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After 15 years in power, Putin risks running out of luck

World / Politics Dec 31, 2014

After 15 years in power, Putin risks running out of luck

When Vladimir Putin was handed power unexpectedly by an ailing Boris Yeltsin on the last day of the last century, his first move was to go on television to guarantee Russia the freedoms needed for a "civilized society." Fifteen years later, his critics accuse the ...

High-tech 'menu-for-all' system helps foreign diners

National Dec 31, 2014

High-tech 'menu-for-all' system helps foreign diners

An information technology company in Sapporo has come up with a system to help foreign visitors enjoy their stay in food-rich Hokkaido without being hampered by language barriers. Developed by Sekai Menu Inc., the smartphone-based service aims to connect restaurants with foreign customers. The Sekai ...

The shocking reality of slavery

Reader Mail Dec 31, 2014

The shocking reality of slavery

I was shocked to read the Dec. 21 editorial "End the global slavery scourge," which includes the revelation that there are 35.8 million people enslaved across the world in new, horrifying ways. None of us is born to be a slave; nobody can deny ...

World / Politics Dec 31, 2014

Cuban open mic protest thwarted after dissidents detained

Cuban police detained several dissidents on Tuesday and thwarted an unauthorized political protest, dissidents said, in the first major test of U.S. President Barack Obama's policy shift toward normalizing relations with the communist-ruled island. The U.S. State Department condemned the detentions, which marked the most ...

Business / Economy Dec 31, 2014

Venezuela confirms recession, highest inflation in Americas

Venezuela confirmed on Tuesday it had entered a recession while inflation remained the highest in the Americas, and President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government blamed political foes for the dismal data. The Central Bank said GDP contracted in each of the first three quarters: 4.8 percent, ...

World Dec 31, 2014

Gunmen rob two banks in east Yemen in coordinated raids

Gunmen raided two banks in the port town of al-Shahr in Yemen's eastern Hadramout province and stole about 52 million riyals ($240,000) on Tuesday, the defense ministry's news website said. Security is poor in Hadramout, a province awash with arms where tribal structures prevail. Its ...

World Dec 31, 2014

U.S. to station 150 armored vehicles in Europe

The United States plans by the end of next year to station around 150 tanks and armored vehicles in Europe for use by U.S. forces training in Europe as part of the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis, according to a U.S. military commander. Some ...

New Year's exodus reaches peak

National Dec 30, 2014

New Year's exodus reaches peak

The New Year's holiday exodus from Tokyo and other urban areas peaked Tuesday, with travelers packing major train stations and airports throughout the day. Domestic flights departing from Tokyo's Haneda airport were almost fully booked, according to Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. Bullet ...

Hanyu out after surgery

Figure Skating Dec 30, 2014

Hanyu out after surgery

by Jack Gallagher

Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu will be hospitalized for two weeks and off the ice for one month following surgery for a bladder problem, the Japan Skating Federation announced on Tuesday. Hanyu, who won his third straight national title on Saturday night in Nagano, ...

Ex-Apache coach Bryant hired to lead struggling Fukuoka

Basketball Dec 30, 2014

Ex-Apache coach Bryant hired to lead struggling Fukuoka

by Ed Odeven

Joe Bryant, the now-defunct Tokyo Apache's original head coach, will take over as the Rizing Fukuoka's next bench boss, the bj-league club announced on Monday evening. Bryant is scheduled to return to the sideline for the Western Conference club's next home series, Jan. 17-18, against ...