By Michelle Martin and Lidia Kelly BERLIN/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was reunited with family members in Berlin on Saturday, a day after he was released from a decade-long jail term during which he became one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics. Khodorkovsky, 50, was released from a remote prison near the Arctic Circle on Friday after Putin pardoned him with the stroke of a pen. He immediately flew to Berlin, where he was joined by his relatives, including his elderly parents, Marina and Boris, on Saturday. "My family is finally reunited and we're very, very happy to be together after the 10 years of separation," his son Pavel Khodorkovsky, who arrived from the United States, said outside the Adlon Hotel in the German capital.
By Carl Odera JUBA (Reuters) - Three U.S. aircraft came under fire from unidentified forces on Saturday while trying to evacuate Americans from a spiraling conflict in South Sudan. The U.S. military said four of its members were wounded in the attacks. Nearly a week of fighting in South Sudan threatens to drag the world's newest country into a Dinka-Nuer ethnic civil war just two years after it won independence from Sudan with strong support from successive U.S. administrations. Consequently, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that any move to take power by military means would lead to an end of U.S. and international community support for South Sudan.
Johannesburg (AFP) - A Mozambican Airlines captain had a "clear intention" to crash an airplane that went down in Namibia killing 33 at the end of November, according to a preliminary investigation reported Saturday.
Astronauts removed an old space station pump Saturday, sailing through the first of a series of urgent repair spacewalks to revive a crippled cooling line.
The two Americans on the crew, Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, successfully pulled out the ammonia pump with a bad valve -- well ahead of schedule. That task had been planned for the next spacewalk on Monday.
"An early Christmas," observed Mission Control as Mastracchio tugged the refrigerator-size pump away from its nesting spot.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battle ground between the country's military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day before.
By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday called on the United States to establish civilized relations with his country, recognizing a new tone in bilateral talks on secondary issues while reiterating that the country's political and economic system were non-negotiable. The United States and Cuba have appeared more positive of late as talks around immigration, postal services, disaster prevention and other security issues have taken place, with officials from both countries cautiously welcoming each other's pragmatism and seriousness in interviews with Reuters. Castro said that "a civilized relationship between both countries" was something "our people and the immense majority of U.S. citizens and Cuban immigrants desire." Castro's speech came just two weeks after he and U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands at a memorial for the late Nelson Mandela. U.S. and Cuban officials overcame a series of potentially divisive incidents this summer, including the interception of a shipment of Cuban weapons headed for North Korea, with mutual displays of prudent diplomacy rarely seen since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.
Trevor Ariza scored 27 points and the Washington Wizards rallied in the final six minutes to defeat the Boston Celtics 106-99 in an NBA matchup Saturday. The Wizards did not lead until the final three minutes of the contest, but Washington ended the game with a 22-7 spurt to dump the host Celtics, who lead the Atlantic division despite a 12-16 record. Boston had defeated Washington in their past seven meetings, but could not stretch the streak as John Wall produced 20 points, nine assists and six steals for the Wizards.
Zach Randolph scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to power Memphis over the host New York Knicks 95-87 on Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen added 19 points and eight rebounds for Memphis while Jerryd Bayless netted 11 points and Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis each contributed 10 for the Grizzlies, who improved to 11-15.
HAVANA (AP) — President Raul Castro issued a stern warning to entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries of Cuba's economic reform, telling parliament on Saturday that "those pressuring us to move faster are moving us toward failure."