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      NCB CAPITAL TO LEAD RENTAL COMPANY IPO
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News Hasan AlJabri and Dr. Saleh Malayka sign the agreement. (AN photo) JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — Leasing Company for Machinery, Real Estate Trade and Car Rentals decided to launch the 30 percent of its shares for public subscription to raise capital, its financial consultant NCB Capital said yesterday.

S >>>


      PETRORABIGH IPO SET AT SR21 PER SHARE
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News PetroRabigh infrastructure development in full swing. (AN photo) RIYADH, 26 December 2007 — Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company (PetroRabigh) will sell 21' million shares at SR21 each, representing SR10 par value and SR11 premium, in an initial public offering (IPO) scheduled next mont >>>


      PROFIT–TAKING HITS KINGDOM, OMAN SHARES
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News RIYADH, 26 December 2007 — The rally that was witnessed when trading in the Gulf stock markets resumed on Monday after the Eid holidays appeared to be short–lived, as Saudi and Omani shares ended lower yesterday after investors booked profit, with banks leading declines in both markets.

However, >>>


      ABDULLAH EXTENDS OFFICIAL’S TENURE
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — The term of Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Bandar, assistant director of intelligence, has been extended for another four years beginning from Dec. 26, 2007, according to a royal decree issued yesterday.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah issued another royal decree appo >>>


      BAGGAGE RULE LEAVES PILGRIMS IN PRECARIOUS SITUATION
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — An Air–India flight left the Haj Terminal yesterday morning carrying only 100 of its over scheduled 200 passengers after they raised an outcry over an excess baggage charge of SR55 a kilo that the airline was demanding from the pilgrims.

The flight bound >>>


      FAKE DENTISTS ARRESTED IN MAKKAH
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Badea Abu Al–Naja, Arab News Tools and medicines seized by police from the two fake dentists who were arrested in Makkah. (AN photo by Badea Abu Al–Naja) MAKKAH, 26 December 2007 — Police in Makkah recently arrested two unqualified overstayers working as dentists in a back street market. The two men, who are >>>


      NEW TRENDS IN SHAVING CAUSED BY FEAR
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — Because of fears of infection and possible disease, many citizens and expatriates are purchasing their own portable cases containing tools for shaving and haircuts.

Many barbers do not practice essential hygiene such as cleaning their tools after each use. Some customers hav >>>


      RED CRESCENT TO EXPAND MEDEVAC OPERATIONS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News Prince Faisal ibn Abdullah JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — Prince Faisal ibn Abdullah, president of the Saudi Red Crescent Society, has announced his organization’s plan to expand its air ambulance services to cover every area within the Kingdom. «Air ambulance is one of the major projects >>>


      SIDELIGTHS: MAID CLIMBS TREE TO PROTEST SALARY DELAY
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Arab News AL–DULAM, 26 December 2007 — An Asian maid, fed up of waiting for her employer to pay her, decided to bring attention to her plight by climbing a tree, Al–Riyadh newspaper reported yesterday. The maid who worked for her employer in Al–Dulam town, southeast of Riyadh, sought refuge in a tall t >>>


      TECHNOLOGY TELLS ON AGE–OLD TRADITIONS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Sarah Abdullah, Arab News JEDDAH, 26 December 2007 — The introduction of communication tools such as cell phones and the Internet are some of the vital and life–changing technological advances adopted by Saudis in the last decade. The availability of Wi–Fi Internet access to the Haj pilgrims this year was on >>>


      BENAZIR VOWS CRACKDOWN ON EXTREMISTS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Azhar Masood & Agencies ISLAMABAD/LODHRAN, 26 December 2007 — Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto yesterday accused President Pervez Musharraf of failing to stop the spread of militants and promised to crack down on the groups if she wins elections.

Benazir spoke to about 4,000 supporters in the >>>


      DHAKA TO QUIZ SUSPECTS OVER STOLEN ARTIFACTS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Imran Rahman & Agencies DHAKA, 26 December 2007 — A Dhaka court yesterday allowed authorities to question 15 people suspected of involvement in the theft of two rare artifacts from Zia International Airport.

Three among those arrested were Air France officials based in Dhaka. Airport police investigating th >>>


      EGYPT SLAMS LIVNI REMARKS ABOUT SECURING BORDER
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Associated Press CAIRO/GAZA, 26 December 2007 — Egypt yesterday strongly rejected criticism by Israel’s top diplomat that Cairo is doing a terrible job of securing its porous border with the Gaza Strip against smugglers, saying Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni did not understand the issues and should have remained silent.>>>


      IRANIAN JEWS REACH ISRAEL AFTER COVERT OPERATION
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Agence France Presse BEN GURION AIRPORT, Israel, 26 December 2007 — A group of 40 Jews from Iran arrived here yesterday at the end of a secret operation marking the biggest recent influx of Iranian Jews from a country considered hostile to Israel.

The group of 10 families and three individuals flew into Israel >>>


      KABUL ORDERS UN, EU OFFICIALS OUT
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Agencies KABUL, 26 December 2007 — Afghanistan has ordered the expulsion of a Briton working for the EU and an Irishman working for the United Nations, accusing them of posing a threat to national security, officials and diplomats said yesterday.

Local news portals said the pair may have visited the Taleban ins >>>


      LEBANESE OPPOSITION REJECTS GOVT’S STATUTE PLAN
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Agencies BEIRUT, 26 December 2007 — The Lebanese opposition yesterday rejected as unconstitutional draft legislation drawn up by the government aimed at ending deep divisions over the choice of the country’s next president.

The Western–backed Cabinet on Monday unveiled a draft law for a constitutional ame >>>


      MAHARASHTRA AWASH WITH MIDTERM POLL RUMORS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Shahid Raza Burney, Arab News PUNE, 26 December 2007 — Against the backdrop of recent assembly elections in Gujarat and growing political instability in Maharashtra, Suresh Kalmadi, senior Congress party leader and member of Parliament, has asked party workers, legislators and municipal councilors to prepare for midterm >>>


      POPE LAMENTS ‘GRIM SOUND OF ARMS’ IN IRAQ
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     Agencies VATICAN/BETHLEHEM, West Bank, 26 December 2007 — Pope Benedict XVI lamented the «grim sound of arms» in the world’s conflict zones yesterday in a message of peace echoed by other senior clerics as the world’s Christians celebrated the birth of Christ. Delivering his traditional blessing to thousands >>>


      TURKISH RAIDS IN IRAQ KILL HUNDREDS
      Arab News, 26-12-2007
     C. Onur Ant, Associated Press ISTANBUL, 26 December 2007 — Turkey’s military has hit more than 200 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq since Dec. 16, killing hundreds of rebels, authorities said yesterday.

Up to 175 rebels were killed on Dec. 16 alone in «unprotected buildings» in the mountainous >>>


      3 DEAD, 1 SURVIVOR IN PANAMA PLANE CRASH
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     PANAMA CITY, Panama –– The bodies of a California businessman, his teenage daughter and the Panamanian pilot of a plane that crashed over the weekend were found Tuesday in Panama‘s mountains, officials said. A 12–year–old American girl survived.

Michael Klein, 37, Talia Klein, 13, >>>


      ADJUSTED PENALTIES FOR CRACK MAY AID EX–BALLPLAYER‘S CASE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     A02 Willie Mays Aikens is a part of baseball lore. As a member of the 1'80 Kansas City Royals, he became the only man to hit more than one home run in two games of the same World Series.

But 27 years after his feat, Aikens languishes in a federal prison in Jessup, Ga., brought low by cocaine addiction and a >>>


      BOSTON‘S $14.8B BIG DIG FINALLY COMPLETE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BOSTON –– When the clock runs out on 2007, Boston will quietly mark the end of one of the most tumultuous eras in the city‘s history: The Big Dig, the nation‘s most complex and costliest highway project, will officially come to an end.

Don‘t expect any champagne toasts. After a his >>>


      BOSTON‘S $14.8B BIG DIG FINALLY COMPLETE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM BOSTON –– When the clock runs out on 2007, Boston will quietly mark the end of one of the most tumultuous eras in the city‘s history: The Big Dig, the nation‘s most complex and costliest highway project, will officially come to an end.

Don‘t expect any champagne toasts. After a >>>


      BUSH SIGNS $555 BILLION SPENDING BILL
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     CRAWFORD, Texas –– President Bush on Wednesday signed a $555 billion bill that funds the Iraq war well into next year and keeps government agencies running through September.

Bush‘s signature on the massive spending bill capped a long–running battle with the Democratic–run Congress >>>


      FIRE GUTS SMALL KY. COUNTY COURTHOUSE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BARDWELL, Ky. –– An early morning fire gutted a small courthouse in far western Kentucky on Wednesday, a county official said.

No one was inside the Carlisle County courthouse when the blaze started sometime before 6:30 a.m., officials said.

The building was almost destroyed, with only the >>>


      HUCKABEE BAGS A BIRD IN IOWA
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     OSCEOLA, Iowa –– Presidential contender Mike Huckabee bagged a pheasant Wednesday, offering Iowa voters the image of an experienced outdoorsman on the hunt, shotgun blasting and dogs braying.

Just a campaign gambit? "Maybe it will show that I certainly understand the culture of being outdoors,& >>>


      HUCKABEE HUNTS BIRDS, VOTES IN HEARTLAND
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     HIGH PRAIRIE FARMS, Iowa (Reuters) – Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee hunted for birds and votes on Wednesday during a pheasant shoot in snowy Iowa, a pursuit that goes down well with folks in the heartland.

"Hopefully we‘ll just shoot pheasants, not each other," the jovial >>>


      INDIANS TRADE HEALTH FOR JOBS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Rajesh MahapatraAssociated PressWednesday, December 26, 2007; D0' NEW DELHI –– The job came with a good salary and good perks.

But, Vaibhav Vats, 26, will tell you, it was doing him no good. His weight had grown to 265 pounds, and he was missing out on social life as he worked long overnight >>>


      JUDGE ORDERS LOUIS FARRAKHAN TO APPEAR
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     HAMMOND, Ind. –– A federal judge has ordered Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan to appear in court to explain why payments to his son are not considered income.

A Gary couple are seeking to collect $350,000 from Farrakhan‘s 48–year–old son, who lost a lawsuit after crashing h >>>


      LIST OF MAULINGS BY CAPTIVE ANIMALS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ':35 AM –– Some maulings and other incidents involving captive animals in the United States: Dec. 25, 2007: A Siberian tiger named Tatiana escapes from its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo, killing one man and mauling two others, before being shot dead.

Feb. 24, 2007: A 140–pound jaguar >>>


      MAN STUCK UPSIDE–DOWN IN SEPTIC TANK
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     DES MOINES, Iowa –– It was a stinky holiday for Robert Schoff. The 77–year–old man spent part of Christmas Eve stuck upside down in the opening of his septic tank, with his head inside and his feet kicking in the air above.

"It wasn‘t good, I‘ll tell you what," Scho >>>


      MIDWEST GETS WHITE AND STORMY CHRISTMAS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM DENVER –– A winter storm delivered a White Christmas to parts of the Midwest, causing some traffic accidents and flight delays but no major problems with fewer travelers taking to the roads and sky on Tuesday.

Denver saw up to 7 inches of snow, resulting in a handful of flight delays. United Airl >>>


      N.C. GOVERNOR‘S RACE LIKELY A REFERENDUM
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     4:17 AM RALEIGH, N.C. –– For the first time since 1''2, when he won his first term as state attorney general, a presidential election year will pass in 2008 without Gov. Mike Easley running for statewide office.

But the race to replace Easley, one of 11 gubernatorial showdowns next year, fig >>>


      NATION IN BRIEF
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     San Francisco Zoo Tiger Escapes, Kills 1 SAN FRANCISCO –– A tiger escaped from its cage at the San Francisco Zoo on Tuesday and killed one visitor and injured two others, a newspaper reported.

The tiger was shot and killed, San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ken Smith told the San Francisco >>>


      NEW JERSEY TARGETS HIV TRANSMISSIONS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM TRENTON, N.J. –– HIV testing may soon become part of routine prenatal care and be required for some newborns in New Jersey as part of a bill that supporters contend will put the state in the forefront of the national fight against HIV transmission to babies.

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey was to si >>>


      OFFICER HELPS DELIVER CHRISTMAS BABY
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     PHILADELPHIA –– Transit officer Steven Rocher got up before dawn on Christmas to deliver a few more presents to his mother‘s house. He ended up delivering a very special gift indeed.

Rocher, 51, a police sergeant with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, was driving through >>>


      OHIO CELEBRATES ITS HISTORICAL MARKERS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     DAYTON, Ohio –– They tell about the Wright brothers and the Ohio–Erie Canal _ and also about the Bentonville Anti–Horse Thief Society, the death of Pretty Boy Floyd and the Cholera Cemetery.

Like a history book scattered across Ohio‘s landscape, 1,210 state historical markers criss >>>


      PINUP GIRL JEANNE CARMEN DIES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     IRVINE, Calif. –– Jeanne Carmen, the "little country girl" who became a 1'50s pinup and actress and hobnobbed with Frank Sinatra and other stars, has died. She was 77.

Carmen died of lymphoma Thursday at her Orange County home, said her son, Brandon James.

Born on Aug. 4, 1 >>>


      POLICE ACADEMY CLASS SLOGAN: CAUSE PTSD
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BOISE, Idaho –– A state police academy leader has disavowed the slogan of the most recent graduating class urging one another to "go out and cause" post–traumatic stress disorder.

Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that >>>


      REPORT: HOLDOUT NY JUROR REGRETS VERDICT
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     RIVERHEAD, N.Y. –– A second juror who convicted a black man of shooting a white teenager in a racially charged encounter now says she felt pressured by fellow jurors to change her vote to guilty.

Juror Donna Marshak told the New York Post she was so distraught when the verdict was read that she turn >>>


      SENIORS WORK OFF PROPERTY TAXES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Jim FitzgeraldAssociated PressWednesday, December 26, 2007; A12 GREENBURGH, N.Y. –– Audrey Davison lives alone, gets a $620 Social Security check each month and worries about the sharply rising taxes on her four–bedroom house. Davison, 76, raised her family there, and after 43 years, she really does >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ':21 PM –– Most of the nation saw pleasant weather on Christmas Day. Clear skies were visible over a large swath of the Mid–Atlantic and New England, although a few low clouds spread across New York and northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Southeast also saw cloudy skies and some rain. Snow fell >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     6:36 AM –– A nor‘easter was forecast to develop off the Carolina coast Wednesday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to North Carolina and the mid–Atlantic, while a Pacific storm was dumping rain and snow on the Northwest.

Heavy snow was anticipated in the Cascades, with Mount Rainier >>>


      TIDE IS SHIFTING ON U.S. EXPORTS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Michael A. FletcherWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, December 26,
2007; A01 CINCINNATI –– Challenged by a troubled U.S. economy and the steeply falling dollar, a growing number of U.S. manufacturers are making up for slowing domestic sales by expanding them overseas, often with sophisticated prod >>>


      TIGER ESCAPES S.F. ZOO CAGE AND KILLS 1
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     SAN FRANCISCO –– A tiger that mauled a zookeeper last year escaped from its pen at the San Francisco Zoo on Tuesday, killing one man and injuring two others before police shot it dead, authorities said.

The three men were in their 20s; they were together and were not zoo employees, San Francisco Pol >>>


      TOP OF OHIO BUILDING TO LOOK LIKE TIARA
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     CINCINNATI –– The Queen City may soon have a new skyscraper inspired by a tiara worn by a princess.

Architect Gyo Obata was flipping through books in a bookstore when he was struck by a picture of Princess Diana wearing a tiara, said Joe Robertson, project manager for the St. Louis–based archi >>>


      U.S. LAWMAKERS: EGYPT AID MAY HINGE ON GAZA BORDER
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Two U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday that the United States could make financial aid to Egypt conditional on Cairo doing more to prevent smuggling of arms into the Hamas–controlled Gaza Strip.

The two U.S. lawmakers –– Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvani >>>


      US MILITARY DEATHS IN IRAQ AT 3,8'7
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     7:37 PM –– As of Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007, at least 3,8'7 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes eight military civilians.

At least 3,171 died as a result of hostile action, according to >>>


      COURTING STUDENTS, AND HOPING THEY‘LL ACTUALLY CAST VOTES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Jose Antonio Vargas and Shailagh MurrayWashington Post Staff WritersWednesday, December 26, 2007; A03 CEDAR FALLS, Iowa –– For months, Barack Obama has pursued Casey Turner.

He has sent the 1'–year–old University of Northern Iowa student letters, e–mails, phone calls and Fac >>>


      FRESHMEN PADDING THEIR INDEPENDENCE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     Half a dozen freshman Democrats took to the House floor one late–October morning to cast their lot with Republicans.

Their actions went unpunished by the Democratic leadership that day, as they have on many other occasions in recent weeks. The symbolic gesture

–– casting nay votes on >>>


      IMMIGRATION GROUND ZERO
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     THE NEW ground zero in the debate over illegal immigration is Arizona, where the nation‘s toughest and potentially most far–reaching crackdown on undocumented workers and their employers is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The Arizona law, passed resoundingly by the state legislature after Congress failed to >>>


      IOWA TAKES A HOLIDAY FROM THE CAMPAIGN
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     December 26, 2007; A04 DES MOINES, Dec. 25 –– Levi Knapp, one of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd‘s 80 field organizers in Iowa, had never been on ice skates before. Surrounded by his boss and about 15 other campaign staffers, he held gamely to the rails at Brenton Skating Plaza in the city‘s East Villag >>>


      NOT RELEVANT? SHARPTON SCOFFS AT THE IDEA
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Keith B. RichburgWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, December 26,
2007; A01 NEW YORK –– Even by his own frenetic standards, the Rev. Al Sharpton has had a busy 12 months.

Late last year was the police shooting in Queens of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man leaving a bachelor party, and Sharp >>>


      REPEAL OF MD. DEATH PENALTY STILL SEEMS OUT OF REACH
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By John WagnerWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, December 26, 2007; B01 Advocates of repealing Maryland‘s death penalty are hopeful that New Jersey‘s landmark decision to end capital punishment will provide momentum heading into next month‘s legislative session. But interviews with key lawmakers su >>>


      SOONER OR LATER, CANDIDATES WILL SURELY LOOK LOST
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     2007; C01 They have become a useful, though very tricky, class of images in this roller–coaster ride of a presidential campaign. Call them the "hangdog" candidate photographs: They capture the politician with eyes downcast, looking tired, stressed. When the headline is about poll numbers dropping, fundra >>>


      THE END OF FREE TRADE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     Here‘s today quiz. What do the following have in common: (a) Vladimir Putin; (b) China‘s currency, the renminbi; (c) the U.S.–Peru trade agreement; and (d) Hugo Ch¿vez? Answer: They all reflect the "new mercantilism." It‘s an ominous development affecting the world economy >>>


      3 DEAD, 1 SURVIVOR IN PANAMA PLANE CRASH
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM PANAMA CITY, Panama –– Rescuers in a remote, mountainous region of Panama were struggling to evacuate a 12–year–old American girl, the only survivor of a small plane crash that killed a California businessman, his teenage daughter and their Panamanian pilot.

The bodies of Michael Klei >>>


      78 FEARED DEAD IN INDONESIAN LANDSLIDES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     JAKARTA, Indonesia –– Rescuers dug for survivors Wednesday after landslides and floods triggered by days of torrential rain killed dozens of people in western Indonesia.

At least 78 people were feared dead _ most of them killed in a single landslide in the Karanganyar district that buried a late&nda >>>


      A PLACE FOR SOME TIME AWAY
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Molly MooreWashington Post Foreign ServiceWednesday, December 26, 2007; A14 AVIGNON, France Interested in opening a luxury hotel in the heart of Provence? Check out this real estate offering by the French government: "Exceptional location at the foot of the Palace of the Popes, view of the Rhone River, 10,280 sq >>>


      BANGLADESH STARTS TRIAL OF EX–PM FOR EXTORTION
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     DHAKA (Reuters) – A Bangladesh court started prosecution on Wednesday against detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina for alleged extortion.

"The hearing has just begun over one of the two extortion charges, in the presence of lawyers, officials and reporters," a court official said without >>>


      BLAST ROCKS PHILIPPINE LAWMAKER‘S HOME
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     MANILA, Philippines –– At least seven people were hurt, some badly, when an explosion rocked a lawmaker‘s house in the northern Philippines in what may have been an accident or an attack by a political rival, police said Wednesday.

Three sons of House Rep. Cecille Luna were among those hurt at >>>


      CHAD COURT SENTENCES FRENCH TO 8 YEARS FORCED LABOR
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     N‘DJAMENA (Reuters) – A court in Chad on Wednesday sentenced six French aid workers to eight years of forced labor after finding them guilty of trying to kidnap 103 children from the African country, officials said.

The court in the capital N‘Djamena handed down its sentence on the fourth day >>>


      CHAVEZ: COLOMBIA HOSTAGES MAY BE FREED
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     CARACAS, Venezuela –– President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he hopes three hostages will be freed by Colombian rebels within hours, and that Venezuela has planes and helicopters ready to retrieve them.

"The only thing we need is the authorization of the Colombian government," Chavez sa >>>


      CHINA MOVES TO STEM FEARS AS ENERGY NEEDS GROW
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     10:55 AM BEIJING, Dec. 26 –– China pledged Wednesday that its worldwide search for oil and gas to power a booming economy will be carried out in a spirit of fair play and international cooperation so as not to disrupt sensitive international markets.

The promise came in a government white paper, one >>>


      CHINA PROMISES TO PROMOTE CLEAN ENERGY
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BEIJING –– China promised Wednesday to develop renewable energy for its fast–growing economy but warned that coal consumption will grow dramatically and avoided embracing binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions.

In a report on its energy plans, the government announced no new initiative >>>


      CHINA VOWS TO DEVELOP CLEAN ENERGIES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BEIJING –– China promised Wednesday to develop renewable energy for its fast–growing economy but warned that coal consumption will grow dramatically and avoided embracing binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions.

In a report on its energy plans, the government announced no new initiative >>>


      CHINESE POLICE REPORT MORE SEIZURES OF PARTY DRUGS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese police seizures of party drugs have more than doubled this year, the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, reflecting the increasing use of such drugs.

In the first 11 months of the year, Chinese police detained 60,000 suspects, netting 2 million Ecstasy tablets, 6.2 tons of &q >>>


      DEBUTANTE SLOVENIA STEPS INTO EU SPOTLIGHT
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     LJUBLJANA (Reuters) – In 1''', Texas governor George W. Bush publicly confused Slovenia with Slovakia at a time when both belonged to a group of ex–communist east European states striving to join the European Union.

Since then, Bush has become president of the United States, while Sloven >>>


      DOG OWNER TAKES ON CHINA‘S WEB CENSORS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Edward CodyWashington Post Foreign ServiceWednesday, December 26, 2007; A18 BEIJING, Dec. 25 –– Outraged that his Internet posting about dogs had been banned, Chen Yuhua wrote to the mayor of Beijing. No answer. He wrote to the city council. Still no answer. When all else failed, he consulted a lawyer, st >>>


      DOZENS DIE IN PIPELINE FIRE IN NIGERIA
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM IGBAGBON, Nigeria –– A ruptured gasoline pipeline exploded in flames, killing at least 34 people near Nigeria‘s main city of Lagos as they tried to scoop fuel from the gushing leak, police said Wednesday. A witness said he saw 40 bodies.

The explosion, on a pipeline that carries imported ga >>>


      FRENCH AID WORKERS GET 8 YEARS LABOR
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     N‘DJAMENA, Chad –– A Chadian court sentenced six French aid workers to eight years of forced labor Wednesday after finding them guilty of trying to kidnap 103 African children and bring them to Europe.

The sentence was announced on the fourth day of the trial. The defendants, who work for the >>>


      HORSES AND HUNGER, AN AMERICAN WOMAN‘S LIFE IN IRAN
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     GHARA TEPE SHEIKH, Iran (Reuters) – American Louise Firouz made Iran her home half a century ago. Now 75, she runs a stud farm in the remote northeast and has watched the turbulent transformation of her adopted country from U.S.–ally to arch foe.

She moved to Tehran in the 1'50s to marry a young >>>


      INDONESIA MARKS THREE YEARS AFTER ASIAN TSUNAMI
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     CALANG, Indonesia (Reuters) – Hundreds of Indonesians prayed at mass graves in Aceh province on Wednesday to remember relatives who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami three years ago.

On December 26, 2004, giant waves triggered by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded pulverized villages along >>>


      IRAN NEEDS NO URANIUM ENRICHMENT: RUSSIA‘S LAVROV
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia‘s delivery of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr power station makes it unnecessary for Iran to pursue its enrichment program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Lavrov, interviewed by the Moscow daily Vremya Novostei, also said any suggestio >>>


      IRAN, MALAYSIA SIGN $16 BILLION OIL DEAL
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ':50 AM TEHRAN, Iran –– Iran and Malaysia signed a $16 billion agreement to develop two Iranian gas fields, state–run television reported Wednesday, describing the deal as the largest energy contract in Iran.

Iran‘s Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) and Malaysia‘s SKS Ventures si >>>


      IRAQI HAIRDRESSERS FORCED UNDERGROUND
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BAGHDAD, Iraq –– Umm Doha cuts hair and waxes eyebrows in secret from her living room because making women look pretty can get a person killed in her Sunni–dominated Baghdad neighborhood.

Hardline Muslim extremists who believe it is sinful for women to appear beautiful in public have forced ma >>>


      ISRAEL‘S BARAK MAKES FENCE–MENDING VISIT TO EGYPT
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak makes a fence–mending visit to Egypt on Wednesday after Israel‘s foreign minister accused Cairo of jeopardizing regional stability by failing to stop arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip.

Egypt, the first Arab country to recognize the Jewish >>>


      JEWISH BODY IN IRAN SAYS NOT INVOLVED IN EMIGRATION
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     TEHRAN (Reuters) – A prominent Jewish group in Iran sought to distance itself on Wednesday from a secretive exodus to Israel by a group of 40 Jews.

A joint statement by the Jewish association in Tehran and the community‘s member of parliament, carried by the official IRNA news agency, rejected any s >>>


      LANDSLIDES LEAVE UP TO 81 DEAD OR MISSING IN INDONESIA
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     JAKARTA (Reuters) – Landslides and floods caused by torrential rains have left up to 81 people dead or missing in Indonesia‘s Central Java province, police and rescue officials said on Wednesday.

A provincial official said the landslides were the worst to hit the region in quarter of a century as th >>>


      MUSHARRAF, KARZAI PLEDGE TO FIGHT TERROR
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ISLAMABAD, Pakistan –– The presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan pledged Wednesday to increase the cooperation of their intelligence agencies and tighten border controls in an effort to crack down on Taliban and al–Qaida–linked militants along the two countries‘ chaotic border region.
>>>


      NEPAL RESUMES SEARCH FOR MISSING IN BRIDGE COLLAPSE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Rescuers searched on Wednesday for scores of people missing after a suspension bridge collapsed into a river in west Nepal, killing at least 15 people, mostly women and children, police said.

Dozens of survivors had been found after the accident near Chhinchu village on Tuesday, loca >>>


      OUT OF IRAQ: THE HAVES, HAVE–NOTS AND DOGS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     2007; C01 The last time I was in Baghdad, I‘d gone to fetch my dog. Wiley had stayed with me for most of the two years I‘d been based in Iraq as a reporter, and now, 10 months after my departure, it was time for Wiley to leave, too.

But as my taxi pulled up to Baghdad International Airport, with Wil >>>


      POPULATION OF NEW ORLEANS APPROACHES 300,000
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     Associated PressWednesday, December 26, 2007; A11 NEW ORLEANS –– Despite slow progress in rebuilding some neighborhoods, New Orleans‘s population is nearing 300,000, or about 65 percent of its pre–Hurricane Katrina size, a new report says.

The report, compiled by urban planning consultan >>>


      RUSSIAN PLANE CROSSES INTO FINNISH AIRSPACE: FINLAND
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland‘s border guard is investigating why a Russian aircraft crossed into Finnish airspace on Wednesday, the second such incident this year, Finland‘s defense ministry said.

A Russian Tu–154 entered half a km (500 yards) into the Finnish airspace at 10.55–10. >>>


      RUSSIAN SHIP RESUPPLIES SPACE STATION
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     MOSCOW –– An unmanned Russian cargo ship carrying 2 tons of supplies including holiday gifts, docked Wednesday at the international space station, officials said.

The Progress M–62, which lifted off Sunday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, docked at the orbiting outpost at 11:14 a.m. >>>


      SAFER BAGHDAD ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR FILM FESTIVAL
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Behind concrete blast walls and battling a flickering power supply, Baghdad‘s international film festival opened in a hotel on Wednesday in another sign of how improved security is bringing life back to the city.

There was even a red carpet rolled out, but guests to the event las >>>


      SHIITE CONTEST SHARPENS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     26, 2007; A01 KARBALA, Iraq –– Posted at the door of Shiite cleric Moqtada al–Sadr‘s office recently, a flier denounced the arrest of his followers. Up and down the barricaded street, soldiers and policemen loyal to his Shiite rivals stood sentry, some in tan armored personnel carriers, questioni >>>


      SINGAPORE, TAIWAN TRADE BARBS OVER U.N. REFERENDUM
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     TAIPEI (Reuters) – Singapore and its close informal ally Taiwan traded barbs this week over a Taiwan referendum asking voters about United Nations membership, with Singapore calling the move "provocative" and "irresponsible." China, which has claimed sovereignty over self–ruled Taiwan sin >>>


      SKOREA FINDS POSSIBLE SUNKEN SHIP
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM SEOUL, South Korea –– An object that South Korean rescuers believe is the underwater wreckage of a cargo ship that disappeared with 14 sailors lay too deep to raise immediately, officials said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the search continued for the missing sailors. The ship, carrying 2,000 tons of nit >>>


      SOMALI GUNMEN KIDNAP 2 AID WORKERS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     MOGADISHU, Somalia –– Gunmen in northern Somalia kidnapped two foreign women working for the aid group Doctors Without Borders on Wednesday, officials and a witness said.

"Two foreign aid workers were kidnapped," said Abdirahman Mohamed Bangah, the information minister in the Puntland regi >>>


      SURVIVORS REMEMBER TSUNAMI 3 YEARS ON
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     2:01 AM CALANG, Indonesia –– Survivors prayed at mass graves and mosques Wednesday to mark the third anniversary of the Asian tsunami, while warning sirens sent hundreds fleeing beaches during a drill to test an alert network established since the disaster.

The waves on the morning of Dec. 26, 2004, >>>


      THE SAVAGE SILENCING OF MEXICO‘S MUSICIANS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     By Manuel Roig–FranziaWashington Post Foreign ServiceWednesday, December 26, 2007; A01 MORELIA, Mexico –– Sergio Gómez roared into town in a big SUV, entourage in tow, pressed suits, fancy cowboy boots.

Everything about him said superstar. He had an international following, an impish sm >>>


      TURKISH JETS STRIKE KURDISH REBEL BASES
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ANKARA, Turkey –– Turkish warplanes on Wednesday hit eight suspected Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq, the military said, the latest in Turkey‘s moves against separatists who have often used neighboring Iraq to stage attacks.

No rebel deaths were immediately reported. The warplanes stru >>>


      TURKISH WOMAN DIES FROM ISTANBUL BOMB WOUNDS
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Turkish woman who was injured along with seven other people in a bomb blast in Istanbul on Tuesday has died from her wounds, state–run Anatolian news agency said on Wednesday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the percussion bomb, which exploded in the Kucukcekmece distric >>>


      VIETNAM SUSPECTS BIRD FLU KILLED YOUNG CHILD
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     HANOI (Reuters) – Doctors suspect bird flu may have killed a four–year–old child in northern Vietnam, state–run radio said on Wednesday.

A Health Ministry official told a government meeting on Tuesday the child had a fever and serious pneumonia after eating chicken which died of unknown >>>


      VIETNAMESE MAN SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     AM HANOI, Vietnam –– A Vietnamese man set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of the land where he lived that authorities said belonged to the government, police and state media reported Wednesday.

Hoang Huu Hanh, 53, soaked himself with gasoline and lit a match Tuesday when police pulled do >>>


      WORLD IN BRIEF
      Washington Post, 26-12-2007
     IRAQ Turkey: Strikes Killed Scores of Rebel Kurds Two Turkish airstrikes this month destroyed more than 200 Kurdish rebel targets in the mountains of northern Iraq, killing scores of guerrillas, the Turkish military said Tuesday.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the military said that as many as 175 rebel >>>


      BREAD TO RISE AGAIN
      Haaretz, 26-12-2007
     By Ora Coren Government–regulated bread prices are expected to increase in early 2008 by 10% after the recent rise of 10.6%. However horrifying consumers may find that prospect, they should stand comforted: A representative for the bakeries in their negotiations with the state said that the bakeries are demanding >>>


      BUSINESS GROUP SECRETLY FORMING TO BUY HAIFA PORT WHEN PRIVATIZED
      Haaretz, 26-12-2007
     Real Estate Easy Start Travel Week‘s End Anglo File Hanukkah del.icio.us Digg It! new Last update – 02:5' 26/12/2007 Business group secretly forming to buy Haifa port when privatized By Avi Bar–Eli The Chamber of Commerce of Haifa and the North is secretly forming a group of businessmen to buy out >>>


      BUSINESS IN BRIEF
      Haaretz, 26-12-2007
     Real Estate Easy Start Travel Week‘s End Anglo File Hanukkah del.icio.us Digg It! new Last update – 02:5' 26/12/2007 Business in Brief Mizrahi replacing Hirchson crony at Yahav Advertisement Bank Mizrahi–Tefahot is replacing the top brass at Bank Yahav, which it bought from Bank Hapoalim two months >>>



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