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US punishes Russia for hacking...Cease-fire in Syria... Indonesia rocked by earthquake



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HONOLULU (AP) — The United States is striking back at Russia for hacking the U.S. presidential campaign with a sweeping set of punishments targeting Russia's spy agencies and diplomats. The U.S. says Russia must bear costs for its actions, but Moscow calls the Obama administration "losers" and is threatening retaliation. The U.S. says Russia tried to sway the election for Donald Trump.

BEIRUT (AP) — A cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey is now in effect in war-ravaged Syria. It began at midnight Thursday. If it holds, the truce between the Syrian government and the country's mainstream rebel forces will be followed by peace talks next month in Kazakhstan. That's according to Russian President Vladimir Putin describes the cease-fire as "quite fragile" requiring "special attention and patience."

TOLOTANGGA, Indonesia (AP) — There are no immediate reports of damages or casualties after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit a region in the eastern part of Indonesia on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit about 6:30 a.m. in the Sumbawa region. No tsunami warning has been issued. On Dec. 7, Indonesia's Aceh (ah-cheh) province was hit by a magnitude 6.5 quake that killed more than 100 people. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes .

HOUSTON (AP) — Army officials say they have recovered the body of one of two soldiers killed when a Texas Army National Guard helicopter broke apart on a routine training mission and crashed into Galveston Bay about 25 miles southeast of Houston. Witnesses say the Apache was flying unusually low Wednesday afternoon when they heard a loud noise, saw it break up and plunge into in the bay about 25 yards offshore near a vacant cruise ship terminal.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Millions of workers across the U.S. will see their pay increase as the new year begins. That's when 19 states bump up their minimum wages. California, New York and Michigan are among the states with increases taking effect Saturday or Sunday. Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages at $11 per hour. California will raise its wage to $10.50 for large businesses.

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The Associated Press

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