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Obama signs spending bill ... Questions surround Sydney gunman ... New comedy prompts threats

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 16, 2014 at 8:41 p.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps the government operating over the next nine months. The legislation was a compromise that angered both liberals and conservatives, and it puts off partisan clashes over immigration to next year. It retains cuts negotiated in previous budget battles and rolls back some banking regulations. But it also retains spending for Obama's health care law and pays for the administration's fight against Ebola.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled Senate has confirmed a final batch of President Barack Obama's judicial appointees and has sent the White House legislation extending tax breaks for millions of working-class Americans. Dozens of Obama's nominees to agency positions have also won approval, including Sarah Soldana to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Nicholas Rasmussen as director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's prime minister is acknowledging that the nation's security system failed to keep track of a gunman responsible for a deadly siege at a Sydney cafe. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is promising a transparent investigation into why the man was not on any terror watch list despite having a long criminal history. The 50-year-old Iranian-born, self-styled cleric described by as deeply disturbed, took 17 people hostage inside a downtown Sydney cafe on Monday. The siege ended with the death of the man and two hostages.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There are reports that Sony Pictures Entertainment is telling theater owners that they can cancel their plans to show "The Interview." The comedy about an assassination attempt against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled to debut Christmas Day, and hackers are issuing threats against moviegoers. The Department of Homeland Security has said that there is no credible intelligence to indicate a threat.

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii's $38 million macadamia nut industry is getting a boost thanks to a Korean Air Lines executive's tantrum over bagged nuts. Cho Hyun-ah, an airline vice president of cabin service and daughter of the company's chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight from New York City after she was served macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. The incident dubbed "nut rage" imploded Cho's career, but sales of macadamias are booming in South Korea.

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The Associated Press

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