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Serena, Stan reach Australian Open semifinals

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:26

Serena Williams thumped Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 Wednesday to make it past the quarterfinals at the Australian Open -- and that spells trouble for her rivals who are still in contention at the season's first major.

The world No.

Story highlights
  • Final legal challenge to be filed to save Australians on death row in Indonesia
  • Supporters say the convicted drug smugglers are changed men who deserve a second chance
  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo has denied them clemency

(CNN)For several days after receiving a letter from the Indonesian president rejecting his plea for clemency, Myuran Sukumaran couldn't paint.

"I felt really sorry for him," said award-winning Australian artist Ben Quilty, who has been mentoring Sukuamaran, a convicted drug smuggler, in Bali's Kerobokan prison since late 2011.

Story highlights
  • "Please save the life of Kenji," the mother of Japanese hostage asks country's leader
  • Jordanian pilot's father asks his government to "make strong efforts" to bring him back
  • A message posted Tuesday says both men will be killed if Jordan doesn't release terrorist

(CNN)With the fates of their children hanging in the balance, the families of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian fighter pilot held by ISIS are calling on their governments to do everything they can to save the hostages before time runs out.

Story highlights
  • Benedict Cumberbatch apologized for calling black actors "colored" on U.S. TV
  • Amma Asante: I am, and have been, offended by the term when it has been used towards me
  • But are we not responding with the same prejudice that we have used to label him, she asks

Amma Asante is an award-winning British screenwriter and film director known for "Belle" and "A Way of Life." Follow her on Twitter. Watch her talk at a TEDx event.

Pleas from families of hostages held by ISIS
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:12
Story highlights
  • "Please save the life of Kenji," the mother of Japanese hostage asks country's leader
  • Jordanian pilot's father asks his government to "make strong efforts" to bring him back
  • A message posted Tuesday says both men will be killed if Jordan doesn't release terrorist

(CNN)With the fates of their children hanging in the balance, the families of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian fighter pilot held by ISIS are calling on their governments to do everything they can to save the hostages before time runs out.

Snow leaves parts of 4 states buried
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:12
Story highlights
  • Expectant mother goes to hospital during travel ban to give birth to snow baby
  • National Guard sergeant describes her storm-battered home: "It was just destroyed"

(CNN)When baby Anna Klein wakes up to the second day of her life on Wednesday, the sun will come out to greet her and nearly all of frigid New England, too.

But it will also shine down on snow piled feet high.

Anna was born early Tuesday in Hartford, Connecticut, at the height of the winter storm, which, on Wednesday, was winding down farther north in Maine.

Alleged American ISIS Commander Killed: Reports
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 04:12

An ISIS commander who claims to have lived in the U.S. has been killed, according to jihadis in the Middle East.

Abu Muhammad Al-Amriki, who gained notoriety last February when he appeared in a video blasting al-Qaeda's Syria branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, was a high-ranking figure within ISIS. The name "Al-Amriki" means "American."

Image: Abu Muhammad Al-Amriki, lower right, appears in ISIS videoCourtesy of Flashpoint Partners
Abu Muhammad Al-Amriki, lower right, appears in this ISIS video obtained by Flashpoint Intelligence.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell has signed a deal with Iraq worth $11 billion (7 billion pounds) to build a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra, Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi said on Wednesday.

Esawi told a press conference in Baghdad the Nibras complex, which is expected to come on line within five to six years, would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East.

By John Ruwitch

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A China regulator has accused Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> of failing to clean up what it called illegal business deals on the e-commerce titan's platforms, in an unusually strong government criticism of one of the country's biggest private firms.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), in a report published on its website on Wednesday, said many products sold on Alibaba's e-commerce websites and services infringed upon trademarks, were substandard or fake, were banned or endangered public security.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Fifty-four years after they were sentenced to a month of hard labor in a chain gang for ordering lunch in South Carolina, nine black men are getting a new day in court.

A prosecutor was expected to ask a judge Wednesday to vacate the convictions of the men known as the Friendship Nine, who were arrested for integrating a whites-only lunch counter in the segregated town of Rock Hill.

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