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      DUBAI DEVELOPER BUYS INTO AUSTRALIA’S MIRVAC
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Arab News DUBAI, 23 December 2007 — Government–owned Nakheel, developer of palm–frond shaped islands off Dubai’s coast, said on Friday it agreed to buy 6.51 percent of Australian real estate company Mirvac Group Ltd as part of plans to expand abroad.

Nakheel did not say how much it paid for the stak >>>


      A PILGRIM’S THOUGHTS — 2: CHANGING SCENES AND FACILITIES
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Having had a little rest in our hotel after arriving in Makkah, we proceed to do the Umrah, as we are following the tamattu’ method of pilgrimage, which is the one preferred and recommended by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It involves doing the Umrah on arrival in Makkah, releasing yourself fro >>>


      A PILGRIM’S THOUGHTS — 3: PERFORMING ALL RITUALS OF HAJ WITH EASE AND DEDICATION
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Those days that followed our arrival in Makkah were extremely pleasant. Like the time of my first pilgrimage 40 years ago, we feel in a totally different world. It is a pleasant world where all people have a definite preoccupation, aiming to make the best use of their time. We go to the Haram, or >>>


      A PILGRIM’S THOUGHTS: WHERE TO START THE IHRAAM?
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Long it has been since I offered the pilgrimage. I come from a far away country and things back home have not been well generally. My only previous pilgrimage was a great experience that gave me much spiritual fulfilment on which I could draw even many years later. Since then I have always yearned >>>


      PILGRIMAGE WHEN ONE IS TOO WEAK
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Q. A woman is eager to do the pilgrimage but she is too weak to undertake the journey. She has pain in her legs and feet, and she is overweight.

She finds walking very tiring. Can she send someone to do the pilgrimage on her behalf, considering that she has not yet performed her duty pilg >>>


      THE PROPHET AS A MAN: SPEAKING OF HIS BROTHERS
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) went one day to the graveyard. «As he arrived there, he said: ‘Peace be to you, in this dwelling place of believers. We will join you as God wills. I wish I could see my brothers.’ People who were with him said: ‘Messenger of God! Are >>>


      THE PROPHET AS A MAN: THE SPECIAL POSITION OF EARLY MUSLIM GENERATIONS
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Adil Salahi, Arab News The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were exemplary in their commitment to Islam. They realized the great change in their lives as a result of embracing Islam and living according to its teachings. When they compared their life under Islam with how they lived before it, they felt that >>>


      TREACHERY OF GREAT MAGNITUDE
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Commentary by Sayyid Qutb In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Most Merciful He brought down from their strongholds those of the people of earlier revelations who aided them, casting terror in their hearts: some you slew, and some you took captive.

And He passed on to you their land, their houses and thei >>>


      UNNECESSARY HOSTILITY
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Commentary by Sayyid Qutb In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Most Merciful God turned back the unbelievers in all their rage and fury; they gained no advantage. He spared the believers the need to fight. God is Most Powerful, Almighty. (The Confederates Al–Ahzab: 33: 25) When Islam arrived in Madinah, the >>>


      ‘WE’LL NEVER FORGET THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE’
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al–Faisal bids farewell to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Jeddah on Saturday. Ahmadinejad left the Kingdom after performing Haj as a guest of the king. (SPA) JEDDAH, 23 December 2007 — More than 1,000 foreign dignitaries from 25 countries, including >>>


      DEMAND HUGE FOR COLD AND FLU REMEDIES
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Galal Fakkar, Arab News MAKKAH, 23 December 2007 — Cold and flu medicines comprised the bulk of medications that pilgrims bought as soon as they arrived in Makkah. Other medicines included skin moisturizing creams, and those for high blood pressure and diabetes.

Ashraf Zain Al–Din, a pharmacist who works >>>


      HAJ EXPRESS: TOUR OPERATORS CATER TO THE RICH AND BUSY
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Galal Fakkar, Arab News MAKKAH, 23 December 2007 — For millions of pilgrims the Haj represents shedding all earthly concerns and an embracement of simplicity with a detachment from worldly trappings. The ihram — the two–piece outfit of the pilgrim — is a simple cloth, free from zippers and buttons. Pilgrims take t >>>


      HAJ OPERATION HUGE SUCCESS: PRINCE NAIF
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Ali Hawash, Arab News Pilgrims do the Tawaf Al–Widaa at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Saturday.

(EPA) MAKKAH, 23 December 2007 — Interior Minister Prince Naif, who is also chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, declared yesterday the success of this year’s Haj operation and commended security officers for >>>


      HOME FOOD IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST FOOD
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Ali Hawash, Arab News MAKKAH, 23 December 2007 — Many Makkah residents see Haj as a time to improve their financial situations. There are those who buy and sell products and there are those who provide services. Many Makkah families, however, go into the business of selling food to pilgrims. They do not need to rent a s >>>


      PILGRIMS GET SET FOR TRIPS HOME; FLIGHTS START TOMORROW
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News JEDDAH, 23 December 2007 — With the successful completion of the annual pilgrimage, Haj pilgrims are all set to commence their journey from Makkah to the Haj Terminal tomorrow. Some of the pilgrims will head for Madinah to pray at the Prophet’s Mosque during the next few days.

Most of t >>>


      SMOKING RAMPANT AMONG STUDENTS
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Javid Hassan, Arab News RIYADH, 23 December 2007 — A study of 1,050 students in Jeddah and Riyadh revealed that smoking, especially water pipes, is fairly widespread among students from rich families.

The survey covered college students aged between 18 and 26. A significantly high incidence of smoking was assoc >>>


      ‘HANIYEH GOVT PREVENTING GAZA CENSUS’
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Mohammed Mar’i, Arab News RAMALLAH, West Bank, 23 December 2007 — The Head of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) Lo’ay Shabaneh said the Hamas government led by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is still preventing his organization from carrying out a census in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas government shut >>>


      &#3'DEPLOYMENT&#3' OF FILIPINO WORKERS EXCEED 1 MILLLION IN 2007
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Julie Javellana–Santos, Arab News JEDDAH, 23 December 2007 — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) yesterday said the number of Filipinos who have left the country to work overseas has surpassed 1 million.

POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz told Arab News she was overjoyed that despite >>>


      4 AFGHANS HELD IN PAKISTANI CITY BOMBING
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Azhar Masood, Arab News ISLAMABAD, 23 December 2007 — Pakistani security agencies said yesterday they have arrested four persons from Torangzai, an area of district Charsadda in the suicide bombing that killed 56 people but missed the target, a close ally of President Pervez Musharraf.

The announcement came as >>>


      CIA MISLED '/11 COMMISSION OVER TAPES: REPORT
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, 23 December 2007 — The CIA obstructed the work of an official US commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks by withholding tapes of interrogations of Al–Qaeda operatives, according to former panel members quoted by the New York Times yesterday.

A review of documents by >>>


      LEBANON STILL IN LIMBO AFTER VOTE DEFERRED
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Agence France Presse BEIRUT, 23 December 2007 — Lebanon remained in limbo yesterday after the 10th postponement of a vote to fill the vacant presidency, as the rift widens between the pro–Western ruling parliamentary majority and Syrian–backed opposition. Lawmakers had been set to meet yesterday to vote for >>>


      NEW DELHI MAY NOT EXTEND TASLIMA’S VISA
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Nilofar Suhrawardy & Agencies KOLKATA, 23 December 2007 — Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, in hiding in India since protests against her by a hard–line group last month, seems to be heading for fresh troubles.

Indian authorities annoyed at her leaking details of «secret» t >>>


      PALESTINIANS TO PRESS FOR SETTLEMENT FREEZE
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Agencies RAMALLAH, West Bank, 23 December 2007 — The Palestinians will renew demands for a freeze on settlement growth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem at their next meeting with Israeli negotiators, a Palestinian official said yesterday.

«The next round of negotiations will take place on Monday and un >>>


      POLITICAL CRISIS DEEPENS IN MAHARASHTRA
      Arab News, 23-12-2007
     Shahid Raza Burney, Arab News MUMBAI, 23 December 2007 — The political crisis in the Maharashtra state government deepened yesterday, one day after Revenue Minister Narayan Rane launched a scathing attack on state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at a press conference in New Delhi.

Speaking against Chief Minist >>>


      2 DEAD AS BLINDING SNOWSTORM HITS PLAINS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AMARILLO, Texas –– A blinding snowstorm blew across the Plains on Saturday, causing at least two deaths and dozens of injuries in numerous multi–car pileups and forcing authorities to close portions of several major highways.

One person died in a chain–reaction pileup involving more than >>>


      AT LEAST 5 DEAD IN PLAINS, MIDWEST STORM
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AMARILLO, Texas –– A blinding snowstorm blew from the Plains to the Midwest on Saturday, causing at least 5 deaths and dozens of injuries in numerous multi–car pileups and forcing authorities to close portions of several major highways.

In Texas, one person died in a chain–reaction pileu >>>


      BEAUTY SALONS TAKE ON DOMESTIC ABUSE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AM NEW YORK –– At the Divas beauty salon, Spanish–language talk shows play on the TV, blow driers and scissors are at the ready and customers chat about everything from men to money to jobs.

But for a few weeks recently, the women who work at the salon in the Washington Heights area of upper M >>>


      BOARD: COMPANIES CAN BAR UNION E–MAIL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PORTLAND, Ore. –– Employers can prohibit workers from using the office e–mail system for union activities, so long as they prohibit solicitations from any outside organization, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled.

The board said its 3–2 decision sets a new labor relations standa >>>


      BODY FOUND BURNING NEAR FLA. CHURCH
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. –– A sheriff‘s deputy found a woman‘s body on fire near a church early Sunday, authorities said.

The Palm Beach County deputy used the fire extinguisher from his patrol car to put out the flames after discovering the burning body shortly after 3 a.m. near Our Lady >>>


      CIA SAYS IT COOPERATED WITH '/11 PANEL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     WASHINGTON –– The CIA on Saturday rebutted suggestions the spy agency was uncooperative and hid from the Sept. 11 commission the videotaped interrogations of two suspected terrorists, saying it waited until the panel went out of business before destroying the material now in question.

The destructio >>>


      DIGNITARIES REMEMBER REP. JULIA CARSON
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM INDIANAPOLIS –– U.S. Rep. Julia Carson was remembered at her funeral Saturday as a woman who rose from poverty to the halls of Congress and fought tirelessly for the poor.

The 2,200–seat Eastern Star Church was nearly full with those who wanted to honor the six–term Democratic congres >>>


      FAMILY FACES CHRISTMAS WITHOUT DAUGHTER
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM NEW YORK –– It‘s been nearly seven months since Stepha Henry disappeared during a visit to Florida with her younger sister.

In that time, Henry‘s family has given up their summer barbecues, observed her 23rd birthday in September with prayer and held a sad Thanksgiving dinner.

>>>


      GI SAVES IRAQI BOY IN LONG–SHOT ADOPTION
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM MAUSTON, Wis. –– Capt. Scott Southworth knew he‘d face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad‘s most dangerous areas. But he didn‘t expect Ala‘a Eddeen.

Ala‘a was ' years old, strong of will but weak of body _ he suf >>>


      GIULIANI TRIES TO EASE FEARS ABOUT HIS HEALTH
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, a survivor of prostate cancer, tried to allay concerns about his health on Sunday after a hospital stay he attributed to a painful headache.

His staff originally said the former New York mayor had flu–like symptoms when >>>


      HOLIDAY CHEER FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM LOS ANGELES –– Blind and visually impaired people can enjoy holiday entertainment on TV thanks to descriptive narrations of the events arranged by a program called "Eyes of Christmas." Reaching more than 80 million homes on a variety of cable networks and independent television stations, the pro >>>


      HUCKABEE STANDS BY CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN AD
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     SAN ANTONIO –– Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made no apologies Sunday for the religious tone of a recent holiday campaign commercial and said it is important to look for Jesus at this time of year.

"You can find Santa at every mall. You can find discounts in every store," >>>


      MAN DONATES PART OF HIS LIVER TO GRANDMA
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     DECKERVILLE, Mich. –– A man gave his 74–year–old grandmother an early Christmas present this year when he donated more than half of his liver to her.

Patricia Middleton, a retired school bus driver, had been battling a chronic liver disease for a quarter–century. In August, she was >>>


      MAN GIVES $31,000 TO SALVATION ARMY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     ORWIGSBURG, Pa. –– Less than two weeks after a man put 30 $100 bills into a Salvation Army kettle, someone decided to do one better.

On Saturday morning, s7omeone put 31 $100 bills in a Christmas card and dropped it into the tambourine held by Salvation Army volunteer Margaret L. Wetefsky at on Orwi >>>


      MAN PAYS FOR NEW TRUCK WITH LOOSE CHANGE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     FRANKFORT, Ind. –– Paul Brant considers himself a penny pincher, but his savings in quarters and dollar coins really paid off.

Brant, 70, used more than $25,000 in change to help buy a new Dodge Ram half–ton pickup truck Friday _ 13 years after buying another truck with spare change.

>>>


      NATION IN BRIEF
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     U.N. Approves Budget; Only U.S. Casts ‘No‘ Vote UNITED NATIONS –– The U.N. General Assembly approved a two–year budget Saturday, with the United States casting the only "no" vote.

The United States objected to $6.7 million in funding for a follow–up to a 2001 confer >>>


      NY MAN GUILTY IN DEATH OF WHITE TEEN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     RIVERHEAD, N.Y. –– A black man who invoked images of lynch mobs in explaining why he killed a white teenager was convicted of second–degree manslaughter when a jury rejected defense lawyers‘ arguments that his actions were justified.

Jurors reached a verdict Saturday after four days of d >>>


      PAPER GIVES ‘ANTI–ENDORSEMENT‘ TO ROMNEY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     MILFORD, N.H. –– The Concord Monitor broke with political tradition Sunday, telling readers in the state with the first presidential primary why they should not vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instead of whom they should support.

In a scathing anti–endorsement that calle >>>


      PAUL DEFENDS ASKING FOR SPECIAL PROJECTS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM WASHINGTON –– Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul on Sunday defended his efforts in Congress to bring home money to his Texas district, despite his long–held aversion to big government and congressional votes to reign in federal spending.

"I‘ve never voted for an earmark in >>>


      RACIAL UNDERCURRENT IS SEEN IN CLINTON CAMPAIGN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     23, 2007; A02 It has unfolded mostly under the radar. But an important development in the 2008 Democratic battle may be the building backlash among African Americans over comments from associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that could be construed as jabs at Sen. Barack Obama‘s race.

These officials, i >>>


      RIVALS: HUCKABEE ANOTHER BILL CLINTON
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     DAVENPORT, Iowa –– To hear Mitt Romney tell it, Republican Mike Huckabee shares more with Democrat Bill Clinton than a hometown in Hope, Ark., and a stint as Arkansas governor.

Both men, Romney suggests, have left–leaning governing philosophies, particularly on taxes and spending.

&qu >>>


      SAN DIEGO PANDA MAKES HER PUBLIC DEBUT
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     SAN DIEGO –– San Diego‘s most popular resident finally met her fans, up close and personal: Giant panda cub Zhen Zhen made her public debut Saturday at the San Diego Zoo.

People were lined up when the zoo‘s gates opened at ' a.m. and the 17–pound, black–and–white cu >>>


      SCHOOL GETS EXTENSION ON SHOCK TREATMENT
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BOSTON –– A special education school where two emotionally disturbed students were wrongly given dozens of shocks after a prank call will be allowed to use electric shock treatments on students for another year.

But the state‘s Office of Health and Human Services said the Judge Rotenberg Educa >>>


      SCHOOL KEEPS LICENSE TO GIVE SHOCK THERAPY DESPITE PRANK
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BOSTON, Dec. 22 –– A special–education school where two emotionally disturbed students were wrongly given dozens of shocks after a prank call will be allowed to use electric–shock treatments on students for another year.

But the state‘s Office of Health and Human Services said the >>>


      SOLDIERS SEEK FAMILIES FOR IRAQI ORPHANS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM MILWAUKEE –– Having overcome great obstacles to adopt an Iraqi orphan with cerebral palsy, Scott Southworth is spearheading an effort to find families to care for another 21 disabled children from that unhappy land.

Soldiers found the boys in June in a government–run Baghdad orphanage, nake >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     10:55 PM –– Another major storm developed Saturday in the Plains before it raced eastward toward the Lower Mississippi Valley, bringing snow from Oklahoma to Iowa.

Strong winds associated with the storm blew the freshly fallen snow into blizzard conditions.

Meanwhile, the storm system produ >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AM –– A winter storm that moved into the Great Lakes was expected to stall over the region, bringing snow to Minnesota and Wisconsin on Sunday, while a separate Northwest storm was bringing rain and mountain snow to Washington and Oregon.

A cold front spawned by a winter storm in the Midwest was exp >>>


      THE TALK SHOWS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     Guests to be interviewed today on major television talk shows: FOX NEWS SUNDAY (WTTG), ' a.m.: Gen. David H. Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Iraq.

THIS WEEK (ABC, WJLA), 10 a.m.: Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R).

NEWSMAKERS (C–SPAN), 10 a.m.: Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D–Mass >>>


      U.S. PLANS ASSESSMENT OF MIDEAST PEACE MOVES
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States will conduct confidential assessments of whether Israel and the Palestinians are meeting their peacemaking commitments and share the results privately with the parties, U.S. and Western officials said.

Israel has sought to keep the U.S. process of judging compliance >>>


      U.S. URGES ALL SIDES RESPECT THAI POLL RESULTS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States called on all sides on Sunday to respect the outcome of Thailand‘s first parliamentary elections since a September 2006 coup prompted Washington to suspend millions of dollars in aid.

Washington welcomed what it called initial reports the vote had been free a >>>


      VA. TECH FAMILIES TO LOBBY LEGISLATURE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM RICHMOND, Va. –– As he sat in a hospital, watching blood ooze from his son Colin‘s gunshot wounds, Andrew Goddard negotiated with a higher power: Let my son live, and I will do what I can to spare another parent this torture.

Colin survived, despite the four bullets fired into him by Virgin >>>


      CIA TAPES WERE KEPT FROM '/11 PANEL, REPORT SAYS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Joby Warrick and Dan EggenWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 23, 2007; A11 Former members and staffers of the '/11 Commission have concluded that the CIA withheld videotapes of harsh interrogation sessions even after specific and "very detailed" requests about the two prisoners whose tapes we >>>


      CLINTON MAKES CLOSING ARGUMENT TO WOMEN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM MANCHESTER, N.H. –– Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday made her closing argument to female voters in a message that could be reduced to three words.

You. Go. Girl. Clinton, standing in a lobby of a YWCA, told undecided mothers and their daughters that her agenda for families and children >>>


      FBI SOUGHT AUTHORITY TO DETAIN THOUSANDS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     Associated PressSunday, December 23, 2007; A16 Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention shortly after the Korean War began and arrest as many as 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, according to a newly declassified document.

Hoover sent his plan >>>


      LESSONS IN REALITY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Lonnae O‘Neal ParkerWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 23,
2007; A01 A hush came over the parents and visitors who filled the makeshift rows as Calvin Coolidge Senior High School Principal L. Nelson Burton took the podium. Along the wall, dozens grew still. Bright lights cast a sheen on the brand& >>>


      N.H. DEMOCRATS PONDER TONE, STYLE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Alec MacGillisWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 23, 2007; A04 MANCHESTER, N.H. –– As a snow squall whirled outside, Sen. Barack Obama, in a black suit, told more than 500 people gathered at a downtown hotel here last week that he is running for president to "tell the corporate lobbyists th >>>


      REASON‘S LIBERTARIANS, IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     Four minutes into Reason magazine‘s monthly bash at the Big Hunt lounge, and every Libertarian–as–Bacchus fantasy you‘ve entertained plays out before your widening eyes.

Nick Gillespie, the leather–jacketed, Mama–said–you‘re–dangerous editor of the political >>>


      SEVERAL TOP POSITIONS AT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT UNFILLED
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Dan EggenWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 23, 2007; A0' As Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey nears the end of his second month, many of the Justice Department‘s top positions remain vacant or filled with temporary appointees with no replacements in sight, according to legislative aides and Bus >>>


      SPLINTERED GOP SEEKS UNIFYING PRESENCE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     December 23, 2007; A01 DES MOINES –– For three decades, the Republican presidential nominating contest has served to unify the national party‘s coalition of social, economic and foreign policy conservatives in advance of a general election fight with Democrats.

This year, it is ripping that co >>>


      U.S. GRANT‘S STEELY BRONZE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Paul RichardSpecial to The Washington PostSunday, December 23, 2007; M07 His pedestal of white marble is 22 feet high, and Cincinnati, his enormous war horse, stands in bronze on top of it, so that by the time you reach Ulysses S. Grant himself, the crown of his slouch hat is 43 feet up in the air.

His eques >>>


      BELGIAN PRISONER DENIES ESCAPE PLANS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BRUSSELS, Belgium –– The al–Qaida prisoner at the center of a terrorism alert in Belgium has denied allegations that his supporters were involved in preparations for a jailbreak or terror attack, in a letter published by a newspaper Sunday.

"Not before, not today, nor tomorrow will the Be >>>


      BLAIR FORMALLY CONVERTS TO CATHOLICISM
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Kevin SullivanWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 23, 2007; A25 LONDON, Dec. 22 –– Former prime minister Tony Blair has left the Church of England, becoming the first Briton to have served as premier to convert to Roman Catholicism.

The long–anticipated switch to the religion of >>>


      BRITAIN‘S QUEEN ELIZABETH GOES GLOBAL ON YOUTUBE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth is joining the YouTube generation. Buckingham Palace on Sunday said the 81–year–old monarch will post her traditional Christmas Day message –– normally broadcast on television – on the video–sharing Web site as well this year.

At the s >>>


      BURUNDI PEACEKEEPERS DEPLOY IN SOMALI CAPITAL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     MOGADISHU (Reuters) – A first contingent of 100 peacekeepers from Burundi deployed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday, hours after fighting between Islamist rebels and government forces killed at least four people.

The arrival of the Burundian soldiers in the rubble–strewn city marked the fir >>>


      CHOCOLATE PRICE FIXING IN CANADA ALLEGED
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     PM TORONTO –– Newly released court documents allege that the Canadian divisions of Nestle, Mars, Hershey and others teamed up in a price–fixing scheme in the multibillion–dollar Canadian chocolate bar market.

Court documents in the case, unsealed by an Ottawa judge Friday, allege that se >>>


      CHRISTMAS WITHOUT JONATHAN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Donna St. GeorgeWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 23, 2007; C01 They long to see him walk through the door of his family‘s home in Vienna

–– muscular, dark–eyed, big–hearted Jonathan. The combat medic. The oldest son. The 21–year–old who had planned to fly >>>


      COSTA RICA REPORTS RECORD POT BUST
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     SAN JOSE, Costa Rica –– Costa Rican agents made the largest marijuana bust in the Central American nation‘s history, seizing 4.85 tons of the drug found in an abandoned boat, police said Saturday.

The marijuana _ enough to roll 17,600 joints, police said _ was discovered Friday during a patrol >>>


      ECUADOR PRESIDENT PROPOSES DRUG PARDONS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     QUITO, Ecuador –– Ecuador‘s leftist President Rafael Correa proposed Saturday pardoning the lengthy jail sentences of low–level drug couriers known as "mules" and drafting new laws that better reflect the severity of drug crimes.

In his weekly radio address, Correa said he will >>>


      EXIT POLLS: THAKSIN ALLIES WIN IN THAI
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BANGKOK, Thailand –– Exit polls showed that allies of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra have won Sunday‘s post–coup general election, an outcome likely to deepen Thailand‘s two–year political crisis.

The polls from Thailand‘s two leading polling agencies, howeve >>>


      HINDU NATIONALISTS COAST TO VICTORY IN INDIA‘S GUJARAT
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     11:55 AM NEW DELHI, Dec. 23 –– Hindu nationalists led by controversial chief minister Narendra Modi won a solid victory Sunday in a closely watched election in Gujarat, one of India‘s wealthiest and most restive states. Modi‘s win further weakens the country‘s ruling Congress party ahead of >>>


      IN BRITAIN, A RESPECTED, IF ROWDY, HOLIDAY RITUAL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Mary Jordan and Kevin SullivanWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 23, 2007; A01 LONDON –– Just before midnight, the well–dressed, 25–year–old financial trader arrived by ambulance at the makeshift hospital tent pitched at a train station in central London. Blood oozed from hi >>>


      IN TENSE INDIAN STATE, A MAN FOR ALL HINDUS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Emily WaxWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 23, 2007; A20 AHMADABAD, India –– Past the leafy Hindu neighborhoods of high–rises, children‘s amusement parks and glitzy shopping malls sprawls one of Asia‘s largest Muslim ghettos. It‘s a maze of half a million people, with >>>


      INDIA COUNTS VOTES FROM KEY STATE ELECTION
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – India began counting votes on Sunday in a bitterly fought state poll that will seal the future of a hardline Hindu leader and is expected to have a national impact on the fortunes of the parties involved.

The booming but communally divided western state of Gujarat voted in two >>>


      INDIAN HINDU NATIONALISTS SET TO WIN KEY STATE POLL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – India‘s Hindu nationalists were headed for a strong majority in a bitterly fought state election on Sunday, a verdict that could mean a setback to Congress party plans to call an early national election.

Polling trends beat most pre–election surveys and TV exit pol >>>


      IRAN CITED IN IRAQ‘S DECLINE IN VIOLENCE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 23, 2007; A01 The Iranian government has decided "at the most senior levels" to rein in the violent Shiite militias it supports in Iraq, a move reflected in a sharp decrease in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks over the past several months, accordi >>>


      IRAQ GOV‘T VOWS TO DISBAND SUNNI GROUPS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BAGHDAD –– Iraq‘s Shiite–led government said that American–backed Sunni groups key to battling Islamic extremists must eventually disband because it does not want them to become a separate military force.

The groups have helped reduce the carnage in the country, but violence remain >>>


      IRAQI VOLUNTEERS ANGRY OVER BOMB BLAST
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Joshua Partlow and Zaid SabahWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 23, 2007; A22 BAGHDAD, Dec. 22 –– Members of a U.S.–funded volunteer security force in western Baghdad on Saturday threatened to abandon their partnership with the American military after an explosion killed four of their m >>>


      ISRAEL BUILDING PLANS COULD CAUSE FURY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     JERUSALEM –– Israel has plans to build an additional 740 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2008, a Cabinet minister said Sunday, a move sure to enrage Palestinians who say such construction undermines nascent peace talks.

The Construction Ministry‘s proposed budget for >>>


      ISRAEL BUILDING PLANS COULD SPUR FURY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     JERUSALEM –– Israel has plans to build an additional 740 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2008, a Cabinet minister said Sunday, enraging Palestinians who say such construction undermines nascent peace talks.

The Construction Ministry‘s proposed budget for 2008 include >>>


      ISRAEL UNVEILS SETTLEMENT PLANS ON PEACE TALKS EVE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel unveiled plans on Sunday to build hundreds of new homes on occupied land near Jerusalem next year, drawing protests from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the eve of renewed peace talks.

Israel also vowed no let up in its "real war" against Hamas Islamists who s >>>


      ITALIAN PM PRODI VISITS AFGHANISTAN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     KABUL (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday and was expected to meet Italian troops serving with the NATO force in the country.

His Christmas trip comes a day after the leaders of France and Australia also visited and pledged military and f >>>


      JAPAN PM SAYS WANTS TO HELP ALL HEPATITIS PATIENTS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan‘s prime minister said on Sunday his party will draft legislation aimed at helping thousands of hepatitis patients, the latest development in a high–profile scandal that has drawn voter anger.

At least 10,000 people are believed to have contracted hepatitis C from tainte >>>


      JAPAN TO REVIEW GX ROCKET PLAN: REPORT
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will review plans to produce a rocket to launch satellites that is being jointly developed by the government and the private sector, partly due to increased costs, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sunday.

The daily said the rocket, known as the GX, was due to be launched in th >>>


      NEPAL STRIKES DEAL WITH MAOISTS TO ABOLISH MONARCHY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal‘s government agreed on Sunday to abolish the centuries–old monarchy in a political deal with Maoist former rebels, but the decision only comes into effect after next year‘s elections, party officials said.

The Himalayan nation plunged into a fresh political tu >>>


      OLMERT RULES OUT TRUCE TALKS WITH HAMAS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     JERUSALEM –– Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday ruled out cease–fire talks with the Gaza Strip‘s Islamic Hamas rulers, vowing to press ahead with a "true war" against Palestinian militants who attack southern Israeli communities with rocket and mortar fire.

Meanwhile, a Cabin >>>


      SAUDI SAYS ARRESTS 28 AL QAEDA MILITANTS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi security forces have arrested 28 al Qaeda militants suspected of planning "criminal acts" in the kingdom, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday.

The suspects were arrested in Mecca, Madina, Riyadh and in an area near the country‘s northern border >>>


      SEARCH IN IRAN FOR EX–FBI AGENT FAILS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     By Ali Akbar DareiniAssociated PressSunday, December 23, 2007; A24 TEHRAN, Dec. 22 –– The wife of a missing former FBI agent said Saturday she has been unable to find out what happened to her husband despite visiting the Iranian island where he was last seen.

The Iranian government reiterated that i >>>


      SPAIN CHRISTMAS LOTTERY WINNERS REJOICE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     MADRID, Spain –– Winners of Spain‘s Christmas lottery celebrated Saturday by drinking toasts and singing songs after thousands took a share of the $3.1 billion in prizes.

Up to 1,850 tickets carry the winning number _ 06381 _ with each holder receiving $430,000. The winning tickets were sold i >>>


      STAKES HIGH FOR U.S. AND ARGENTINA IN CASH SCANDAL
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     A01 BUENOS AIRES –– The twisted mystery of an $800,000 suitcase confiscated in Argentina has kicked up so much dirt that almost everyone who gets near it –– even if clean –– is accused of being filthy.

Businessman Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, who holds U.S. and Venezuelan >>>


      SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS NINE IN PAKISTAN
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     MINGORA, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed four Pakistani soldiers and five civilians on Sunday in an attack on a military convoy in a valley in the northwest of the country, police said.

The attack came two days after a suicide bomber killed nearly 50 worshippers in a mosque in an attack on a >>>


      SUSPECTED HOOLIGANS BEAT 2 SUDANESE
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BERLIN –– A group of suspected soccer hooligans racially abused and beat up two Sudanese men and a German who tried to intervene on their behalf, police and prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said Sunday.

According to police, several men among the group of 10 to 15 suspected hooligans began >>>


      THAI POLLS POINT TO PRO–THAKSIN PARTY VICTORY
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BANGKOK (Reuters) – The People Power Party (PPP), a vehicle for supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, won the most seats in Sunday‘s Thai election, two exit polls said.

However, they differed greatly on the size of the PPP victory, which was nevertheless likely to cause consternati >>>


      THAILAND HOLDS FIRST ELECTION SINCE COUP
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BANGKOK, Thailand –– Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, deposed, exiled and allegedly corrupt, was poised for a comeback–by–proxy as his loyalists looked likely to win Thailand‘s national election Sunday.

Thaksin, ousted from power by a bloodless military coup 15 months ago, >>>


      THAIS VOTE IN POLL UNLIKELY TO HEAL DIVISIONS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thais voted on Sunday in a general election meant to restore democracy after last year‘s military coup but which is unlikely to heal Thailand‘s deep political divisions.

Some 45 million Thais were eligible to cast their ballots as polls opened at 8 a.m. (0100 GMT), but few >>>


      TURKEY BOMBS REBEL POSITIONS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     ISTANBUL, Turkey –– Turkish fighter jets bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Sunday, a spokesman for security forces in the Kurdish–run region said.

The spokesman, Jabar Yawar, said the jets bombed an area about 50 miles north of Irbil near the border with Turkey for about an hour >>>


      TURKISH PLANES STRIKE NORTHERN IRAQ: IRAQI KURDS
      Washington Post, 23-12-2007
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes bombed areas in northern Iraq on Sunday for the second day in a row but caused no casualties, an Iraqi Kurdish official said.

Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdish security forces, said the airstrikes in a deserted mountainous area in northern Iraq started at >>>



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