Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 11:12 pm
Updated at 6:33p.m. ET:
The Seattle Seahawks have defeated the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC title and earn their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.
Seattle won 28-22 in a game that saw the Packers pull out to a commanding early lead — going into the half 16-0. Seattle gained traction, however, scoring touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to close the gap.
One of Ireland's most prominent politicians, Health Minister Leo Varadkar, has become the first government minister ever to come out as gay — a move that comes just four months before the traditionally conservative Catholic country holds a nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage.
Varadkar, 36, told Ireland's RTE Radio 1 today: "I'm a gay man. It's not a secret, but it's not something that everyone would necessarily know."
He said the referendum was one of the reasons he'd decided now was the time make his sexual orientation known to the public.
Ukraine's president says his forces will retake the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk from the control of Russian-backed separatists amid reports of a major push to do just that.
Petro Poroshenko, speaking to a crowd of several thousand gathered Sunday in central Kiev for a state-sponsored peace march, said that he would not "give up an inch" of Ukrainian territory to separatists, according to The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Ukrainian forces launched a "mass operation" overnight that had succeeded in retaking most of the airport.
The self-declared Islamic State has released a group of some 200 elderly members of the Yazidis religious minority, allowing them to cross out of territory controlled by the extremists.
It is not clear why the militants released the men and women, many infirm, but The Associated Press quotes Gen, Shirko Fatih, the commander of the Kurdish peshmerga in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk as saying "It probably became too expensive to feed them and care for them."
At least 6 million people in the predominately Catholic Philippines thronged a rain-drenched Rizal park in the capital, Manila, to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis as he presented Sunday Mass at the end of a four-day visit to the islands nation.
Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 9:54 am
President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday will call for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and tax credits for the middle class, The Associated Press reports, citing anonymous senior administration officials.
The proposed tax changes will include raising the capital gains rate on couples making over half a million dollars a year from 23.8 to 28 percent, the wire service continues, and requiring estates to pay capital gains tax on inherited securities.
French authorities have approved secret burials for the two brothers who were killed by police following their attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Mayors in two French cities "begrudgingly" agreed to secret burials of Said and Cherif Kouachi who carried out a shooting spree at the magazine on Jan. 7 and eluded police for three days in a rampage that killed 17 people, The Associated Press says.
Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 1:01 pm
French President Francois Hollande says people protesting the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo do not understand the French attachment to freedom of speech.
His statement comes amid protests over the publication's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad on its latest cover that went to press just days after 10 of its journalists were gunned down in Paris by Muslim extremists. Those protests have turned violent in Algeria, Pakistan and Niger, where at least two Christian churches were set fire.