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‘Star Wars’ box office surpasses ‘Titanic,’ ‘Jurassic World’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" marched confidently into the new year, raking in an additional $88.3 million over the New Year's weekend and topping the box office for a third week, according to studio estimates Sunday. In addition to setting a new high mark in New Year's box office history, the record-busting film blew past the domestic grosses of both "Jurassic World" ($652.3 million) and "Titanic" ($658.7 million) to become the second-highest earner of all time with $740.3 million in just 19 days of release. The top domestic film is "Avatar" with a $760.5 million lifetime domestic gross, but "Star Wars" is barreling in to surpass it soon. For context, it took "Avatar" 72 days to reach $700 million. "Star Wars" did that in 16 days. Internationally, "Star Wars" …

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PH follows Vietnam in opposing China’s runway test

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government said Monday that like Vietnam, it opposes China's recent test of a newly completed runway on one of seven islands Beijing has constructed in the disputed South China Sea. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the government was considering protesting China's action, as Vietnam did, adding that the test at Fiery Cross Reef "adds to tension and uncertainties in the region." Vietnam last week protested the test, saying it violated Hanoi's sovereignty, and demanded that China stop such actions. China rejected Hanoi's protest and will likely dismiss Manila's concerns as well. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Saturday that China deployed a "civil aircraft" on the island, which it calls Yongshu Jiao, to determine whether the new airfield in what she said was Chinese …

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Man who took Snapchat selfie with robbery victim arrested

PACIFIC GROVE, California — Police in Northern California say they have arrested a man accused of armed robbery thanks to a Snapchat selfie he took with one of the victims. KNTV reports that Pacific Grove police arrested 18-year-old Victor Almanza-Martinez, of Castroville, and that they are searching for two other suspects believed to have participated in an armed robbery. Police say that Almanza-Martinez and the two others approached four victims Wednesday at Lover Point Park and allegedly robbed them of their belongings, including a car. The suspects fled in the stolen car, which is still missing, but before leaving Almanza-Martinez and a female victim exchanged Snapchat information and posed for a selfie together. Police say the selfie helped them track down Almanza-Martinez. He has been charged with armed robbery and kidnapping and is being …

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Mexico mayor slain a day after taking office

Officials said they have killed two people and arrested three others linked to the slaying of a Mexico mayor who had taken office only a day earlier. The state's governor said organized crime was behind the attack. Gunmen killed Mayor Gisela Mota at her house in Temixco, one of several cities around Cuernavaca that have been struggling with kidnappings and extortions by organized crime gangs. Police quickly located a car of presumed assailants who opened fire on officers, the Morelos state government said in a statement. In a separate car, officials said they found two guns, one of them a semiautomatic, and ski masks. Three people were detained, a 32-year-old woman, an 18-year-old and a minor. Morelos Attorney General Javier Perez Duron said the suspects have been tied to other crimes, but declined to …

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Lawler beats Condit in brawl, retains UFC welterweight title

Las Vegas — Robbie Lawler defended his UFC welterweight belt with a bruising split-decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 195 on Saturday night. Lawler (27-10) was awarded the narrow decision after an outstanding five-round brawl at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Condit (30-9) landed 120 more strikes and wobbled the champion multiple times, but Lawler's power did enough damage to win three rounds on two judges’ scorecards. Lawler and Condit established a lofty benchmark for the best fight of 2016 with their thrilling, draining slugfest. Both fighters landed huge strikes and big knockdowns, yet both bounced up and kept fighting into a brutal fifth round in which they struggled to lift their arms for punches or defense. At the final bell, the fighters stood side-by-side with their arms on the cage in …

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Warriors survive

Oakland, California — Klay Thompson made a driving finger roll with 15.6 seconds left in overtime and the short-handed Golden State Warriors stayed undefeated at home, holding off the Denver Nuggets 111-108 on Saturday night after Stephen Curry bruised his left leg again. Following the game, Denver forward Kenneth Faried was taken off the court on a stretcher with a neck brace stabilizing his head. Faried, injured late in the game, raised his arm for a thumbs-up to fans who stuck around. After being attended to by medical personnel, he left the court approximately 10 minutes after the game ended. Replays showed Faried took an elbow to the back of the neck. He scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds in nearly 29 minutes for the Nuggets, who lost their fifth straight game. Curry …

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Prince William: Fatherhood made me more emotional

Prince William has said that being a father has made him "more emotional" and more prone to welling up. The royal is the father of two children, 2-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, born in May. In a television interview, the 33-year-old said that becoming a parent has made him more aware of "how precious life is." William said that he "never used to get too wound up or worried about things," but now feels more affected by world events. "Now the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around the world or whatever a lot more, I think, as a father," he said. "Just because you realize how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective. The idea of …

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Israel indicts Jewish extremists in deadly arson attack

JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday indicted two Jewish extremists suspected in a July arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed a toddler and his parents — a case that has been unsolved for months and helped fuel the current wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The long-awaited indictment follows months of investigations into a web of Jewish extremists operating in the West Bank. The indictment named Amiram Ben-Uliel, a 21-year-old West Bank settler, as the main suspect in the attack. A minor was charged as an accessory. Yinon Reuveni, 20, and another minor were charged for other violence against Palestinians. All four were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. The arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, while his mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of …

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Turkish coast guard rescues 57 stranded on tiny island

ISTANBUL — The Turkish coast guard has rescued 57 people who were stranded on a tiny island in the Aegean Sea after attempting to reach Greece. The state-run Anadolu news agency says helicopters evacuated 12 people including three sick children from the islet near the Turkish coastal town of Dikili in Izmir province. Small fishing boats helped rescue the others, as coast guard vessels were unable to navigate the rocky area. There was no mention of fatalities or the nationalities of those rescued. More than a million people reached Europe in 2015 in the continent's largest influx of refugees since the end of World War II. Nearly 3,800 migrants didn't make it, losing their lives in the Mediterranean after their overcrowded boats sunk. The Greek islands were a major entry point.

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Death toll in Indian base attack rises to 7 troops, 4 gunmen

The number of troops killed in an attack on an Indian air force base has risen to seven, after four soldiers succumbed to injuries sustained in the hourslong gunbattle near the border with Pakistan and another died after being wounded in an explosion Sunday, January 3, officials said. Four suspected militants were also killed in the fighting. Air force spokeswoman Rochelle D'Silva said that combing operations to secure the Pathankot air force base were continuing late Sunday morning. Officials gave no other details about the situation at the base. Earlier in the day, at least one grenade blast was heard from inside the base, but officials declined to comment. D'Silva offered no details about the death of an elite commando Sunday morning, except to say that he was seriously wounded in an …

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