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      ELECTRICITY TARIFF, A NECESSITY BUT NOT AS SOME MAY THINK
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Dr. Talal A. Bakr, talalbakr@hotmail.com In an earlier article that I wrote, «The Electricity Crisis: Diagnose the Disease Before Prescribing the Medicine,» I said that the present electricity crisis was mainly due to financial factors and that the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) was suffering from a chronic >>>


      KANOO–CIMB SET TO BEGIN OPERATIONS IN JANUARY
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Faiz Al–Mazrouei, Arab News DAMMAM, 17 December 2006 — Yousuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo Holding and CIMB Group of Malaysia jointly established recently a company for Islamic investment which will offer Islamic banking products and services to institutional clients.

Licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain to handle >>>


      KINGDOM PLANS TWO MORE ECONOMIC CITIES
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — The Saudi government plans to establish two more economic cities in the north and east of the Kingdom as part of its efforts to achieve balanced development all over the country, according to Amr Al–Dabbagh, head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Autho >>>


      QASR AL–SHARQ JOINS HILTON’S LUXURIOUS COLLECTION
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — Hilton Hotels Corporation said yesterday that its luxurious property, Qasr Al–Sharq or «Palace of the Orient» — situated next to the Jeddah Hilton Hotel on the Corniche — will be the first in the region to join the Waldorf–Astoria Collection, th >>>


      HOLDING THE QUR’AN IN PRAYER
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Q. During Ramadan I used to hold a copy of the Qur’an with translation during the Taraweeh prayer. This helped me to understand and concentrate, as I do not read Arabic. However, someone objected to what I did, saying that it was not right. Could you please explain whether it was right for me to d >>>


      PAYING ZAKAH TO ONE’S RELATIVES AND SYEDS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Q. One of my sisters is a widow who has young children. We support them for all their needs. May I ask whether we could pay our zakah to them?

I also heard that zakah is not payable to those who are called Syed. May I ask whether this is correct even though they may be very deserving?
>>>


      THE PROPHET AS A MAN — 106: HOLDING A STAFF
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Adil Salahi, Arab News The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to hold a staff, stick, rod or cane at different times and occasions. Ibn Abbas reports: «Leaning on a staff or a stick is a habit of prophets. God’s messenger used to have a staff on which he leaned as he walked. He instructed others to do likewise.&raqu >>>


      TWO DIVERGENT WAYS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Commentary by Sayyid Qutb In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful God originates creation, and then brings it back; then to Him shall you all return.

When the Last Hour strikes, the guilty will be speechless with despair, for they will have no intercessors from among those their alleged partner >>>


      VICTIMS OF SMEAR CAMPAIGNS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Q. I am writing on behalf of my friend, a young British Muslim man. Last summer he was shot in his shoulder by British police on suspicion of making a dirty bomb. There were no charges pressed against him. After he held a press conference to declare his innocence the police accused him of various >>>


      ANTI–TERROR DRIVE IN SCHOOLS OF MAKKAH REGION
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — «Catch them young» is the goal of a major anti–terrorism campaign that targets schoolchildren in the Makkah region. A variety of programs, including lectures by experts, meeting with security officers and radio programs, will be held as part of t >>>


      BRITISH SCHOOL PLAY BRINGS TOGETHER ETHNIC GROUPINGS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Roger Harrison, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — In the best tradition of British school life, the end of year play staged by the British International School last week brought the students, staff and parents into the arena of grease–painted dedication to «getting it right on the night.» School dra >>>


      HAIL SILICON VALLEY TO CREATE 600 JOBS FOR WOMEN
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — Rakisa Holding, the lead developer of Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Musaed Economic City (PABMEC) in Hail, plans to launch a silicon valley project to create at least 600 jobs for women, according to Abdullah Al–Rakhis, chairman of the company. He said the project, >>>


      HAJ COSTS COVERED FOR FAMILIES OF SLAIN COPS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Arab News RIYADH, 17 December 2006 — Prince Muhammad ibn Naif, assistant interior minister for security affairs, ordered to host 42 members of the families of police officers that died in clashes with terrorist groups in the past three years. The Interior Ministry will sign a contract with the local Haj institutions to >>>


      HRW AIDE SUGGESTS WAYS TO END MAIDS’ SUFFERING
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Mohammed Rasooldeen, Arab News RIYADH, 17 December 2006 — A senior researcher from the US–based group Human Rights Watch (HRW), who wrapped up a three–week tour to the Kingdom on Friday, said that the domestic labor problems in the Kingdom could be greatly reduced if the manpower–exporting countries se >>>


      MADINAH MARKETS PACKED WITH PILGRIMS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Muhammad Abdullah, Arab News A South Asian pilgrim looks at a gift item at a shopping area in Madinah.

(AN photo by Yousuf Muhammad) MADINAH, 17 December 2006 — With many pilgrims now in Madinah, hotel occupancy has gone up to 100 percent. Markets are crowded and bustling with activity.

The arrival of >>>


      RENT–A–CAB RACKET PEAKS DURING HAJ SEASON
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — Haj season is peak season for cab drivers. Livery services are in such high demand in the region that is home to the two holy cities that fares easily double or triple around Haj time.

Al–Watan newspaper reported yesterday a new phenomenon of people, usually expatriate >>>


      SCHOLARSHIPS FOR PRIVATE COLLEGE STUDENTS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Hasan Hatrash, Arab News JEDDAH, 17 December 2006 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has approved the Higher Education Council’s resolution to provide scholarships to 15 Saudi–based private colleges.

Higher Education Minister Khaled Al–Anqari said in a statement released yesterday tha >>>


      ABBAS CALLS EARLY ELECTIONS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Hisham Abu Taha, Arab News Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a speech at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Saturday. (AP) GAZA CITY, 17 December 2006 — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday announced new presidential and parliamentary elections at the earliest possible date, in a >>>


      CONGRESSMAN SHOT DEAD IN FRONT OF CHURCH IN MANILA
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Julie Javellana–Santos, Arab News MANILA, 17 December 2006 — A lawmaker from the northern Philippines and his security escort were shot dead yesterday as he stepped out of a church in Manila’s suburb of Quezon City.

Police said Rep. Luis Bersamin Jr. of Abra province had just come out of the Mount Carmel >>>


      DELHI AND CAIRO MOVE CLOSER
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Nilofar Suhrawardy, Arab News NEW DELHI, 17 December 2006 — Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who arrived here on Friday evening, held talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee yesterday. During their meeting, Aboul Gheit handed over a written message addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from P >>>


      EGYPT BAHAIS LOSE BATTLE FOR RECOGNITION
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Jano Charbel, Arab News CAIRO, 17 December 2006 — An Egyptian court denied Bahais yesterday the right to state their religion on official documents and described them as pro–Israeli apostates. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled against the right of Hossam Ezzat Mussa and his wife, Rania Enayat, to state their >>>


      MANILA HAS NO HAND IN NUR MISUARI’S PLAN TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR, SAYS OFFICIAL
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Al Jacinto, Arab News ZAMBOANGA CITY, 17 December 2006 — The Philippine government has said it has no hand in the plan of detained Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebel leader Nur Misuari to run for governor in the southern province of Sulu next year.

A local court allowed Misuari to go to his hometown in >>>


      PAKISTAN RESTRICTS MOVEMENTS OF INDIAN DIPLOMATS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Azhar Masood, Arab News ISLAMABAD, 17 December 2006 — In tit–for–tat diplomacy, Pakistan imposed restrictions on the movements of Indian diplomats in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokeswoman said yesterday.

«We took this decision in response to the Indian government’s restriction on Pakistani dip >>>


      UAE’S FIRST–EVER HISTORIC POLLS START
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Shadiah Abdullah, Arab News An Emirati man waits as a woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Abu Dhabi during voting in the country’s first elections on Saturday. (AFP) ABU DHABI, 17 December 2006 — The first–ever elections to be held in the United Arab Emirates started yesterday as hundreds of voters cast >>>


      UAE TO CRACK DOWN ON RECRUITMENT AGENTS
      Arab News, 17-12-2006
     Mohammed Ashraf, Arab News THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India, 17 December 2006 — The United Arab Emirates is working on strict norms of recruitment to check middlemen exploiting jobseekers. «There is a big mafia active among the agents. So we have to ensure that middlemen do not exploit the migrating labor,» UAE Lab >>>


      BIOLOGISTS HUNT INVASIVE PYTHONS IN FLA.
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. –– "SNAKE!" Hearing this shout, Skip Snow slammed on the brakes. When the off–roader plowed to a halt, he and his partner, Lori Oberhofer, leaped out and took off running toward two snakes, actually _ a pair of 10–foot Burmese pythons lying on a levee, sun >>>


      CLIMBERS, COPTERS SEEK TRIO MISSING ON MOUNT HOOD
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     HOOD RIVER, Ore., Dec. 16 –– Expert mountaineers scoured the upper elevations of Mount Hood on Saturday as helicopters flew overhead in the search for three climbers missing for a week on the snow–covered, wind–blasted peak.

Taking advantage of a long–awaited break in the weather, >>>


      DEVICES CAN INTERFERE WITH PEACEFUL DEATH
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Rob SteinWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; A01 When Carol Lewis‘s father–in–law died, family members circled his hospital bed to pray, expecting to offer their final goodbyes peacefully. Then his body suddenly started to lurch.

"He jumped," said Lewis, a nurse >>>


      EX–PILOT CONFIRMS BOMBER LOSS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Bob JohnsonAssociated PressSunday, December 17, 2006; A18 MONTGOMERY, Ala. –– A bomber pilot from World War II says he was shot down while being escorted by Tuskegee Airmen, an account that supports a recent report by two historians that the famed black fighter group, contrary to legend, did lose at least >>>


      GINGRICH HINTS AT 2008 WHITE HOUSE RUN
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     WASHINGTON –– Newt Gingrich suggested on Sunday he might not run for president in 2008 if a rival has all but locked up the Republican nomination by next fall.

The former House speaker from Georgia said it would not be too late for him to enter the race after next Labor Day, if he believed no candid >>>


      IN IOWA, HUNTER TOUTS STRONG DEFENSE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAXTER, Iowa –– California Congressman Duncan Hunter, among the least–known Republican presidential candidates, touted border security and national defense during a visit to Iowa.

Hunter, outgoing chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spent Saturday morning pheasant hunting with some >>>


      JUDGE: MUSTANG RANCH BROTHEL KEEPS NAME
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     PM RENO, Nev. –– The infamous Mustang Ranch brothel has been cleared to operate under its famous name, 18 months after it reopened for business at a new location.

A federal judge ruled that the exclusive owner of the Mustang Ranch trademark is Lance Gilman, who bought the gaudy pink stucco buildings >>>


      L.A., LONG RULED BY CARS, IS NOW A TRANSIT LEADER
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By John PomfretWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; A03 LOS ANGELES –– Demeaned as a car–crazed megalopolis where people drive two blocks to valet–park at the dry cleaners, Los Angeles is on the road to fashioning one of the best public transit systems in the nation.

Lo >>>


      NATION IN BRIEF
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     Pacific Northwest Storm Wreaks Havoc, Kills 6 SEATTLE –– Residents of the Pacific Northwest struggled to stay warm Saturday after the worst windstorm in more than a decade knocked out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and led to the deaths of at least six people.

Nearly 700,000 cus >>>


      ON ‘MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL,‘ AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM OBAMA
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     For first–term Sen. Barack Obama (D–Ill.) to get the avalanche of media attention he did while addressing New Hampshire Democrats a week ago was impressive. To appear the following night on "Monday Night Football" was even more so.

Obama‘s hometown Chicago Bears were playing the St. >>>


      SCIENTISTS STUDY HUMAN OLFACTORY ABILITY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     NEW YORK –– By studying blindfolded college students who crawled through grass to sniff out a chocolate–scented trail, scientists say they‘ve found evidence of a human smelling ability that experts thought was impossible.

The study indicates the human brain compares information it gets f >>>


      SHOWDOWN LOOMS OVER DOMESTIC SPYING
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     SAN FRANCISCO –– Federal agents continue to eavesdrop on Americans‘ electronic communications without warrants a year after President Bush confirmed the practice, and experts say a new Congress‘ efforts to limit the program could trigger a constitutional showdown.

High–ranking Demo >>>


      SPACEWALKERS FOCUS ON REWIRING
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     CAPE CANAVERAL, Dec. 16 –– Two astronauts floated outside the international space station Saturday aiming to finish rewiring the orbiting outpost and folding a stubborn solar array so that a fourth, unplanned spacewalk would not be needed.

U.S. astronauts Robert L. Curbeam, who took two previous spa >>>


      SPACEWALKERS PREPARE FOR SOLAR PANEL FIX
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Spacewalkers aboard the International Space Station prepared on Sunday for an unplanned, fourth outing to fix a stuck solar array, while other crew members finish transferring cargo brought up by the shuttle Discovery.

Mission controllers said they were "very confident" t >>>


      STAR TRIB PLAGIARISM PROBE CLEARS WRITER
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MINNEAPOLIS –– A Star Tribune editorial page writer who wrote two pieces containing similarities to two commentaries in The New Yorker magazine will return to work after a newspaper review did not find further problems in his work.

Steve Berg, who was not writing for the paper during the review, wil >>>


      TEAMS HEAD FOR PEAK IN CLIMBERS‘ SEARCH
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     AM HOOD RIVER, Ore. –– Search teams headed for the summit of Mount Hood on Sunday, hoping to find the snow cave where one of three missing climbers made a distress call a week ago.

Searchers got close to the 11,23'–foot summit Saturday, reaching 10,600 feet before nightfall and worsening c >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     AM –– Forecasters predicted unusually warm temperatures in the eastern U.S. on Sunday, and snow was expected in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures were expected in the East, with temperatures in the upper 50s in southern New England. Highs exceeding 60 d >>>


      THE TALK SHOWS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     Guests to be interviewed today on major television talk shows: FOX NEWS SUNDAY (WTTG), ' a.m.: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D–Mass.); Frederi ck W. Smith, president of FedEx Corp., and Morrill Worcester, president of Worcester Wreath Co.; and retired Marine Corps commandant Gen. P.X.

Kelley. THIS WEEK (ABC >>>


      TO THOSE WHO SURF: TIME SALUTES YOU
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     NEW YORK –– Congratulations! You are the Time magazine "Person of the Year." The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals –– citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were >>>


      TREES, MENORAHS LIGHT UP HAWAII AIRPORTS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     HONOLULU –– Despite a dustup in Seattle over whether Christmas trees and menorahs have a place in that city‘s airport, both were put up this season at airports throughout the Hawaiian islands without controversy.

"In light of everything that‘s going on, we thought it was a good idea >>>


      TWO EPISCOPAL CONGREGATIONS VOTE TO SPLIT FROM U.S. CHURCH
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     December 17, 2006; 1:38 PM Two large and historic Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia have voted overwhelmingly to break away from the U.S. church and to seek to keep their property, setting up a conflict with their diocese that will be watched closely by other dissident Episcopalians around the country.
>>>


      VETERAN SPACEWALKER POISED TO SET RECORD
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     HOUSTON –– Astronaut Robert Curbeam is poised to set a new record next week when he is scheduled to embark on his fourth spacewalk of the space shuttle Discovery mission, this one to work on a stalled solar panel.

That would be the highest number of forays into space conducted by a crew member on a >>>


      AMERICA, MIA IN THE GULF
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MANAMA, Bahrain –– No single force or nation can long dominate the fragmenting politics and societies of the Persian Gulf region or the broader Middle East. The Bush administration and the new Democratic majority in Congress must now convert that bittersweet reality into policies that can protect U.S. intere >>>


      BANGLADESHI DETAINEE FLOWN HOME FROM GUANTANAMO
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     DHAKA (Reuters) – U.S. authorities repatriated a Bangladeshi on Sunday after he had been detained at Guantanamo Bay prison for several years, police said.

A U.S. Air Force plane flew the man to Dhaka‘s Zia International Airport direct from Guantanamo Bay prison, a senior immigration official at the >>>


      BRIEF TROOP SURGE OK IN IRAQ, REID SAYS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     WASHINGTON –– Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he would support a temporary troop increase in Iraq only if it were part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by early 2008.

"If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we‘ >>>


      FCC TO VOTE ON CABLE COMPETITION MEASURE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     WASHINGTON –– Cable television rates keep going up while prices for other communications services are going down, says the nation‘s chief communications regulator, and he blames local governments for blocking competition.

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote >>>


      FUNDING THREATENED BY HILL‘S INACTION
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Jonathan Weisman and Lori MontgomeryWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 17, 2006; A01 The Republican–controlled Congress‘s decision to adjourn a week ago before completing many of the spending bills that finance the federal government will reverberate in ways large and small, from understaffed U >>>


      GOP CONTENDERS ON A TIGHTROPE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     During the 1'56 presidential campaign, comedian Mort Sahl said: "Eisenhower stands for ‘gradualism.‘ Stevenson stands for ‘moderation.‘ Between these two extremes, we the people must choose!" Half a century later, war abroad and cultural flux at home make for more dramatic choices. >>>


      INDIANA SENATOR SAYS WON‘T MAKE WHITE HOUSE BID
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said on Saturday he would not seek the U.S. presidency in 2008 because prospects of victory were too slim.

"Whether there are too many Goliaths or whether I‘m just not the right David, the fact remains that at the end of the day, due >>>


      MISUNDERSTANDING AFGHANISTAN
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     There is a note of panic in American views of Afghanistan today. "All the indicators for Afghanistan have headed south," the Los Angeles Times editorialized.

Outside Kabul, "much of the rest of Afghanistan appears to be failing again," Newsweek reported. Sen. John Kerry warned: We are " >>>


      OBAMA SAYS HE REGRETS LAND DEAL WITH FUNDRAISER
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Peter SlevinWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; A06 CHICAGO. Dec. 16 –– Antoin "Tony" Rezko is a political insider, an energetic Chicago dealmaker and campaign fundraiser often in the headlines for being on the wrong side of good government. Indicted in October on influence&nd >>>


      PELOSI‘S HOUSE DIPLOMACY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     One day last week, Speaker–to–be Nancy Pelosi picked up the phone and asked John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader of the House, if he would like to suggest some ways they could ensure better supervision of the page program, the subject of so much controversy in the scandal that led to the resignation o >>>


      REID BACKS TEMPORARY INCREASE IN U.S. TROOPS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he would support a short–term increase in U.S.

troop numbers in Iraq being weighed by President George W. Bush if it is part of a broader withdrawal plan.

Bush has been talking with experts about a new Iraq strategy a >>>


      REID: AILING SENATOR SHOWS SOME PROGRESS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     WASHINGTON –– Sen. Tim Johnson has shown significant improvement after brain surgery and doctors say "everything is going to be just fine," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Sunday.

Yet when asked whether the 5'–year–old South Dakota Democrat was conscious, Reid said >>>


      REUTERS POLITICS SUMMARY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     Indiana senator says won‘t make White House bid INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said on Saturday he would not seek the U.S. presidency in 2008 because prospects of victory were too slim. "Whether there are too many Goliaths or whether I‘m just not the right David, the >>>


      STUBBORN OR STALWART, BUSH IS LOATH TO BUDGE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     In the late 1'th century, the queen of England sent the president of the United States a desk made from the timbers of a decommissioned ship, the HMS Resolute. Almost every occupant of the White House since then has made the Resolute his desk. Perhaps more than most, President Bush has taken its name to heart.
< >>>


      TALK OF SATELLITE DEFENSE RAISES FEARS OF SPACE WAR
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Marc KaufmanWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; A12 For a U.S. military increasingly dependent on sophisticated satellites for communicating, gathering intelligence and guiding missiles, the possibility that those space–based systems could come under attack has become a growing worry –& >>>


      THE PRESIDENT IN THE ROOM
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Lynne DukeWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; D01 NEW YORK He stood far behind, hiding in plain sight, though his glowing white hair and ruddy complexion rendered him as inconspicuous as a face on Mount Rushmore.

The spotlight was not Bill Clinton‘s. It belonged, instead, to Sen. Hil >>>


      THE RISKS OF TOO MUCH CITY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     The coming year marks a great milestone in the human saga, a development similar in magnitude to the agricultural era and the Industrial Revolution.

For the first time in history, a majority of human beings will be living in vast urban areas, many in megacities and suburban extensions with populations of 10 mil >>>


      U.S. ENVOY CRITICIZES BANGLADESH‘S INTERIM GOVT
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladesh‘s interim government has failed to act neutrally ahead of January elections, the U.S.

ambassador said on Sunday, echoing criticism of a multi–party alliance that has demanded electoral reforms.

The caretaker government headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed to >>>


      U.S. SAYS N.KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS AT FORK IN THE ROAD
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     AM BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States and Japan said there must be real progress when talks on scrapping North Korea‘s nuclear arms resume this week, warning Pyongyang that only sanctions and isolation lie down the other "fork in the road." Analysts and officials hold out little hope of a major >>>


      21 DIE IN FIRE AT PAKISTAN WEDDING PARTY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MULTAN, Pakistan –– A fire erupted in a wedding tent in eastern Pakistan, triggering a stampede and the collapse of a wall that killed the bride and 20 other women and children, police said Sunday.

More than 30 other people in the wedding party were injured late Saturday night in Jhok Utra, a villag >>>


      A CALL TO HUSSEIN–ERA SOLDIERS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Nancy Trejos and K.I. IbrahimWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 17, 2006; A33 BAGHDAD, Dec. 16 –– Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al–Maliki called on members of former President Saddam Hussein‘s disbanded army to join Iraq‘s new security forces in an effort to restore peace to the >>>


      ABBAS FORCES OVERRUN PART OF GAZA AFTER POLLS CALL
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     GAZA (Reuters) – Forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas overran a Hamas ministry and sealed off the area around his compound on Sunday as the threat of violence hung over Gaza following the president‘s call for new elections.

Members of Abbas‘s elite presidential guard, a near 4,000–str >>>


      AHMADINEJAD‘S ALLIES STRUGGLE IN IRAN ELECTIONS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     TEHRAN (Reuters) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s allies failed to dominate elections for a powerful Iranian clerical body and local councils, early results showed on Sunday, in what analysts said was a setback to the president‘s standing.

Friday‘s twin elections for the clerical Assembly of Expe >>>


      BLAIR MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO IRAQ
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     7:46 AM BAGHDAD, Dec. 17 –– British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Baghdad Sunday on an unannounced visit and said his country‘s troops will remain in Iraq "until the job is done." "British troops will remain until the job is done and that job is building up the Iraqi capability,&q >>>


      BONE FRAGMENT LIKELY NOT JOAN OF ARC
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     PM CHINON, France –– A rib bone and a piece of cloth supposedly recovered after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake are probably not hers, according to experts trying to unravel one of the mysteries surrounding the 15th century French heroine.

Eighteen experts began a series of tests six months ago >>>


      BRITISH PM MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO IRAQ
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD, Iraq –– British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Baghdad Sunday on an unannounced visit to meet political leaders and show support for fragile attempts to stem the country‘s seemingly unstoppable bloodshed.

Blair, who is traveling the Middle East to push for Israeli–Palestin >>>


      BUSH RENEWS EFFORT TO CUT MALARIA DEATHS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By David BrownWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 17, 2006; A30 For an administration trying to solve problems such as the war in Iraq, illegal immigration and the potential meltdown of Social Security, cutting worldwide malaria deaths in half looks like low–hanging fruit –– and President Bush >>>


      CONGRESSMAN: CUBA COMMENTS ON CASTRO
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     PM HAVANA –– Cuban officials told a group of visiting U.S. lawmakers that Fidel Castro does not have cancer or a terminal illness, the head of the delegation said Sunday.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, said Cuban officials did not provide further details on the 80–year–old >>>


      DOUBTS ABOUT IRAQI LEADER‘S CAPABILITIES PERSIST
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     By Michael Abramowitz and Robin WrightWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 17, 2006; A32 Even as the White House contemplates a faster turnover of responsibilities to the Iraqi government, severe doubts remain within and outside the Bush administration over whether Prime Minister Nouri al–Maliki can execu >>>


      DOZENS KIDNAPPED AT BAGHDAD RED CRESCENT OFFICE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Gunmen in police uniforms kidnapped dozens of people at a Baghdad branch of the Red Crescent on Sunday, the same day as British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in the capital to meet Iraq‘s embattled leaders.

A Red Crescent official and witnesses said the gunmen stormed the off >>>


      FACTIONAL VIOLENCE IN GAZA ESCALATES
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     GAZA CITY, Dec. 17–– Fighting between the ruling Hamas movement and its Fatah rivals escalated Sunday, with an attack launched on the foreign minister‘s convoy followed by shots fired at the Palestinian president‘s Gaza residence in apparent retaliation, witnesses said.

Neither President >>>


      FRANCE TO PULL TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     PARIS –– France is to withdraw its 200–strong special forces from Afghanistan, all of its ground troops engaged in the U.S anti–terror operation there, authorities announced Sunday.

The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban m >>>


      GUNMEN STAGE MASS KIDNAPPING IN BAGHDAD
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD, Iraq –– Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms staged a mass kidnapping on Sunday at the office of the Iraqi Red Crescent in downtown Baghdad, police said.

An official of the Iraqi aid group said the assailants abducted 20 to 30 employees and visitors, but left women behind. The official spoke on co >>>


      HAMAS WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN ELECTIONS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –– Hamas will not participate in early elections, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Sunday, in a harsh verbal attack on President Mahmoud Abbas.

Haniyeh denounced Abbas‘ speech, in which he called for a new vote, "inflammatory." "We co >>>


      IN HIS BATTLE WITH PESTS, THE FUN IS IN THE ARSENAL
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     A28 TORONTO Dan Frankian peered over a city fence and saw his target. There, plump and oblivious, were the intruders. The freeloaders had simply moved in from the country, gorged themselves on the abundance of the city and left a nasty trail wherever they went. They were Canada geese.

Frankian mulled over the t >>>


      IRAQ‘S AL–MALIKI REACHES OUT TO SUNNIS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD, Iraq –– Iraq‘s prime minister reached out to Sunni Arabs at a national reconciliation conference on Saturday, urging Saddam Hussein–era officers to join the new army and a review of the ban against members of the former dictator‘s ruling party.

But key players on both ends >>>


      JIMMY CARTER‘S MIDEAST BOOK POLARIZES OPINION
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     ATLANTA (Reuters) – A new book by Jimmy Carter in which he compares Israel‘s treatment of Palestinians to South Africa‘s Apartheid system has sparked a bitter debate over the former U.S. president‘s reputation as a peacemaker.

Jewish groups have expressed outrage at the book "Palest >>>


      KILLER ELEPHANT NAMED AFTER OSAMA SLAIN
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     GAUHATI, India –– A killer elephant named after Osama bin Laden by fearful villagers was killed by sharpshooters, officials said Sunday. The animal was blamed for 14 deaths in the northeastern state of Assam.

"A licensed shooter shot and killed the 10–foot tall bull near the Behali forest >>>


      LIBYA COURT TO DELIVER NURSES‘ HIV CASE VERDICT
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor could face the firing squad if a Libyan court convicts them on Tuesday on charges of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV.

Concluding a retrial regarded by the outside world as a test of justice in Libya, the court w >>>


      LULA VOTED BRAZIL‘S BEST EVER PRESIDENT: SURVEY
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, elected to a second four–year term in October, was voted the country‘s best–ever president, a survey released on Sunday showed.

The survey by Datafolha polling firm showed Lula leading by a wide margin former Br >>>


      MEXICAN FEDERAL FORCES EXIT OAXACA PLAZA
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     OAXACA, Mexico –– Hundreds of federal police officers packed up their tents Saturday and marched out of this troubled Mexican city‘s central square, ending their seven–week occupation to put down a lengthy protest by leftists that had left nine people dead.

More than 4,000 federal police >>>


      N. KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS WILL RECONVENE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BEIJING –– For the first time since it exploded a nuclear bomb, North Korea returns to international disarmament talks. The United States says the choice is simple _ negotiate or face sanctions.

The six–nation talks, which reopen Monday in the Chinese capital, have been plagued by delays and d >>>


      NORTH KOREA TURNS TABLES IN JAPAN ABDUCTION DISPUTE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     TOKYO (Reuters) – Turning the tables on Tokyo, North Korea has called on Japan to investigate the case of one of its nationals who went missing in 1''1 while working in Russia, saying it presumed Japan had abducted him.

The demand was reported in Pyongyang‘s official media ahead of Monday&ls >>>


      OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS DETAINED AHEAD OF PROTEST IN MOSCOW
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MOSCOW, Dec. 16 –– Russian authorities pulled hundreds of opposition activists off buses and trains and detained them along with scores of others on Saturday ahead of a rare anti–government rally in Moscow, organizers said.

The police action did not prevent more than 2,000 people from gatherin >>>


      RECLUSIVE GOVERNOR WINS NIGERIA RULING PARTY TICKET
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria‘s ruling party on Sunday chose a reclusive Muslim state governor, Umaru Yar‘Adua, to be its candidate to succeed Olusegun Obasanjo as president of Africa‘s most populous nation in elections next year.

Yar‘Adua, the 55–year–old governor of Katsi >>>


      ROADSIDE BOMB KILLS 3 GIS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD, Iraq –– A roadside bomb killed three American soldiers and injured a fourth serviceman north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Sunday.

The soldiers were conducting a patrol to clear a route so that another unit could move through the area on Saturday, the military said in a statement.
>>>


      ROADSIDE BOMB KILLS 3 U.S. SOLDIERS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded one north of Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said on Sunday in a statement. "The combat patrol was conducting a route clearance mission in order to free the roads of any possible dangers so that a follow–on unit could move >>>


      SADNESS, GRATITUDE IN BHUTAN AS KING QUITS THRONE
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – The people of the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan greeted the announcement of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck‘s earlier–than–expected abdication on Sunday with sadness and gratitude for his long rule.

Wangchuck, 50, who has ruled over the remote Buddhist kingdom >>>


      SOMALIA ISLAMISTS DISCUSS DEFECTIONS
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MOGADISHU, Somalia –– Nearly 200 troops serving Somalia‘s weak Western–backed government defected to the Islamic courts movement, an Islamic official said Sunday, as both sides braced for impending war.

Sheik Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal, head of the Islamic court in the Al–Bayan region, >>>


      SUBVERSIVE PALESTINIAN CARTOONS REFLECT NEW POLITICAL INTROSPECTION
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     A27 JERUSALEM The readers of al–Quds, the leading Palestinian newspaper, opened the opinion pages this month to a jarring sight. In the editorial cartoon, once the daily forum for a sharp jab at the Israeli occupation, appeared two bushy–bearded Hamas officials clutching suitcases full of cash.

Smug >>>


      U.K. POLICE SEE PROGRESS IN MURDER CASES
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     PM LONDON –– Police investigating the murders of five prostitutes in a town in eastern England said Saturday they have no formal suspects but are focusing on 50 to 100 people they want to question.

Police also released closed–circuit television footage from the train where one victim, 24&ndash >>>


      U.S. TO TRIPLE NUMBER OF MILITARY TRAINERS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military plans to speed up the training of Iraq‘s army by tripling its number of embedded trainers to about ',000, while keeping a close eye on units‘ sectarian loyalties, a U.S. general said on Sunday.

Brigadier General Dana Pittard, whose Iraqi Assistance Gro >>>


      WEDDING FIRE, STAMPEDE KILLS OVER 20 IN PAKISTAN
      Washington Post, 17-12-2006
     MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – A fire at a wedding party triggered a stampede and collapse of a wall in central Pakistan, killing more than 20 people, including the bride, police said on Sunday.

The marriage party was underway in a tent near the city of Dera Ghazi Khan on Saturday night when it caught fire. >>>



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