Newtown turns to clergy — The grief will not end. Yet the healing must begin. So as the shock of Newtown’s horrific school shooting starts to wear off, as the headlines fade and the therapists leave, residents are seeking a way forward through faith, community and a determination to seize their future. At religious services Sunday, church leaders received standing ovations from parishioners they have been helping to cope with the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.
NRA stands firm for guns — Leaders of the National Rifle Association said Sunday that they would fight any gun restrictions introduced in Congress and were not interested in working with President Barack Obama to help develop a broad response to the Connecticut school massacre. The NRA’s escalating opposition to new gun laws signaled a tough fight in Congress for any effort by the Obama administration to impose restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, among other measures. David Keene, the president of the NRA, said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation" that reinstituting a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons “doesn’t solve the problem."
Syrian airstrike — A government airstrike Sunday on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country’s civil war. The strike on the town of Halfaya left scattered bodies and debris up and down a street, and more than a dozen dead and wounded were trapped in tangled heap of dirt and rubble.
Protests in India turn violent — Protests over a recent gang rape quickly gained force over the weekend, tapping into longstanding fury against entrenched corruption and lopsided justice, and leading to clashes with the police. Seven days of demonstrations peaked Sunday, as thousands of people joined women’s and students’ groups despite a hastily enacted ban on protesting in New Delhi. The crowds taunted the police and attacked the car of a member of Parliament. The police, in turn, fired tear gas and water cannons, beat protesters with bamboo sticks and arrested dozens.
Italy’s Monti won’t run — After weeks of speculation, Italy’s caretaker prime minister, Mario Monti, said Sunday that he would not run as a candidate in national elections that are expected in February, but was open to leading the government if parties that endorsed his pro-Europe, pro-reform agenda asked. Monti resigned as prime minister on Friday and will remain caretaker prime minister until after elections. At a much-anticipated news conference in which he strove to avoid being swept into Italian party politics, he said that he would give political forces “appreciation, encouragement and, if asked, my guidance."
North Korean launch called missile test — South Korean technicians scrutinizing the debris of the North Korean rocket launched this month have found evidence suggesting the rocket’s military purposes, South Korean officials said Sunday. North Korea insists that its Unha-3 rocket, launched Dec. 12 to put an Earth-observation satellite in orbit, was part of its peaceful space program. But intelligence officials and rocket scientists affiliated with the South Korean Defense Ministry said Sunday that North Korea was testing a ballistic missile that could fly more than 6,200 miles, putting the West Coast of the United States in range.
Taliban alter tone — Taliban representatives at a conference did not insist on total power in Afghanistan and pledged to grant rights to women that the militant Islamist group itself brutally suppressed in the past, according to a Taliban statement received Sunday. The pledges emerged from a rare meeting last week involving Taliban and Kabul government representatives. The less strident substance and tone came in a speech delivered at a conference in France. The French hosts described it as a discussion among Afghans rather than peace negotiations.
U.N. warns South Sudan — The United Nations said Sunday that the shooting down of one of its helicopters in South Sudan last week was just the latest in a series of attacks or threats against its peacekeeping mission by South Sudan’s military. A spokesman for the United Nations in New York said the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan had “shared all flight information" with South Sudanese authorities on Friday before the helicopter was shot down over the region of Jonglei, where the South Sudanese military is fighting an armed rebellion. All four Russian crew members on board were killed.
Iran claims way around sanctions — Iran’s oil minister claims his country has successfully circumvented sanctions on the sale of its oil. State TV on Sunday broadcast comments by Rostam Ghasemi that the industry was in “bad shape" about two months ago due to the oil embargo by the West, “but we left the bottleneck behind, almost." Ghasemi also said that Iran has set up its own insurance for ships that carry its oil after Western companies refused to cover them.
— From wire reports