Japan foreign minister: making utmost efforts for release of Japanese held by IS

Japan will ask Jordan to beef up protection of its diplomats in that country and Tokyo is making utmost efforts to secure the release of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Friday. Jordan said on Thursday it was still holding an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber as a deadline passed for her release set by Islamic State militants who threatened to kill a Jordanian pilot unless she was handed over by sunset.
Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet and performer, dies at 81

NEW YORK (AP) — Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced "King of Kitsch" whose music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and '70s won him an Oscar nomination and made him one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81.
Baby goat beheaded; another goat taken from New Orleans park

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A baby goat was beheaded and its twin was taken from a park where they had been in a pen, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday.
Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see matchup

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor in the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle. A Super Bowl matchup well worth watching: Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle's Kam Chancellor, one of the few safeties in the league capable of stopping him. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)PHOENIX (AP) — On some point Sunday it will happen. At least everyone hopes it happens.

Obama clash looms after Senate passes Keystone

Sen. Maria Cantwell (C) speaks about the Keystone XL Pipeline, flanked by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow during a news conference on January 29, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DCThe US Senate on Thursday approved a bill authorizing construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States, a Republican priority that faces a presidential veto. After weeks of sometimes fierce debate, the bill passed with 62 votes to 36, with nine Democrats defying President Barack Obama to support a project that would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries along the US Gulf Coast. The measure, tweaked during a roller-coaster process in which more than 40 amendments to the bill received floor consideration, heads back to the House of Representatives. The House approved its own Keystone legislation earlier this month and now must decide whether it passes the Senate measure or enters into bicameral conference to thrash out a compromise bill.

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