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Microsoft will acquire Stockholm-based game maker Mojang, the maker of the popular game Minecraft for $2.5 billion, the company announced Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. (AP Photo Ted S. Warren, File)

Microsoft to buy ‘Minecraft’ maker for $2.5B

Associated Press

Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones.

Analysts say the latest round of sanctions announced tightens the noose around Russia's energy sector, making it particularly hard to invest in long-term projects to tap into new sources of oil and gas. Such sanctions might tempt Moscow to halt the flow of gas and oil, particularly the large share of gas exported through the Gazprom pipeline that crosses through Ukraine. (Associated Press)

Russia sanctions risk lasting damage to Europe’s shaky economy

- The Washington Times

The tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the West that heated up last week are only adding to fears that Europe’s economy will fall back into recession or experience “lost decades” comparable to the downturn in Japan that left the Asian giant’s economy drifting, deflated and diminished in global influence.

Despite popular support for a visa regime with former Soviet republics, Russian President Vladimir Putin has opposed such a move, saying "A visa regime would mean that we are pushing former Soviet republics away, but we need to bring them closer." (Associated Press)

Immigration surge brings economic benefits, tension to Russia

When President Obama said in a recent interview that “immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity,” it was obvious he hadn’t spent much time on the streets of the Russian capital.

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In this image provided by Shaho Pirani shows  Shaho Pirani posing with an automantic weapon near the village of Koya in Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2014. The Iranian Kurd living in Denmark, was on a month-long training camp for the Kurdish diaspora organized by Iranian branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. He joined Kurds from Norway, Switzerland and Britain for a crash-course on politics followed by weapons training. Shaho Pirani says he's just a phone call away from leaving his quiet life in Denmark and joining Kurdish forces battling against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The 30-year-old Kurd, who fled from Iran with his older brother in 1991, says he feels a moral duty to help the Peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to fight the "psychopaths" of the IS group. (AP Photo/Shaho Pirani)

Kurds in Europe take up arms against IS group

- Associated Press

Shaho Pirani says he's just a phone call away from leaving his quiet life in Denmark and joining Kurdish forces battling against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Judge in Pistorius trial faces criticism

- Associated Press

Several legal groups in South Africa have expressed concern about threats and harsh criticism of the judge who found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, but not guilty of the more serious charge of murder.

ND energy workers contain oil, water spill

Associated Press

The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division says workers have contained 500 barrels of water and three barrels of oil after a spill in the state's northwest corner.

A jet aerial tanker drops its load of fire retardant on a fire near Pollack Pines, Calif., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The fire, which started Sunday has consumed more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Racing wildfire engulfs homes in California town

- Associated Press

Dan Linville and his son were sitting in their living room when they smelled smoke. When they looked outside, they saw a black cloud coming over the hills.

A car is partially submerged in an inundated neighborhood of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Flooding from days of heavy monsoon rains partially submerged Srinagar and left more than 400 people dead in northern Pakistan and India. The flood waters have begun to recede, but vast fields of crops have been destroyed and tens of thousands of families have lost all their possessions. (AP Photo/ Altaf Qadri)

Stagnant floodwater raising health risk in Kashmir

- Associated Press

Health workers were scrambling Tuesday to manage a mounting health crisis nearly two weeks after massive flooding engulfed much of Kashmir, and were treating cases of diarrhea, skin allergies and fungus while hoping the stagnant waters do not create conditions for more serious disease outbreaks.

Prescription painkiller deaths up, but not as fast

- Associated Press

Overdose deaths from powerful painkillers are still rising in the U.S., but not like they used to - probably because of new restrictions on methadone, according to government scientists.

Indiana gets $1.5 million for unemployment aid

Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Labor is giving the state of Indiana $1.5 million as part of an effort to improve unemployment insurance programs around the nation.

Compromise made in tax hike for Pascagoula

Associated Press

The Pascagoula City Council and Pascagoula School District have reached a compromise on a property tax hike and the city approved its $62 million budget for 2015 -- just three hours before the midnight deadline.

News briefs from around Kentucky at 1:58 a.m. EDT

Associated Press

A former assistant director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife was fined and reprimanded Monday for mistreating women as the Executive Branch Ethics Commission wrapped up a two-year investigation of the agency.

Concerns raised over 'Obamacare' abortion coverage

- Associated Press

A nonpartisan congressional agency is raising new questions about compliance with a key compromise on abortion that allowed the federal health care law to pass in 2010.

$1.1 million adds to sex-abuse case settlement

Associated Press

A school district's insurance carrier has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a lawsuit by a Detroit-area couple who were charged in a sex-abuse case involving their autistic daughter before prosecutors dropped it in 2008.