Obama promises "sensible" measures to counter gun violence


U.S. President Barack Obama plans to announce this week some "sensible" initiatives to curb gun violence that will include unilateral actions by the chief executive as well as legislation that Congress would have to approve.

The president reviewed Monday the recommendations that Vice President Joe Biden submitted after gathering opinions on the issue for almost a month.

"I expect to have a fuller presentation later in the week to give people some specifics about what I think we need to do," Obama said at the final press conference of his first term.




"Les Miserables" and "Argo" are big winners at Golden Globes


The musical "Les Miserables" and the thriller "Argo" were the big winners at the 70th annual Golden Globes at a ceremony in Los Angeles, where "Lincoln," the film with the most nominations, was almost overlooked.

"Les Miserables," the cinema adaptation of the renowned work by Victor Hugo, won three of the four Golden Globes for which it was nominated, including the one for the year's Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.

Hugh Jackman took the prize for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for his starring role in that film, which brought Anne Hathaway the prize for Best Supporting Actress.

"Argo" scored the surprise of the night by beating out "Lincoln" twice, in the premium category of Best Motion picture - Drama, and for the title of Best Director, snagged by Ben Affleck despite the favoritism experts had bestowed on Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln" and on Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty."




Britian's William and Kate expecting baby in July


Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, will give birth to her first child in July, Britain's royal household said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July," St. James's Palace said in a short statement.

Regardless of its sex, the child will be third in line to the British throne.

The statement from the palace came amid rumors that Kate, 31, could be expecting twins.




Spain suggests sharing diplomatic offices with LatAm countries


Spain's foreign minister said that he is open to sharing diplomatic, trade and cultural offices abroad with Latin American countries under certain circumstances.

At a ceremony in Madrid, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo propounded the idea as a way to make "worthwhile savings," have a greater presence overseas and promote cooperation among the Ibero-American community.

"Wherever an Ibero-American country or Spain doesn't see any justification for having its own representation, we will try to enter into collaboration agreements," he said.

Madrid has already begun collaborating that way within the European Union, and, as a first step, has closed its embassy in Yemen, moving Spanish diplomatic personnel to the EU mission in Sanaa.




Chavez aides meet with Castro bros.


Former President Fidel Castro and his successor, younger brother Raul, met here with top aides to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who remains in Havana recuperating from cancer surgery, Cuban official media said.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro expressed thanks for the "careful attention" that the Castro brothers and the medical team treating Chavez in Cuba have given the president while he is "in the process of recovering his health," according to an article in Communist Party daily Granma.

Fidel and Raul Castro met Sunday with Maduro and other top Venezuelan officials, including Attorney General Cilia Flores, National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello and Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez.




France says Islamists took town in Mali


Islamist militants have taken control of Diabali, a town in central Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

"They took Diabali this morning after extensive combat and the resistance of the army of Mali, which was insufficiently equipped at that time," the defense minister told the BFM network.

Air strikes continue in an effort to regain control of the small town, which is located about 400 kilometers (249 miles) from Bamako in a wooded area near the border with Mauritania, Le Drian said.

The rebels are "extremely well armed and organized," Le Drian said.




GM presents new Corvette conceived for the global market


The North American International Auto Show got off to a dramatic start here as General Motors presented the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, the first update of the classic sports car since 2005.

GM's Chevrolet division sees the 2014 Corvette Stingray as the standard-bearer of a new era for the brand, Mary Barra, GM's senior vice president of global product development, said.

Chevy plans to introduce a score of new models this year, she said, adding that the division enjoyed record sales of nearly 5 million units in 2012.




Russia unveils Olympic torch ahead of Sochi 2014


Russia presented the Olympic torch and the uniform its athletes will wear at the Winter Games to be held next year in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

"I hope that this torch brings us luck in Sochi," said Tatiana Navka, Olympic and world champion in artistic ice skating, at the presentation ceremony held with fanfare at the GUM shopping mall in Moscow's Red Square.

The torch, made of aluminum and polymer, weighs 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) and is shaped like a feather. It symbolizes the Firebird, a magical bird from Russian folklore.

The Olympic torch is silver with a red edge, the latter being traditional color for Russian athletes and it was designed by Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodianik.




Gunman kills 2, wounds 10 at carnival in Brazil


An unidentified gunman killed two people and wounded 10 others at a carnival in Nova Friburgo, a city near Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police said.

The shooting occurred during a street party Sunday night at which the Rastafari group was practicing outside a bar.

Hundreds of people had gathered to listen to the group's performance, police said.




NFL's Falcons and Patriots advance to conference championship games


The Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 on kicker Matt Bryant's 49-yard field goal with eight seconds left to advance to the National Football Conference, or NFC, championship game, while the New England Patriots pounded the Houston Texans 41-28 to clinch the remaining spot in the American Football Conference, or AFC, championship game.

The Falcons (14-3) will host the San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1) at the Georgia Dome next Sunday in the NFC title game, while New England will be at home in Gillette Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship game.

The winners of the conference championship games will play in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.