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Russia's president on Tuesday called for European leaders to end their criticism over Ukraine's decision to delay a key EU pact, as thousands rallied in Kiev in a third day of protests. Vladimir Putin said a free trade deal between the European Union and Ukraine that was controversially put on hold last week would have been a "major threat" to the Russian economy. Kiev admitted on Tuesday Moscow had asked it to delay signing the pact, while President Viktor Yanukovych said he would consider signing under new terms. The Ukrainian government suspended talks last week on the political and free trade accord, seen as a key step towards EU membership, which its Soviet-era master Russia had vehemently opposed.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond was suspended without pay for four games Tuesday by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The 26-year-old defender will not be eligible to return to the Seahawks' active roster until December 23, six days before the team's final regular season game, a home contest against the St. Louis Rams. No details regarding the substance involved were revealed as part of the NFL and union policy on dealing with drug bans, which includes consideration of laws against revealing medical details about players. Thurmond's absence also hits the Seahawks at a position that has became a major concern amid reports the NFL is also considering a one-year ban against Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner for a substance abuse violation.
Kobe Bryant says his NBA return from left Achilles tendon surgery is likely weeks away but the Los Angeles Lakers guard is improving and regaining the explosiveness that made him a superstar. And the 35-year-old American, who signed a two-year deal worth $48.5 million with the Lakers on Monday, says that his new deal does leave the Lakers room to sign new talent and become a title contender again as well as silence critics who doubt his worthiness for such a contract. "It makes me want to run through a wall for them," Bryant said Tuesday before the Lakers played at Washington. Bryant has not played since being injured last April but has practiced with the Lakers, who split their first 12 games of the new season, and says his return could come in December.
NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving travelers scrambled to book earlier flights Tuesday to avoid a sprawling storm bearing down on the East Coast with a messy mix of snow, rain and wind that threatened to snarl one of the busiest travel days of the year and ground giant balloon versions of Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants in the Macy's parade.
By Phil Stewart and David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers on a training mission flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea without informing Beijing, defying China's declaration of a new airspace defense zone and raising the stakes in a territorial standoff. The flight did not prompt a response from China, the Pentagon said, and the White House urged Beijing on Tuesday to resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically, without resorting to "threats or inflammatory language." China published coordinates for an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone over the weekend and warned it would take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in the airspace.
UNITED NATIONS (United States) (AFP) - A UN committee on Tuesday voted to create an international day to protect journalists as media activists condemned the mounting number of reporters killed on duty. The Reporters Without Borders group welcomed the move and said 89 journalists were killed while working in 2012, the highest number in nearly two decades. The UN General Assembly's human rights committee voted unanimously to make November 2 each year the International Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists. November 2 is the day that French radio journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were killed by militants in Mali this year.
By Jeff Mason GLENDALE, California (Reuters) - Almost two weeks ago, President Barack Obama, looking down, walked into the White House briefing room and apologized for the flawed rollout of his healthcare reform law. During a three-day Western swing through Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Obama touted the accomplishments of his signature law, popularly known as Obamacare, and promised the glitches were going away. "Yes, we decided to fix a broken healthcare system," Obama told workers at DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday, the final day of his trip. "I was talking to some of the studio execs here and I said, 'You know the rollout of the healthcare marketplace was rough' ... and yet here in California and here across this state, there are thousands of people who are getting healthcare for the first time - for the first time - because of this." The administration has promised the website will be working for the vast majority of Americans by the end of this month, and White House officials continue to express confidence that goal will be achieved.