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Whether you are entertaining a crowd or simply reflecting on 2012 with a few friends and family members, ring in the new year with tantalizing cuisine, festive cocktails and other superb flavors. For those celebrating, many choose to indulge in more extravagant foods such as prime rib, lobster or crab. My indulgence lies within specialty cheeses — particularly brie cheese — and preparing simple, flavorful and elegant appetizers.
MOSCOW (AP) — European and U.S. shares traded lower on Friday on waning hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama and key lawmakers would manage to reach an 11th-hour budget compromise. U.S. politicians have until Monday night to hammer out an agreement before the U.S. runs over the "fiscal cliff" — hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases and deep cuts to government spending that automatically kick in on Jan. 1. Such a drastic measure could throw the U.S. into another recession, economists have warned.
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, abruptly terminating the prospects for more than 50 youngsters preparing to join new families and sparking critics to liken him to King Herod. The move is part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators. Although some top Russian officials including the foreign minister openly opposed the bill, Putin signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it from Parliament, where it passed both houses overwhelmingly.
NEW YORK (AP) — All the single ladies — and fellas — will have a chance to join Beyonce onstage at the upcoming Super Bowl.
LONDON (AP) — Few people keep Queen Elizabeth II waiting, especially when she has issued a personal invitation, but President Ronald Reagan managed to do so in 1982 without causing any lasting damage. It happened in 1982, when the Reagan White House failed to reply in a timely way to a personal invitation from the queen for the president and his wife Nancy to stay with her at Windsor Castle during a planned visit to England.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Public safety officials are aiming for the fifth consecutive year with no drunken-driving deaths in Minnesota on New Year's Eve. In the past 10 years there have been eight drunken-driving deaths in Minnesota during the New Year's holiday, but none in the past four years. Although drunken-driving incidents are down in recent years, officials say New Year's Eve still can be a dangerous night on Minnesota roads. Officials are urging party-goers to plan a safe ride home on New Year's Eve and throughout the New Year.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Count Howard Bicker among those taking careful stock of the sputtering fiscal cliff talks in Washington. The executive director of Minnesota's State Board of Investment is keeping tabs on the stock market volatility related to the policy debate in Washington over taxes and spending. President Barack Obama and Congress have until Monday to head off automatic tax increases and spending cuts.
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota State University football coach cleared by a judge of child porn charges stemming from cellphone video of his naked children has filed a civil lawsuit. Todd Hoffner is asking a judge to keep investigation reports from the dismissed criminal case sealed from the public. The Free Press in Mankato reports a Twin Cities TV station filed a request to review the reports that usually become public after a criminal case is closed. But Hoffner's attorney requested a temporary restraining order to seal the reports until they can be reviewed.
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Truth is, retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf didn’t care much for his popular “Stormin’ Norman” nickname.
HOUSTON (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush's family sought privacy and provided no new details Thursday about his medical condition, a day after his spokesman said he's in intensive care after being hospitalized for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said he would put out another statement "when events warrant it," citing the family's right to and desire for privacy.