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Around the World: January 16, 2015

Here's what's happening across the United States and around the world today.

15 arrested in Europe sweeps

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities say 13 people are being detained in Belgium and two are under arrest in France in an anti-terror sweep following a firefight in which two suspected terrorists were killed.

U.S. & World

Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.

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A Belgian federal magistrate says a dozen searches led to the discovery of four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Last night, Belgian police moved in on a suspected terrorist hideout in the eastern city of Verviers (VEHR'-ih-ay), killing two suspects and wounding and arresting a third.

Kerry offers condolences to Hollande

PARIS (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting top officials in France today to express America's solidarity with the French people after last week's deadly terrorist attacks.

As Kerry greeted French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND'), he said, "I think you know that you have the full and heartfelt condolences of the American people and I know you know that we share the pain and the horror of everything that you went through."

Obama, Cameron meet amid specter of terrorism in Europe, US

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron will be meeting at the White House amid growing fears about the specter of terrorism in Europe and the West.

Obama and Cameron have long touted their congenial relationship as a sign of the strong alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. They're aiming to promote economic growth and global trade even as trickier issues like Islamic extremism and cybersecurity take over much of the agenda.

Following a working dinner on Thursday, Obama and Cameron meet more formally today in the Oval Office before taking questions from reporters.

In conjunction with the visit, the two countries are announcing plans to hold joint cyber "war games" starting later this year with a mock attack on banks.

Ohio terror defendant due for first court appearance

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio man arrested for allegedly plotting to set off bombs at the U.S. Capitol and shoot government officials is due in court Friday afternoon.

Twenty-year-old Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested Wednesday and charged with plotting to attack.

Court documents say the arrest came after he posted on Twitter his support for Muslim terrorists and then met with FBI informant about his plans. Cornell's father says his son was taken in by a "snitch."

US will send 400 troops to train moderate Syrian opposition

WASHINGTON (AP) — The US will send 400 troops to train moderate Syrian rebels this spring.

The Pentagon confirms the plan that was first reported by Defense One yesterday.

Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law a massive defense policy bill that endorsed his plan to fight Islamic State militants, including air strikes and training Iraqis and moderate Syrian rebels.

Russian markets brace for possible credit downgrade

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian markets are trading sluggishly as the country braces for the possibility that its credit rating may be downgraded to "junk" level later today for the first time in a decade.

Both the ruble and the MICEX benchmark were down less than 0.5 percent in early trading.

Russia's credit rating has been cut by several rating agencies in recent months as the country's economic outlook worsened under the pressure of Western sanctions and declining oil prices.

Standard & Poor's is expected to cut Russia's rating to non-investment grade, a level the country emerged from in 2004.

Russia's economic development minister said this week the possible downgrade gives no reason to doubt Russia's ability to pay its debts, which stand at a low level of 11 percent of GDP.

Court hearing in Massachusetts teacher slaying case resumes

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Lawyers for a Massachusetts teen accused of killing his math teacher want the 15-year-old's confession to police tossed out before his trial begins.

A judge will hear the request this morning in court in Salem.

Philip Chism's lawyers say police coerced him into waiving his rights and making detailed statements about the murder.

Chism is charged as an adult with killing and murdering Colleen Ritzer, a teacher at Danvers High School.

Justices must act fast if gay marriage to be settled in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — Time is running short for the Supreme Court to get same-sex marriage on its calendar if the justices want to tackle the issue before their current term ends.

They might have to decide to jump in at their closed-door conference today if they want to resolve the legal debate over gay marriage in the next few months.

If they take the case, the justices would hear it in April, the last month for oral arguments before October.

Written arguments would have to be filed on a compressed schedule, though both sides are well versed in the issues after numerous rounds in the lower courts.

The court already has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of states that allow same-sex couples to marry without settling the issue nationwide.

Hong Kong teen protest leader defiant as he turns self in

HONG KONG (AP) — The teenage face of Hong Kong's monthslong democracy protests has turned himself in for possible arrest.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Wong flashed a victory sign as he reported to a police station Friday with three other members of his student group.

They're among a number of activists and pro-democracy lawmakers who have been told to go to police headquarters to help with the investigation into street protests that authorities declared illegal.

Arizona passes law requiring students to pass civics test

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona has become the first state in the nation to enact a law requiring high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship test on civics before graduation.

Both the Arizona House and Senate quickly passed the legislation on just the fourth day of the legislative session, and newly elected Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law last night.

Police: 6-year-old's hanging death suicide or accident

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police in Minnesota say there was no foul play in the hanging death of a 6-year-old girl. Authorities say she either killed herself or her death was accidental.

Kendrea Johnson was found unconscious in a bedroom of her foster home in Brooklyn Park with a jump rope around her neck Dec. 27.

Authorities say the girl had been getting treatment for emotional problems including suicidal thoughts.

Rescuers in China search for 22 missing after boat sinks

BEIJING (AP) — Rescuers in China are searching for 22 people missing after a tugboat capsized on the Yangtze River.

The state-run Xinhua (shihn-wah) News Agency says three people were rescued, including a man freed after rescuers cut through the bottom of the upended vessel.

Rescuers believe the missing are trapped in the boat's cabin and they're using a crane to try to lift the boat, but swift currents are making it difficult.

Growers struggle with glut of legal pot in Washington state

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's legal marijuana market opened last summer to a dearth of weed. Some stores periodically closed because they didn't have pot to sell. Prices were through the roof.

Six months later, the equation has flipped, bringing serious growing pains to the new industry.

A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state's licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are finding it tougher than expected to make a living in legal weed.

Grower Andrew Seitz at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle calls it an "economic nightmare."

State data show that Washington's relatively few retail stores have sold less than one-fifth of the 31,000 pounds of marijuana flower that growers have harvested.


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