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Associated Press

Volcanic eruption in Tonga creates new island

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A volcanic eruption in Tonga has created a new island - although one scientist said Wednesday it could soon disappear.

The volcano has been erupting for a month in the ocean about 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the capital, Nuku'alofa. Last week it disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

New Zealand volcanologist Nico Fournier said he traveled by boat to within about a mile of the new island on Saturday to take a closer look.



Pope's statement on climate change: 5 things to know

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pope Francis, who pledged on the day of his installation as pontiff to make the environment a priority, is drafting a highly anticipated encyclical on ecology and climate change.

Environmentalists are thrilled by the prospect of a rock-star pope putting his moral weight behind efforts to curb global warming. Francis said last week he wanted the document to be released in time to be read before the next round of U.N. climate treaty talks in Paris at the end of the year.



Study: Sea level rise accelerating more than once thought

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The world's oceans are now rising far faster than they did in the past, a new study says.

The study found that for much of the 20th century - until about 1990 - sea level was about 30 percent less than earlier research had figured. But that's not good news, scientists say, because about 25 years ago the seas started rising faster and the acceleration in 1990 turns out to be more dramatic than previously calculated.



The Ducks fall in what may be Mariota's last game

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Marcus Mariota's season ended without the honor that mattered to him most. Now Oregon waits to see if he will be back for another try.

Going into Monday night's game against Ohio State, the standout junior quarterback said he would trade the Heisman Trophy he won this season for a national championship because the team honor was more important to him.

Instead, the Buckeyes bottled up Mariota and overpowered the Ducks for a 42-20 victory in the first College Football Playoff championship.



Major study of bereaved military families underway

(AP) — With his wife and child close at hand, Army Maj. Chad Wriglesworth battled skin cancer for more than a year before dying at age 37.

"It was long and painful and awful," said Aimee Wriglesworth, who believes the cancer resulted from exposure to toxic fumes in Iraq. Yet the 28-year-old widow from Bristow, Virginia, seized a chance to recount the ordeal and its aftermath to a researcher, hoping that input from her and her 6-year-old daughter might be useful to other grieving military families.



First baby of 2015? It's a secret in many places

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Bye, bye Baby New Year. The crowning of the year's first baby is being kept secret in many communities as hospitals say safety concerns trump tradition.

Community Health Systems - one of the country's largest health care operators - recently ordered its 207 facilities to stop publicizing the first baby of the year, citing the potential for abductions and identity theft. Other U.S. hospitals have either removed themselves from the new year's tradition altogether or limited the amount of information provided to the media.



2015 BEGINS: SHANGHAI TRAGEDY, FIREWORKS ELSEWHERE

(AP) — Revelers crowded New York's Times Square and converged on the beaches of Brazil and skyscrapers of Dubai to say good riddance to a turbulent 2014 marred by terror woes, Ebola outbreaks and a horrific series of airline disasters.
 
But tragedy struck in Shanghai, Baghdad was on edge and protesters in the United States delivered a sobering reminder of one of the year's biggest stories.
 
A look around the world:
 
STAMPEDE IN SHANGHAI
 



In with the new: Snappy apps for 2015

NEW YORK (AP) -- Uber, Facebook, Instagram - sure, they've been all the rage, but with 2014 gone we're all ready for something fresh. From ride-hailing to photo sharing, here are a few up-and coming apps and startups to watch in in 2015. Which will be the breakout hit of the new year?

TELL A STORY



BEACH PARTIES, FIREWORKS: WORLD RINGS IN NEW YEAR AFTER TURBULENT YEAR

(AP) — After a turbulent year marred by terror woes, Ebola outbreaks and a horrific series of airline disasters, many could be forgiven for saying good riddance to 2014 and gratefully ringing in a new year.
 
Across the globe, revelers looking for a respite from the gloom converged on the beaches of Brazil, the shores of Sydney harbor and New York's Times Square to welcome 2015. A look at how the world is celebrating:



For Obama, reunion with pals a link to simpler times

HONOLULU (AP) - Since returning to his childhood home this month on vacation, President Barack Obama has spent a good part of most days cloistered with three people whose company puts him at ease. They're not his wife and daughters, who came with him, but a trio of pals whose friendship dates back to Obama's high school days in Hawaii.



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