The Brief

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro during the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium, Dec. 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

U.S., Cuba Make Nice

The U.S. and Cuba will work to normalize diplomatic relations for the first time in half-century, after the release of an American prisoner

Dow Jones Average Follows Foreign Markets And Closes Lower

Dow Surges 300 Points

The Dow surged after the Federal Reserve signaled it was closer to raising interest rates due to a stronger economy, but promised to be "patient"

People carry the coffin of a male student who was killed in Tuesday's attack on the Army Public School, which was attacked by Taliban gunmen, during his funeral in Peshawar, Dec. 17, 2014.

Pakistan Begins 3 Days of Mourning After Massacre

A brutal attack the day earlier on an army-run school in Peshawar claimed more than 140 lives, 132 of them children. The nation is struggling to come to terms with one of the deadliest attacks since the Pakistani Taliban launched its insurgency seven years ago

Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit

Elton John to Wed Longtime Partner David Furnish

The pair entered a civil partnership in 2005, but in recent weeks, rumors have run rampant about impending nuptials. Various outlets have reported that a private, intimate ceremony will take place at their Windsor estate on Dec. 21

Home Shootings Pennsylvania

Ax, Machete, Pill Bottles Near Pa. Rampage Suspect

Bradley Stone, a man believed to have killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives, had an ax, a machete and two prescription pill bottles beside him when he was found dead Tuesday in the woods near his suburban Philadelphia home following a manhunt

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Most of the World Is Living Longer

Life expectancy across the globe has increased by more than six years since 1990 to 71.5 years, according to a new study published Wednesday in The Lancet. Medical funding for fighting infectious disease has grown since 1990 and helped drive the improvement

University of Utah Researchers Work Toward Cure For Ebola Strains

Scientists Spot Drugs That Could Treat Ebola

Scientists have identified 53 existing drugs that could be effective in fighting Ebola, according to newly published research that came from screening drug compounds already available to see if they can treat the deadly disease

Uber

Uber Promises to Make Rides Safer

Uber outlined various steps it is taking to make the popular ride-sharing app more secure, following multiple highly publicized incidents of driver misconduct that have put the company under fire in the U.S. and abroad

Stephen Collins in Beverly Hills in 2010.

Stephen Collins Confesses to Child Molestation

Actor Stephen Collins has admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with three female minors in a statement to People. "Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret," Collins said

President Putin at Kremlin, in Moscow, Dec. 8, 2014.

Russian Economy Collapses Along With Putin's Stature

The ruble plummeted around 20% against the dollar on Tuesday as Russia's worst economic crash since 1998 gathered steam, sapping the authority of Russian President Vladimir Putin and perhaps causing him to rethink his country's actions in Ukraine

North Carolina Politics

Jeb Bush Eyes Run for Presidency

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he will "actively explore" running for president in 2016. "I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits," he said, one day before announcing his formal intention to explore a campaign