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Panda keeper Nicole MacCorkle introduced giant panda cub Bao Bao to the public Saturday at the National Zoo in Washington.
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Bao Bao makes her debut at zoo

Bao Bao the panda cub is ready for her public.

The National Zoo in Washington has extended its hours this weekend for the giant panda house as Bao Bao makes her public debut. Saturday was the first chance for the public to see the 5-month-old cub.

The zoo says the panda house will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Monday. Visitors are allowed into the building in small groups to avoid overcrowding.

Obama foresees jobs returning

President Barack Obama says he believes 2014 can be a breakthrough year for the country.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says the U.S. is primed to bring back jobs lost in the recession or to overseas competitors. But he says to make that happen, the U.S. must act to create good-paying jobs and increase economic opportunity.

In the Republican address, Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman says Democrats have focused on “making it easier to live without a job.

“Republicans hope the president is serious about making 2014 a ‘year of action.’ It should start by giving each of these jobs bills an up-or-down vote in the Senate,” Stutzman added.

Syrian group votes to go to conference

The main, Western-backed Syrian opposition group voted Saturday in favor of attending a coming peace conference aimed at ending the country’s bloody civil war, paving the way for the first direct talks between the rival sides in the nearly three-year conflict.

The vote in Istanbul came as food supplies began entering a besieged rebel-held Palestinian refugee camp in Syria’s capital for the first time in months, an apparent goodwill gesture by President Bashar Assad’s government, officials said.

Most Egyptians support referendum

Almost everyone who cast ballots supported Egypt’s new constitution in this week’s referendum, results announced Saturday show, but a boycott by Islamists and low youth turnout suggest the country is still dangerously divided.

Nearly 20 million voters backed the new constitution, almost double the number of those who voted for one drafted in 2012 under the government of toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Only a narrow sliver of voters – 1.9 percent – voted against the charter.

21 civilians killed in attack in Kabul

A Taliban attack against a popular Kabul restaurant killed 21 people, authorities said Saturday, making it the deadliest single attack against foreign civilians in the course of a nearly 13-year U.S.-led war there now approaching its end.

The attack comes as security has been deteriorating and apprehension has been growing among Afghans over their country’s future as U.S.-led foreign forces prepare for a final withdrawal at the end of the year.

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