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10 things to know for today, Dec. 18

By The Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

1. WHAT DROVE OBAMA’S DECISION ON NORMALIZING WITH CUBA

The president was driven in part by realizing that the policy toward Cuba was isolating the U.S. from the rest of the world.

2. JUBILATION IN HAVANA, MUTED REACTION IN MIAMI

Bells tolled and school children applauded on the island when they heard Raul Castro deliver the news. Outrage among Cuban-Americans in their Florida hub was understated, showing vast change in recent years.

3. HACKING COULD UNDERSCORE NORTH KOREA’S CAPABILITIES

In a country where most people have never used the internet, Pyongyang has amassed a small army of computer coders who may have unleashed an attack against Sony.

4. AP INVESTIGATION: HUNDREDS OF CHILD DEATHS COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED

Nearly 800 kids died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. even though protection agencies knew they were in danger.

5. WHO HAS FAITH IN THE RUBLE

Putin says Moscow has enough foreign reserves and expresses confidence that his country’s embattled currency will recover.

6. BOSTON MARATHON SUSPECT TO APPEAR IN COURT

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will make his first public appearance in a year and a half as he faces 30 federal charges.

7. MITCH MCCONNELL TAKES AIM AT OBAMA’S GREEN ‘CRUSADE’

The incoming Senate majority leader tells the AP that he’ll do everything he can to stop stricter limits on emissions from coal-burning power plants.

8. WHERE FRACKING WILL BE BANNED

The decision by New York state is cheered by environmentalists, while the industry and its supporters express outrage.

9. STUDY: ALCATRAZ INMATES COULD HAVE SURVIVED FAMED ESCAPE IN 1962

Dutch scientists, studying the tides and currents, conclude the three men might have made it to land.

10. WHICH ‘SMART’ PRODUCTS TO GIFT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

A toothbrush with Bluetooth connectivity, a Mr. Coffee machine you can start remotely with your phone, and a scale that tracks your weight loss (or gain) are among this year’s best offerings.

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