National News

The Islamist group Hamas, shown here in a rally in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 12, is the strongest faction in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic State, or ISIS, is not believed to be in the territory, though fliers purporting to be from the group have circulated in Gaza. They are widely believed to be fake, but both Israel and Hamas have tried to use them to their advantage.

In Gaza, The Specter Of ISIS Proves Useful To Both Sides

Earlier this month, more than a dozen writers, poets and activists in Gaza got threatening fliers signed with the name ISIS, the Sunni extremists fighting with brutal violence in Iraq and Syria.

But a few days later, a new flier, also signed ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, denied responsibility and apologized.

The incident is raising the question of whether ISIS is taking root in Gaza — or if someone is just playing around.

This design of this new anti-Ebola suit will make health workers more comfortable and could also save lives.

Dreaming Up A Safer, Cooler PPE For Ebola Fighters

Here's what it takes to design a better Ebola suit: a roomful of university students and professors, piles of canvas and Tyvek cloth, sewing machines, glue guns ... and chocolate syrup.

Even Youseph Yazdi, head of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), still isn't sure what the syrup was for.

This graphic lays out the possible outcomes for 10,000 women if they start getting annual screening mammograms at age 50 and continue that for 10 years.

What Happens After You Get That Mammogram

Women and their doctors have a hard time figuring out the pluses and minuses of screening mammograms for breast cancer. It doesn't help that there's been fierce dissent over the benefits of screening mammography for women under 50 and for older women.

A sign posted Wednesday on the box office window at the Sunshine Cinema in New York. The New York premiere of <em>The Interview</em>, a Sony Pictures comedy about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, has been canceled.

Sony Cancels Christmas Day Release Of 'The Interview' Amid Threats

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Sony Pictures has canceled the Christmas Day release of The Interview, the comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. The move came after the largest U.S. movie theater chains said they won't screen the film in the wake of threats against them by a group that also allegedly hacked Sony's internal documents.

Alan Gross addresses a news conference in Washington on Wednesday hours after his release from Cuba.

Alan Gross, U.S. Contractor Freed By Cuba, Says 'It's Good To Be Home'

American Alan Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release today as a humanitarian gesture, said "it's good to be home," and that he hoped the U.S. and Cuba move past their "mutually belligerent" policies.

"Two wrongs never made a right," Gross said in Washington shortly after he returned to the U.S. aboard a government plane.

Gross appeared frail but cheerful. Some of his front teeth were missing.

Gross thanked President Obama and his national security team for working toward his freedom.

President Obama speaks with President Raul Castro of Cuba from the Oval Office on Tuesday.

PHOTO: The Meaning in a Phone Call

On Tuesday, President Obama picked up the phone and talked to Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro looks up at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington on April 16, 1959. The Cuban leader visited Washington several months after seizing power. But U.S.-Cuban relations quickly frayed and the U.S. imposed an embargo on the island in 1960. President Obama announced an overhaul of the U.S. policy on Wednesday.

The U.S. And Cuba: A Brief History Of A Tortured Relationship

Just months after he seized power in Cuba, Fidel Castro visited Washington in April 1959. He placed a wreath at the base of both the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and was photographed looking up in seeming admiration of both U.S. presidents.

For U.S.-Cuba relations, it was all downhill after that.

Prisoner Exchange With Cuba Led To Freedom For Top U.S. Intelligence Agent

Today's announcement that Cuba freed USAID contractor Alan Gross as a humanitarian gesture came with news of a separate prisoner exchange: Three convicted Cuban spies were traded for a U.S. intelligence asset who spent nearly two decades in Cuban prisons.

President Obama called the unnamed man "one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba."

A nurse checks a man's blood pressure during a health clinic In Los Angeles.

Managed Care Plans Make Progress In Erasing Racial Disparities

Years of efforts to reduce the racial disparities in health care have so far failed to eliminate them. But progress is being made in the western United States, due largely to efforts by managed care plans to identify patients who were missing out on management of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

While management of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar improved nationwide, African-Americans still "substantially" trailed whites everywhere except the western U.S., an area from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

New Cuba Policy Is Met With Cheers And Jeers On Both Sides Of The Aisle

Updated at 3:42 p.m.

The Obama administration announced today that it would begin the process of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

It's a contentious issue, and reaction has been swift. Here's a roundup:

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