ways to ease the strain on my eyes - and, in the process, learned about something that might be helping me in non-waking hours, too. It's about the light that these screens emit. It...

Obama administration unlikely to block Arizona plan to cut 250,000 from Medicaid rolls
The administration will probably permit the plan despite a provision in the new health-care law barring states from tightening their eligibility standards for the program, federal officials said.

The sports bra: Your No. 1 supporter
Everyone has a pair of feet, but women have an additional pair of something to worry about while exercising. And they're every bit as tricky to fit, control and protect, which is why bras are beginning to rival shoes as the most technical of all sporting apparel.

Z drugs keep sleep-aid market awake
With almost a third of Americans reporting sleep problems, it's not surprising that sales of Ambien, Sonata and similar sleep aids are high: It's a $1.8 billion market.

Study of recalled medical devices faults lax FDA testing methods
A new analysis is raising questions about how good a job the Food and Drug Administration is doing at protecting Americans from faulty medical devices.

Meditation and mindfulness may give your brain a boost
They are the simplest instructions in the world: Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, clear your mind and try to focus on the present moment. Yet I am confident that anyone who has tried meditation will agree with me that what seems so basic and easy on paper is often incredibly challe...

Humor, music and spirituality may offer physical benefits
Humor, music and spirituality can boost your mood, but growing evidence suggests that they also offer physical benefits.

Group tries to simplify drug labels to help people get the proper doses
"Take two tablets by mouth twice daily." This printed instruction, common on prescription pill bottles, might seem straightforward. Yet in a study, nearly half of patients misunderstood what it or other common label instructions meant.

Book explains allergies, asthma; magazine rates teen TV shows for safe-sex info
POZ, the lifestyle magazine for people with HIV/AIDS, evaluated a variety of teen TV shows for how often characters practiced safe sex.New book discusses allergies and asthma in children.

Apps and gadgets to track your sleep
A bunch of gadgets and apps are now on the market to help high-tech insomniacs (or just the sleep-curious) track their z's. These aren't meant to help you fall asleep, though there are plenty of other apps intended to do that. We're talking here about gizmos that claim to record your movements al...

Too little or too much sleep may take a toll on the heart
Quick Study: Too little or too much sleep may take a toll on the heart.

Tattooing outgrows its renegade image to thrive in the mainstream
It's 1945, and you want a tattoo. You drive to the part of town your mom warned you about, past scruffy bars and burlesque shows, and arrive at a tiny shop offering maybe 200 designs in three or four colors. An ex-sailor who just clocked out of his day job rinses off his tattoo machine. Five minu...

Insuring your health: Book argues against unnecessary medical intervention
In a new book, "Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health," Dartmouth researchers and physicians H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin argue that the medical establishment's embrace of early diagnosis and treatment as the key to keeping people healthy actually does ...

2010 was marked by a recall of eggs, drug warnings and progress on flu vaccines
Consumer Reports Insights: 2010 was marked by a recall of eggs, drug warnings and progress on flu vaccines.

Enrollment in high-risk insurance pools lagging behind predictions
More Americans have been signing up for special health plans designed for people with medical problems that caused them to be spurned by the insurance industry, according to new government figures. But enrollment continues to lag significantly behind original predictions.

FlyScreen Lands On iPhone But Not As We Know It
FlyScreen , the lock screen replacement for Android and Symbian phones from Israeli startup Cellogic, has landed on the iPhone . But not as we know it.That's because Apple's iOS is locked down as it were (see what I did there) and doesn't allow third-party apps to take over the lock screen. This...

D.C.'s leading provider of clean needles to drug addicts to close Feb. 25
The leading provider of clean needles to drug addicts in the District to help stem the spread of AIDS plans to shut its doors by the end of the month, officials said Wednesday, in the city that has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the country.

Study: Surgery in womb helps babies with spina bifida
Performing surgery on babies with the most severe form of spina bifida when they are still in the womb doubles the chance that they will be able to walk, according to a federally funded study released Wednesday.

Breast-cancer study questions lymph node removal
Many women with early breast cancer do not appear to need removal of their lymph nodes, as is often recommended, according to a federally funded study released Tuesday.

Want to be one of the Nationals' racing presidents?
Applications are due Friday for those interested in becoming one of the Washington Nationals' racing presidents: Abe, George, Tom or Teddy, right. The mascots are starting their sixth year of entertaining home crowds with a race on the field during the fourth inning.

The February wellness checklist
February's long winter slog is brightened by Valentine's Day, a good reminder to take care of our hearts. Here are some ideas for being well during this shortest, and often snowiest, of months in Washington.


When injuries interrupt exercise: Readers weigh in
I got some great feedback on my Jan. 27 column about the sudden interruption to my running regimen, "Coping with an out-of-the-routine injury." Here are edited excerpts of what two readers had to say, followed by excerpts from an online Q&A nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott and I did with ...

'Why We Get Fat' by Gary Taubes; teen smoking prevention online
Once more, with feeling "Why We Get Fat" (Knopf, $24.95)

Health benefits of falling and staying in love
Love may make the world go 'round, but is it powerful enough to lower one's blood pressure, reduce depression and speed the healing of an injury? With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we set out to find the answer and discovered that science says yes.

Getting a tattoo is largely safe, though experts advise using a reputable shop
Dermatologists' organizations, tattoo artists and the Food and Drug Administration agree that tattooing is largely safe, but any time you stick a needle into skin there are risks. Consumers need to do their homework.

Military personnel take extreme measures to meet body-fat and weight rules
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Heather Sommerdyke spent $12,000 on two liposuction surgeries last spring. She was running eight to 10 miles, six days a week. She even switched to a starvation diet. It was all part of a last-ditch effort to trim her waistline to the 35.5-inch maximum for female airmen. She ...

Mediation can bring justice with no need for a trial
When a health-care provider harms instead of heals, patients who seek answers and redress generally face the prospect of a long and costly lawsuit. But there's another option, one that can significantly reduce the toll of a court battle while providing many of the same benefits to patients and th...

New dietary guidelines: Eat less, eat better and lose the salt
Americans need to make big changes in their eating habits to fight the obesity epidemic and a host of ailments caused by poor diets, including consuming less sugar, fat and salt and more fish, fruits and vegetables, the Obama administration recommended Monday.

Report on global cardiac risks: World gets fatter, but blood pressure goes down
The whole world is getting fatter, except perhaps for the women of Italy and Singapore. Globally, blood pressure is slowly coming down. Cholesterol is falling in rich countries and rising in developing ones.

State officials divided on meaning of judge's health-care ruling
A day after a federal judge struck down the government's plan to overhaul the health-care system, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a stern statement: "This means that, for Wisconsin, the federal health care law is dead," and that his state "was relieved of any obligations or duti...

No chilling effect on donations at the Polar Bear Plunge
Much to the chagrin of the proudly purple people of Baltimore, the Ravens will not be playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Super thin Super Bowl spread
Like other food-centered celebrations, Super Bowl gatherings can be both fun and fraught with apprehension for those concerned about their waistlines. Nobody wants to sit on the sidelines, skipping the traditional snacks. But who wants to deal with postgame regrets? You can work football-fan food...

Health information remains high on the list of popular uses for the Internet
Seeking health information is the third-most-prevalent activity among American Internet users, according to a report being issued Feb. 1 by the Pew Internet Project. The only things more universal were exchanging e-mail and using search engines. (Of course, if someone uses Google to look up "shin...

Liposuction can't salvage Navy career
KEY WEST, FLA. - Mick Kruger is not out of shape. The 38-year-old master-at-arms first class has never failed a physical readiness test. He routinely scores "excellent" on the mile-and-a-half run. He has run one marathon and finished three others on in-line skates. His performance evaluations du...

AnyBody: Parents are ignoring their children for their BlackBerry
Increasingly, it is adults' constant, obsessive use of these technologies that's coming under fire.

Judge strikes down entire new health-care law
A federal judge in Florida on Monday became the first to strike down the entire law to overhaul the nation's health-care system, potentially complicating implementation of the statute in the 26 states that brought the suit.

House Republicans sharpen attack on health-care reform in two Hill hearings
Republicans on Wednesday used their new majority in the House of Representatives to hold the first of what they promise will be a steady drumbeat of congressional hearings to denounce the new health-care law.

Nutritional information: Milk
Sales of whole milk in the United States made up about 70 percent of the market in the mid-1970s but have dropped dramatically since, while the sales of skim and 2 percent have risen. The most recent sales figures show:

Got milk? What kind?
After spending a day with her boyfriend's family recently, my daughter marveled, "They only drink whole milk!" That milk was delicious, she reported, even after the container had sat on the counter for a while.

U.S. recovers $4 billion from health-care fraud cases
The government recaptured a record $4 billion last year from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and other providers of care that defrauded federal health-care programs, the Obama administration reported Monday.

CNN.com - Entertainment

The genius of Craig Ferguson
Perhaps there are still some people asking, "Craig Ferguson who?" Too bad. They missed a "unique" talk show host, in David Letterman's words. Ferguson's last show is Friday.

Clooney: Let's stand with Sony
George Clooney tried to rally support for Sony in the midst of a severe cyberattack on the studio, but says he couldn't find anyone to stand with him.

Stephen Colbert signs off
For his final episode of "The Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert signed off with a star-filled sing-a-long.

Funny or Die takes on 'Serial'
The podcast sensation of the year finally reaches its climax. For more go to funnyordie.com.

Meet the new Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman has never been one of the major characters in comic books, but Marvel hopes that she will make a splash with her new look.

The late night genius of Craig Ferguson
Perhaps there are still some people asking, "Craig Ferguson who?" Too bad. They missed a "unique" talk show host, in David Letterman's words. Ferguson's last show is Friday.

The crazy du Pont next door
With a fake nose and halting speech, Steve Carell brings the Boo Radley of a CNN reporter's childhood back to life in "Foxcatcher."

Funny or Die takes on 'Serial'
The podcast sensation of the year finally reaches its climax. For more go to funnyordie.com.

Clooney: Sony hack isn't just about movies
George Clooney tried to rally support for Sony in the midst of a severe cyberattack on the studio, but says he couldn't find anyone to stand with him.

Michael Bublé, Christmas king
Michael Bublé, the Christmas king; Madonna's music leaks online, and 2014's most popular online movie trailer!

Ellen surprises Conan audience
Conan usually does not give free gifts to his audience, but Ellen DeGeneres changes that.

After Sony hack, Secret Cinema to hold protest screening
Events company Secret Cinema has said it will hold a simultaneous screening of an as-yet unannounced film in London, Rome and San Francisco on Sunday to "protest against censorship."

Stephen Colbert signs off with a song
For his final episode of "The Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert signed off with a star-filled sing-a-long.

Meet the new Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman has never been one of the major characters in comic books, but Marvel hopes that she will make a splash with her new look.

The man who was 'Stephen Colbert'
On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert -- the pugnacious, "nation"-inspiring champion -- will host his last "Colbert Report" on Comedy Central. About six months from now, he will take a new role as host of CBS' "Late Show."

'The Big Lebowski': Now preserved for all time
"The Big Lebowski," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Saving Private Ryan" have long been national treasures, but the Library of Congress just made it official.

'Serial' podcast: By the numbers
The podcast "Serial" is wrapping up its first season on Thursday as a bona fide success.

Rock Hall of Fame: The class of 2015
Drumroll, please: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2015 class of honored musicians.

D'Angelo releases first album in 14 years
How does it feel to release an album for the first time in almost 15 years? Ask D'Angelo. His record "Black Messiah" dropped this week.

What's this band doing with a samurai sword?
Meet KOA=S, a band of spellbinding musicians fusing Japanese cultural icons against a backdrop of rock and musical theater.

R&B singer arrested trying to board plane
Once your airplane's flight crew has shut the cabin doors in preparation for departure, don't open the door for a late-arriving boss. R&B singer Jeremih was arrested after allegedly asking his bouncer to open a closed airplane door to let him board.

How you celebrated Taylor Swift's birthday
As if Saturday's date -- 12/13/14 -- wasn't special enough, it's also entertainer Taylor Swift's 25th birthday, and the Internet is celebrating.

Beyonce's latest surprise gets personal
In honor of the one-year anniversary of her groundbreaking self-titled work, Beyonce has taken us by surprise yet again.

Funny or Die: Madden's hilarious bugs
The wait is over -- it's officially football season. For more go to funnyordie.com.

Beyonce and Jay-Z heading for divorce?
The rumors about Beyonce and Jay-Z are getting crazier every day. For more go to funnyordie.com.

'Mad Men' vixen takes on a modern office
"Mad Men" character Joan Holloway visits a more modern office. For more go to funnyordie.com.

Bill Cosby's daughter stands up for him
Bill Cosby's family is rallying around the embattled comedian. On Tuesday, his daughter released a statement of support.

NBC scraps Thursday comedies
There was a time when Thursday night on NBC was truly "must-see TV" -- and it was thanks to comedies. No longer.

Freeman returns to 'The Office' as Bilbo
Actor Martin Freeman is known for his memorable roles as Bilbo Baggins in the "The Hobbit" and Tim Canterbury in the BBC's "The Office."

Cosby accuser: I hope I encourage others
One day after joining more than a score of other women accusing Bill Cosby, famed model Beverly Johnson told CNN that the legendary comedian's reputation for such acts was a secret in Hollywood -- one she only wished she knew about 30 years ago.

'Birdman' leads at Golden Globe noms
"Birdman" flew high at the nominations for the 72nd Golden Globes.

Golden Globes: The nominees list
The nominees for the 72nd annual Golden Globes were announced Thursday. Here's a look at the major categories.

Viola Davis in 'Suicide Squad'?
There's another casting rumor going around about "Suicide Squad," and this one involves Viola Davis.

'Knight of Cups' first trailer offers hints
Terrence Malick's next project, "Knight of Cups," will apparently turn the filmmaker's lens on Hollywood itself.

Want to see a movie a day? AMC hopes so
Could the Netflix model work for a movie theater chain? AMC Theaters will test that out with a pilot program.

Loving and hating 'Gone with the Wind'
Seventy-five years after its 1939 premiere at Atlanta's Loews Grand Theater, "Gone With the Wind" retains its hold on the popular imagination.

Samuel L. Jackson: Sing 'I can't breathe'
Samuel L. Jackson is calling out all celebs who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to take another stand.

2014's Most Fascinating Person
Barbara Walters' pick for the most fascinating person of 2014 is interestingly a celebrity who shuns such a spotlight.

Stars criticize Sony's decision
Celebrities expressed their outrage at Sony Picture's decision to cancel plans to release "The Interview" on Christmas Day on Twitter.

No 'Interview,' and no 'Team America'
After Sony decided to cancel the release of its comedy "The Interview," one Texas theater plans to screen "Team America: World Police."

'Hobbit' star's true passion is writing
Evangeline Lilly is in three of the highest-profile movies of the last few years: the last two "Hobbit" movies (the final one out this week), and next year's Marvel extravaganza "Ant-Man."

'7th Heaven' actor makes admission
"7th Heaven" star Stephen Collins has admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with three female minors, People reports.

'The Simpsons': 25 random facts
When crudely drawn animated shorts about a dysfunctional American family began appearing on Fox's "The Tracey Ullman Show" in 1987, nobody predicted the birth of a cultural phenomenon.

'The Voice' crowns season 7's winner
Get to know the name Craig Wayne Boyd -- he's officially music's newest "Voice."

Former 'Scandal' star talks drug problem

Kourtney K. is having a....

'SHIELD' actress marries girlfriend

What's new on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes
Just in time for winter breaks and vacations, Netflix and Amazon have added new titles to their streaming options.

24 gifts for pop culture fanatics

Pork Medallions with Blackberries

Seeing Red

The Best Berry Recipes

Summertime Gladness

Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli

10 Ways to Use Low-Fat or Fat-Free Yogurt

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Celebrating Mom

Let's Salsa

Orecchiette with Ricotta, Spinach, and Fava Beans

CNN.com - Funny News

Gamers prove their metal as rock stars
Jess Hu is a child care provider from Brooklyn, New York, but for 20 hours a week, she's a rock star. That's how much she estimates she plays the video game "Rock Band."

Comedian is living in an Ikea store
Read full story for latest details.

Texas town hopes to become UFO landing spot

Governor's son sells 'Don't Drop the Soap'
Read full story for latest details.

Cops snag lotto ticket from accused drug dealer
Read full story for latest details.

Politician cuts the fat with photo fakery
Read full story for latest details.

Puppy vs. polar cub for cuteness title

Sports News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Your Top Plays for Today
Your Top Plays for Today: APs Sports Guide

10 Things to See in Sports: AP's top sports photos
Heres a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports.

Golf-World Rankings
Dec 22 (Infostrada Sports) - The World Rankings 1. Rory McIlroy (Britain) 11.04 2. Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 8.13 3. Adam Scott (Australia) 7.71 4. Bubba Watson (U.S.) 7.27 5. Sergio Garcia (Spain) 6.70 6. Justin Rose (Britain) 6.69 7. Jim Furyk (U.S.) 6.62 8. Jason Day (Australia) 5.81 9. Jordan Spieth (U.S.) 5.75 10. Rickie Fowler (U.S.) 5.47 11. Matt Kuchar (U.S.) 5.11 12. Martin Kaymer (Germany) 4.86 13. Billy Horschel (U.S.) 4.48 14. Phil Mickelson (U.S.) 4.45 15. Graeme McDowell (Britain) 4.16 16. Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) 4.12 17. Victor Dubuisson (France) 4.02 18. Zach Johnson (U.S.) 3. ...

Newton powers Panthers; Steelers, Packers clinch
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who suffered two fractures in his back in a car crash just 12 days ago, led the Panthers to a 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns. Newtons nine-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Stewart in the final quarter put the Panthers over the top. Carolinas win now sets the stage for a winner-take-all NFC South division showdown on the final week of the National Football Leagues regular season. Newtons health was the biggest concern for the Panthers heading into Sundays contest with the Browns.

Seahawks crush Cardinals to take control of NFC West
(Reuters) - Russell Wilson tossed two touchdown passes to Luke Wilson and ran for another as the Seattle Seahawks thumped the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 to take control of the battle for the NFC West division crown on Sunday. With their fifth straight victory, the Seahawks improved to 11-4 and can clinch the division ahead of the Cardinals (11-4) with a win next Sunday against the St Louis Rams in their regular season finale or an Arizona loss at San Francisco. ...

Packers, Steelers and Cowboys head to playoffs
By Simon Evans (Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys booked their places in the playoffs after victories on Sunday while the New England Patriots earned a first round bye for the postseason. Sundays results meant that defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks also secured a place in the playoffs before crushing their NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 in the evening finale. The Packers gained their berth with a 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but they will have to wait until next week to see if they can clinch the NFC North title. ...

Asian outlook positive again, says golf tour chief
Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr says the outlook for golf in the continent is positive again after a difficult few years which saw tournaments scrapped and sponsors hard to find. The region received a boost last month when the European Tour announced it had added a new "Asian swing" to its 2015 schedule with events in Malaysia, Thailand and India. February will see the long-established Maybank Malaysian Open followed by two new co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour events -- the $2 million Thailand Classic and the Hero Indian Open. "It really highlights that Asia is where the growth is going to be," Kerr told AFP in a telephone interview.

Cowboys roll into playoffs with big win over Colts
(Reuters) - The Dallas Cowboys made it back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season when they crushed the Indianapolis Colts 42-7 on Sunday to claim the NFC East title. Tony Romo passed for three touchdowns in the first half -- and four for the game -- as he completed 18 of 20 throws for 218 yards to become the Cowboys all-time passing leader. Dallas won their third straight to improve to 11-4. Indianapolis, already playoff bound as the AFC South champions, had a four-game winning streak snapped. The Colts (10-5) did not score until less than six minutes were left in the ...

Defending champions Seahawks secure playoff spot
(Reuters) - The defending Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks secured their place in this seasons playoffs just before taking the field against NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys victory over the Indianapolis Colts, coupled with the Philadelphia Eagles loss to Washington Redskins on Saturday, means the Seahawks are guaranteed a playoff place regardless of the results in their final two regular season games. ...

Florida State quarterback Winston cleared in conduct hearing into alleged rape
By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into charges that he sexually assaulted a female student two years ago, according to documents released to Reuters on Sunday. There was insufficient evidence to charge the 20-year-old sophomore, one of the top U.S. college football players last year after winning the Heisman Trophy, with a violation, concluded retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding, retained by the university to oversee the proceedings. ...

Raptors team up to defeat Knicks
Toronto (Canada) (AFP) - Six players scored in double figures as the Toronto Raptors used a balanced attack to beat the New York Knicks 118-108 on Sunday.

Lightning strike in Florida sends fans to hospital after NFL game
By Kevin Murphy (Reuters) - A lightning strike in a parking lot outside a stadium in Tampa, Florida, after a National Football League game on Sunday landed about a dozen people in the hospital, an emergency response official said. Seven people were taken by paramedics to a hospital and reported to be in stable condition after being injured in the strike at Raymond James Stadium, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had played the Green Bay Packers, said Jason Penny, spokesman for Tampa Fire Rescue. Another four or five people decided to go to the hospital on their own, he said. ...

Packers, Steelers into playoffs, Patriots earn bye
By Simon Evans (Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers booked their places in the playoffs after victories on Sunday while the New England Patriots earned a bye in the first round of the postseason. The Packers gained their berth with a 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but they will have to wait until next week to see if they can clinch the NFC North title. Green Bay will face divisional rivals the Detroit Lions in the final week of the regular season with both teams on 11-4 records ahead of the showdown. ...

Steelers beat Chiefs, return to playoffs
(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 20-12 on Sunday. The six-time Super Bowl champions had not qualified for the postseason since losing a wild-card game to the Denver Broncos following the 2011 regular season. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger directed the Steelers (10-5) to their third consecutive win, passing for 220 yards and a touchdown. ...

Manziel hurt in Browns loss
Charlotte (AFP) - Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziels rookie National Football League season continued to spiral downward Sunday when he suffered a hamstring injury against the Carolina Panthers.

Packers secure playoff spot with win over Tampa Bay
(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers secured a playoff place with their 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Packers (11-4) face the Detroit Lions next week with the NFC North title on the line. Both teams are already assured of a place in the postseason. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 40 passes while throwing for 318 yards and a touchdown for the Packers while running back Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards including a 44-yard touchdown run. The Packers have now reached the postseason for the past six years including their Super Bowl triumph following the 2010 season. ...

Golf-Norman salutes Nagle on 94th birthday
MELBOURNE, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Former world number one Greg Norman has saluted Kel Nagle on his fellow Australian golfing great's 94th birthday. "I know I speak for everyone involved in the game by wishing Kel a very happy birthday and all of us continue to wish good health and happiness at this very special time of year," the 59-year-old Norman said on Sunday. Nagle won the centenary edition of the British Open at St Andrews in 1960, edging out Arnold Palmer by one stroke. It was the only major championship victory of his career. Nagle also triumphed once on the U.S. ...

Redskins deal Eagles playoff blow
Kai Forbath booted a field goal in the dying seconds as the Washington Redskins stunned Philadelphia 27-24, dealing the Eagles playoff hopes a serious blow. Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal with just five seconds left in regulation for the Redskins who snapped a six-game National Football League losing skid in front of a crowd of close to 80,000 at FedEx Field. Philadelphia has lost three straight games since a US Thanksgiving holiday win at Dallas gave it sole possession of first place in the NFC East. A win at home by the Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday would eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention.

Rondo makes successful debut with Mavericks
Dallas (AFP) - Rajon Rondo tallied six points and nine assists in his Dallas debut as he helped lead the Mavericks to a 99-93 win over the short-handed San Antonio Spurs.

Eagles playoff hopes crushed, Chargers rally to win
(Reuters) - The Philadelphia Eagles playoff ambitions suffered a near-fatal blow with a surprise 27-24 loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday. By contrast, the San Diego Chargers kept their postseason hopes alive in dramatic fashion when they rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to beat the San Francisco 49ers in the second game of the day. Nick Novak kicked the winning field goal from 40 yards in a 38-35 overtime victory. ...

U.S. says consulting UK, Australia, New Zealand on North Korea hack response
By Julia Edwards Honolulu (Reuters) - The Obama administration is consulting the UK, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries in hopes of organizing an international response to the cyberattack on Sony Pictures that it has pinned on North Korea, an administration official told Reuters on Saturday. The U.S. is also consulting South Korea, Japan, China and Russia for help reining in North Korea. (Reporting by Julia Edwards)

Lions claim playoff berth with Eagles' loss
(Reuters) - The Detroit Lions wrapped up an NFL playoff berth without playing a down on Saturday thanks to the Washington Redskins upset victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The win by the Redskins put the Lions (10-4) in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 even though they and NFC North co-leader Green Bay currently have the same 10-4 records. Detroit got the nod because a superior record against NFC teams. The Lions, winners of three straight, play at Chicago while the Packers, who were upended by Buffalo last weekend, can claim a playoff spot with a win at Tampa Bay on Sunday. ...

Video seems to show football's Rice, future wife kiss after brawl
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Newly released video footage appears to show professional footballs Ray Rice and his future wife kissing while handcuffed in a casino elevator following the couples fight that cost Rice his job with the Baltimore Ravens. The brawl in which Rice, 27, knocked out and dragged an unconscious Janay Palmer, 26, at an Atlantic City casino in February inflamed debate over domestic violence and professional football. ...

Spurs lose another overtime heartbreaker
Damian Lillard scored a career high 43 points as Portland beat San Antonio 129-119 in triple overtime, sending the Spurs to their second-straight heartbreaking triple overtime loss. The reigning NBA champion Spurs also lost in multiple overtimes 117-116 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Accolades pour in for Lakers' Bryant
By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has often been a polarizing figure during his illustrious NBA career, criticized by some for being too selfish and not doing enough as a facilitator for his team mates. For his peers, however, Bryant is simply a winner and will do whatever it takes to instill a winning mindset, even though this season has been especially challenging for an injury-hit team decidedly low in overall quality. ...

Nizhny and Zalgiris seal Euroleague Top 16 berths
By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague debutants Nizhny Novgorod and 1999 champions Zalgiris Kaunas booked the last two berths in the competition’s second group stage on Friday. Nizhny overpowered more fancied fellow Russians Unics Kazan 78-74 thanks to an outstanding performance by forward Tarence Kinsey and Zalgiris progressed after a dramatic 80-79 defeat of Italians Dinamo Sassari. ...

Sport-Off-field drama takes focus away from top displays
By Steve Keating (Reuters) - The stadiums and arenas where fans go to escape were invaded like never before in 2014 as the reality of racism, domestic violence and equality turned the Fields of Dreams into gloomy landscapes. LeBron Jamess homecoming, a Super Bowl blowout, a throwback World Series pitching performance and a Stanley Cup comeback for the ages all provided enough drama, suspense and awe to keep the turnstiles twirling and television ratings soaring. ...

'Celtic Tiger' McIlroy emerges dominant in 2014
By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A year to forget for an injury-plagued Tiger Woods was savored sweetly by Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy after the Celtic Tiger won two majors in 2014 to regain his status as the games leading player. McIlroy ended a stellar campaign with four victories and five runner-up spots in 23 starts worldwide, embellishing his credentials as a genuine golfing great in what many regard as a handover of the Tiger torch to usher in a new Rory era. ...

Five talking points for sports in 2014
By Gene Cherry Five talking points for sports in 2014: 1. Soccer World Cup It began as a chance for fun-loving Brazilians to take back soccers biggest honor but ended in humiliation for the hosts in what was widely regarded as one of the best ever World Cups. After years of doubt whether Brazil as a nation would be ready for the quadrennial show, Germany emerged as champions, defeating Argentina in the final after destroying Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals. ...

Biggest sporting flops of 2014
(Reuters) - Five of the biggest sporting flops from 2014: Brazil (Soccer) Anything less than a World Cup win on home soil was always going to be seen as a failure but nobody could have predicted Brazil would suffer a 7-1 semi-final drubbing by Germany, one of the greatest shocks in soccer history. To make matters worse, the Brazilians followed that up with a another woeful performance to lose 3-0 to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff. ...

Five best performances of 2014
By Larry Fine (Reuters) - Five best sporting performances of 2014: 1. MADISON BUMGARNER (BASEBALL) San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner saved the day and the World Series for the Giants with a Game Seven effort that capped a record-breaking performance in the Fall Classic. The 25-year-old country boy from North Carolina put a spell over the Kansas City Royals, pitching five shutout innings of relief to preserve a deciding one-run win on two days rest after winning twice as a starting pitcher. ...

No mega events but plenty on the sporting menu in 2015
By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - The lack of an Olympics or a soccer World Cup deprives 2015 of a single global focus for sports fans but a rich calendar of international events has more than enough world class action to satiate even the most refined palate. Tens of millions of cricket obsessives in South Asia will ensure plenty of eyeballs on the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while rugby's equivalent is among many contenders for the title of the world's third biggest tournament. The Tour de France, with a worldwide TV audience of 3. ...

US-Cuba thaw likely to shake up baseball Major Leagues
A seismic shift in relations with Cuba had many in US baseball salivating Thursday at the prospect of a flood of talent from the Caribbean country where Americas "national pastime" is a passion. Major League Baseball made a measured response to the news on Wednesday that the United States and Cuba would end five decades of Cold War hostility and move to revive diplomatic ties and ease a crippling US trade embargo. The sanctions, and Cubas refusal to allow players there to seek employment in the United States, have made for an arduous path for Cuban baseballers who defy their government and seek to pursue careers in America. Amid speculation that the trickle of talent from Cuba could become a torrent, and the country could surpass the Dominican Republic and Venezuela as top Latin American sources for Major League players, MLB and the players union were cautious.

ADVISORY-Reuters sport yearenders
LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - On Friday Dec. 19 from 1900GMT we will publish the following series of year-end review stories: A review of world sport in 2014 A look ahead to 2015 Year reviews of: Olympics Soccer Rugby Cricket Tennis Motor racing Golf North American sport We will also have stories on: Five major upsets of 2014 Five best performances of 2014 Five biggest flops of 2014 Five talking points of 2014 (Editing by Ed Osmond)

Thunder's Durant exits early with sprained ankle
Kevin Durants hot start was cold comfort when the Oklahoma City star limped out at halftime Thursday of the Thunders 114-109 NBA loss to Golden State. Stephen Curry posted a game-high 34 points with nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals for Golden State. Six Warriors players scored in double figures as the team bounced back from a loss in Memphis on Tuesday that snapped their 16-game winning streak. Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Durant seemed determined to remind the league-leading Warriors they cant expect to have things their own way in the Western Conference when he scored 16 points in the first quarter.

Padres finalize deal for Kemp
The Padres signed off on the blockbuster deal to bring Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp to San Diego after medical issues reportedly threatened to scupper the trade. In addition to Kemp, the Padres acquired catcher Tim Federowicz from the Dodgers in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

Long Todman run helps Jaguars take down Titans
(Reuters) - Jordan Todman produced a 62-yard touchdown run to help the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans 21-13 on Thursday in a clash between struggling teams already looking ahead to next season. The Jaguars trailed 10-0 but rallied with 21 unanswered points, with their final TD coming on Todmans long run in the fourth quarter. "I heard the call (for me to carry the ball), and it was my first carry of the day so I was excited," Todman told reporters. "I saw there was an opportunity to cut it back and make a guy miss and then it was off to the races. It was a great feeling. ...

Highlights of Thursday's NBA games
(The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursdays National Basketball Association games: Bulls 103, Knicks 97 Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and added seven assists to lead the Chicago Bulls to a win against the New York Knicks. Chicago (16-9) played without guard Derrick Rose, who was sick, while the Knicks (5-23) were without forward Carmelo Anthony because of a sore left knee. Pau Gasol added 20 points for the Bulls while Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 23 points. ...

Rondo headed from Celtics to Mavs
The Boston Celtics have traded versatile point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks for three key players and an NBA first- and second-round draft pick, the Mavericks said. The Mavericks will give up Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder -- three key members of their playing rotation -- along with their 2015 first-round draft selection and a 2016 second-round draft pick in a deal that will also bring Dwight Powell to Dallas.

Rondo traded to Mavericks
(Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks landed point guard Rajon Rondo in a trade with the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Dallas sent Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, two draft picks and a trade exception to the Celtics in exchange for Rondo and center Dwight Powell. The 28-year-old Rondo had long been in trade rumors as Boston is rebuilding and he was the sole remaining standout from the teams recent success, where they won the title in 2008 and made the finals in 2010. ...