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2013: fewest police deaths by firearms since 1887
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 08:43

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the 19th century, according to a report released Monday.

The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959.

According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012.

Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms.

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Revelers start ringing in 2014 with fireworks
Written by ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 08:35
AustraliaNewYearsE_Pool_rotator
Fireworks explode near the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — New Zealand rang in the New Year with multicolored fireworks erupting from Auckland's Sky Tower at midnight Tuesday as thousands of cheering revelers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation's largest city.

Early pyrotechnic shows erupted over Sydney Harbor, dazzling hundreds of thousands viewers ahead of the main event in Australia and Dubai will later try to create the world's largest fireworks show to ring in 2014.

Sydney officials promised that the Australian city's renowned pyrotechnics show would be more extravagant than ever, with more than 1.6 million revelers expected to line the harbor for a view.

Dubai, home to world's tallest tower, is known for its glitz, glamor and over-the-top achievements, and this New Year's Eve the city is planning to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 09:43
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Russia bombings spark Olympic concerns
Written by EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:46

The suicide bombings in Russia serve as a chilling reminder of what the Winter Olympics represent to terrorists: A high-profile target with more than 2,500 athletes, some of them world-famous, waving the flags of nearly 90 nations.

So, while many Olympic leaders offered reassurance on the day after two bombings 400 miles from Sochi killed at least 31 people, some of those getting ready to compete in the Games spoke of a different reality. They know their security is never a sure thing.

"I am concerned," said U.S. speedskater Jilleanne Rookard. "I'm scared their security may be involved. I don't know if I necessarily trust their security forces. But they don't want a national embarrassment, either. I use that thought to relieve some of my worry. I'm sure they want to save their image and their pride."

Indeed, the Russians vow the athletes will be safe, even though they will be competing in a city 300 miles away from the roots of an Islamic insurgency that has triggered security concerns for the Games, which start Feb. 7.

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Icebound Antarctic ship awaits helicopter rescue
Written by KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 07:07

SYDNEY (AP) — Passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for a week are expected to be rescued by helicopter, after three icebreakers failed to reach the paralyzed vessel, officials said Tuesday.

The 74 scientists, tourists and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, had been hoping the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis would be able to crack through the thick ice and allow them to continue on their way. The Aurora came within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the ship on Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water.

On Tuesday, the weather remained bleak, and the crew on the Aurora said their vessel would also be at risk of getting stuck if it made another rescue attempt, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue.

A helicopter on board a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, will be used to collect the passengers. The Snow Dragon, which is waiting with the Aurora at the edge of the ice pack, was also unable to crack through the ice, as was France's L'Astrolabe.

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Mayor: North Dakota town dodged a bullet in crude explosion
Written by DAVE KOLPACK, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:44
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A fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment Monday, Dec 30, 2013, in Casselton, N.D. The train carrying crude oil derailed near Casselton Monday afternoon. Several explosions were reported as some cars on the mile-long train caught fire. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy

CASSELTON, N.D. (AP) — A southeastern North Dakota town narrowly escaped tragedy when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded nearby, the mayor said Tuesday, calling for changes in how the fuel is transported across the U.S.

No one was hurt in Monday's derailment of the mile-long train that sent a great fireball and plumes of black smoke skyward about a mile from the small town of Casselton. The fire had been so intense as darkness fell that investigators couldn't get close enough to count the number of burning cars. The National Transportation Safety Board was preparing to investigate.

Most residents heeded a recommendation to evacuate their homes as strong winds blew potentially hazardous, acrid smoke toward the town overnight, Mayor Ed McConnell said early Tuesday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 11:33
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