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Democrats employ strategy to get the most bang for Obama nominations

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and other Democrats have made a concerted effort over the past two years to seat as many federal judges as possible, and this week they could declare victory, having confirmed the most judges in a single Congress since 1980. But this strategy — based on the political calculus that lifetime judicial appointments will have greater, longer impact than executive branch nominees — means some federal agencies will still face serious gaps during Obama’s remaining time in office.

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

WASHINGTON — The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle clues in the hacking tools left behind and the involvement of at least one computer in Bolivia previously traced to other attacks blamed on the North Koreans.

Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

HAVANA — The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States unleashed expectations Thursday of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings.

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Senate probe catalogs brutality against detainees

WASHINGTON — The United States brutalized scores of terror suspects with interrogation tactics that turned secret CIA prisons into chambers of suffering and did nothing to make America safer after the 9/11 attacks, Senate investigators concluded Tuesday.