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      MOBILY EXPANDS NEQATI PROGRAM WITH NEW PARTNERS
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Arab News RIYADH: Mobily announced yesterday that Diet Center, a health food chain, and Maghrabi Optics, have joined its list of strategic partners in the Neqati program.

Subscribers to the program can turn their accumulated points into cash, allowing them to get into a diet and buy health food from Diet Center >>>


      SAMA PLANS NEW INSURANCE REGULATIONS
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Arab News RIYADH: In an effort to preempt the potential occurrence of fraud in the Kingdom’s insurance sector, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) plans to introduce a new set of regulations, Al–Eqtisadiah daily reported yesterday.

The new statutes, which are to be implemented early next month, will >>>


      COMMISSION AGREES TO FOSTER DIALOGUE CULTURE
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Sultan Al–Tamimi | Arab News JEDDAH: King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) and the General Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice signed in Riyadh yesterday a memorandum of understanding to reinforce and develop a culture of dialogue.

«The impor >>>


      GACA TO IMPOSE NEW SAFETY REGULATIONS
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Arab News JEDDAH: Passengers traveling through international airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Madinah will not be allowed from Jan. 12 to carry liquid, gelatinous and compressed materials in their hand baggage, it was announced yesterday.

&#34We&#3'll impose this regulation on Jan. 12 in coope >>>


      HEAD–ON COLLISION KILLS 2 IN YANBU
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Muhammad Al–Sheikh | Arab News YANBU: Two Saudi drivers died when their cars collided 18 kilometers outside Yanbu yesterday. A spokesman of the Madinah Civil Defense said that the two vehicles — a pickup truck and a Hyundai sedan — crashed head–on and that the drivers died on the spot.
>>>


      HOSPITAL TO HOST WORKSHOP ON DOMESTIC ABUSE
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Hassna’a Mokhtar | Arab News JEDDAH: The Family Protection Society, an organization dedicated to helping and dealing with cases of domestic violence, is hosting the first of its kind training workshop on the subject of domestic violence at Jeddah’s Maternity and Children’s Hospital on Wednesday.

The workshop is >>>


      INTERNET WOES MAY LAST THROUGH DECEMBER
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Molouk Y. Ba–Isa | Arab News ALKHOBAR: A terse missive was put out through Saudi Aramco’s intranet, the company’s internal network, yesterday morning.

«The Internet has not been available since Friday afternoon for all business and home users,» it read. «Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) is curren >>>


      KINGDOM DENIES COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATIONS IN HAJ
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Samir Al–Saadi | Arab News JEDDAH: The Ministry of Interior has denied reports published in a Washington–based online newspaper that Saudi officials had launched a massive crackdown on Al–Qaeda terrorists who were allegedly planning to attack pilgrims participating in this year’s Haj.

The Midd >>>


      NO BURIAL FOR MURDERED STUDENT UNTIL AUTOPSY
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Arab News JEDDAH: Imtihan, the 1'–year–old girl who was allegedly murdered last week by her father because she wanted to study medicine, will not be buried until the forensics team has completed a post–mortem examination.

More details of the gruesome murder emerged yesterday. The girl’s st >>>


      SAUDI WOMEN LEARN TO LIVE IN LIBERAL EUROPE
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Najah Alosaimi | Arab News «The interviewers (for the aviation degree program in Holland) asked me how I could be trusted as a Saudi with an aviation license. I tried to convince them that Saudis are peaceful people,» said Abeer Al–Nasir.

RIYADH: At the immigration check at Amsterdam’s Schipho >>>


      SIDELIGHTS: LEWD LAD IN LOCK–UP
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Arab News SAMITAH, Jizan: A shopowner and some bystanders decided to teach a young man some manners in this town after the lewd lad was seen harassing a young woman. According to yesterday’s Al–Madinah newspaper, the man was tailing the woman in the town’s Souq Al–Thahab, repeatedly asking her to take his nu >>>


      STEPS TAKEN TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF FOREIGN WORKERS: LABOR MINISTRY
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour | Arab News JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has taken a series of measures to protect the rights of foreign guest workers in the country, the Ministry of Labor said in a statement yesterday on the occasion of World Human Rights Day, which is celebrated on Dec. 10 every year.

«We have set up a depa >>>


      WOMEN DEMAND PERMANENT POSITIONS ON TAWAFAH BOARDS
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Badea Abu Al– Naja | Arab News FOR A CAUSE: Awatif Katoua MAKKAH: Most women officials of Tawafah establishments demand that they should be represented with a woman member on the boards of directors of the five Tawafah establishments that look after Haj and Umrah pilgrims annually.

The women workers also >>>


      INTERPOL OFFERS HELP IN ATTACKS PROBE
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Nilofar Suhrawardy | Arab News NEW DELHI: The chief of global police agency Interpol met Indian officials yesterday and pledged assistance in a probe into last month’s attacks in Mumbai by gunmen whom India insists came from Pakistan.

Ronald Noble met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and promised help in securing d >>>


      IRAQI MPS REJECT EXTENSION FOR BRITISH TROOPS
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     AP BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Parliament yesterday rejected for a second time a draft law allowing foreign troops from countries other than the United States, including Britain, to remain after the end of the year, lawmakers said.

The draft law, which was rejected in a voice vote, would allow all foreign troops other than >>>


      MUMBAI HOTELS REOPEN TODAY
      Arab News, 21-12-2008
     Reuters MUMBAI: Final preparations were under way for the reopening of the two luxury hotels stormed by terrorists, amid tight security and pledges to return to business as usual.

The modern wing of the Taj and all of the nearby Trident Hotel are due to relaunch today, less than a month after the devastating at >>>


      ABOUT THE AP PROJECT ‘HOMEFRONT HAMLET‘
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     1:54 PM –– The 30th Heavy Brigade of the North Carolina National Guard is headed back to Iraq, a deployment will take fathers and son, colleagues and co–workers, away from home at a time the nation is experiencing an economic crisis unseen for a generation.

Among those leaving are the 76 comba >>>


      AP STUDY FINDS $1.6B WENT TO BAILED–OUT BANK EXECS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     2008; 8:26 AM –– Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them >>>


      BIDEN TO OVERSEE EFFORTS AIMED AT MIDDLE CLASS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     WASHINGTON –– Vice President–elect Joe Biden will oversee a task force that will make recommendations on how to build the ranks of the middle class, that ambiguously defined segment of society in which most Americans identify themselves.

Biden said the task force will include other Cabinet mem >>>


      CHENEY DEFENDS HIS TENURE, ADMINSTRATION‘S ACTIONS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     PM Vice President Cheney offered an unabashed defense of the Bush administration‘s claims of broad executive powers today, mocking criticism from Vice President–elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and saying the president "doesn‘t have to check with anybody" before launching a nuclear attack.

>>>


      CHENEY SAYS CONGRESS FAILED STRUGGLING AUTOMAKERS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     PM WASHINGTON –– Vice President Dick Cheney blamed Congress for failing to bail out the auto industry, saying the White House was forced to step in to save U.S. car companies.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Cheney said the economy is in such bad shape that the car companies might not have survive >>>


      CHENEY: AUTO PROBLEMS ULTIMATELY FALLS TO OBAMA
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     WASHINGTON –– Vice President Dick Cheney says it ultimately will be up to the new Obama administration to resolve the crisis in the U.S. auto industry.

Cheney says it‘s a difficult problem and that President George W. Bush has done his best to manage it. It was just on Friday when Bush ordered >>>


      CHINA PROTESTS LATEST U.S. TRADE CASE AT WTO
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Sunday it had consistently respected the rules of the World Trade Organization and would work with the WTO on a suit lodged against it by the United States aimed at halting export subsidy programs.

The United States began legal action at the WTO on Friday to halt Chinese >>>


      DESERT WIND BLOWS HEALTH RISKS FROM CALIF MINES
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     RANDSBURG, Calif. –– Heaps of toxic mine waste rise like church steeples over this wind–swept desert town, threatening the health of residents and of thousands of off–road bikers.

Tests on dust samples have revealed some of the highest arsenic levels in the country _ as much as 460,000 t >>>


      DESPITE AGREEMENT, HAWAII TEACHERS RESIST DRUG TESTING
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     HONOLULU, Dec. 20 –– Hawaii public school teachers signed off on first–in–the–nation statewide random drug testing in exchange for pay raises, but now the state claims the educators are trying to take the money and run.

Since the teachers‘ union approved the pact nearly two y >>>


      FORT DIX PLOT CASE JURY DELIBERATES FOR 5TH DAY
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     CAMDEN, N.J. –– The jurors deciding the fate of a group of men accused of planning to attack soldiers at the Army‘s Fort Dix have resumed their deliberations for a fifth day in Camden, N.J.

The panel returned to work Sunday morning. In their first 30 hours of deliberations, the jurors had aske >>>


      HAWAII CHEVROLET DEALER CRUSHES AUTO COMPETITION
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     HILO, Hawaii –– A Hilo Chevrolet dealer who tried to crush his Asian auto competition found the stunt a little harder to pull off than expected.

Island Chevrolet general sales manager James Severtson arranged for a Chevrolet Suburban SUV outfitted with massive tires costing $5,000 apiece to drive ov >>>


      HUMANIST PARENTS SEEK COMMUNION OUTSIDE CHURCH
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     A10 BOSTON –– They are not religious, so they don‘t go to church. But they are searching for values and rituals with which to raise their children, as well as a community of like–minded people to offer support.

Dozens of parents came together on a recent Saturday to participate in a semi >>>


      MEDICAID APPLICANTS GROW AS RECESSION WIDENS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     WASHINGTON –– That day in July was one that Tammy Morse won‘t soon forget. Five months earlier, her husband lost his job as a recruiter for the financial services industry. Once the family savings were gone, the mother of two from Stratford, Conn., saw no way to get health insurance coverage for her fa >>>


      MOTHER, KIDS SHOT TO DEATH IN DALLAS HOME
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     DALLAS –– A mother and her two young children were found shot to death Friday, possibly by the mother who may have also staged a series of attacks on the family over the last two weeks, police said.

Police responding to a report of gunfire found the bodies of 4'–year–old Jeanmarie Ge >>>


      MUCH HAS CHANGED ALONG PRESIDENTIAL TRAIN ROUTE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     ABOARD AMTRAK 181 NORTHEAST REGIONAL –– The centuries–old right of way between Philadelphia and Washington is marked by shimmering waterways and industrial sprawl, well–kept suburbs and urban blight.

President–elect Barack Obama won‘t be sharing a ride with thousands of long& >>>


      NC TOWN FIGHTS FEARS AS ITS TROOPS DEPLOY AGAIN
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     2008; 1:54 PM HAMLET, N.C. –– Christian Tyler knew exactly how to get ready for her first day of school: She slipped into her uniform, poured a bowl of Apple Jacks and plopped down on the living room couch to watch cartoons and wait for her dad.

The '–year–old knew nothing about what >>>


      NEW STORM SWEEPS IN FROM WEST, CHALLENGES TRAVEL
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     SEATTLE –– A fierce winter storm blew in from the Pacific, bringing up to 2 feet of snow, icy wind and a nightmare for holiday travelers already stymied by winter‘s dance across the northern half of the country.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain caused treacherous driving conditions throughout the >>>


      OBAMA‘S ELECTION VOTED TOP NEWS STORY OF 2008
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     NEW YORK –– The epic election that made Barack Obama the first African–American president was the top news story of 2008 _ followed closely by the economic meltdown that will test his leadership, according to U.S. editors and news directors voting in The Associated Press‘ annual poll.

Th >>>


      OBAMAS RENT BEACH HOME IN LOW–KEY HAWAII TOWN
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     KAILUA, Hawaii –– While on vacation in Hawaii, the Obama family is staying in a $' million single–story oceanfront home in a pricey but laid–back neighborhood over the mountain from downtown Honolulu where the president–elect grew up.

The five–bedroom wood frame house sit >>>


      PASSENGER JET GOES OFF DENVER RUNWAY; 38 HURT
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     AM DENVER –– A Continental Airlines jet taking off from Denver veered off the runway into a ravine Saturday night, forcing passengers to evacuate on emergency slides as the plane burned, officials said. Two people were critically injured and 36 others were taken to hospitals.

Denver Fire Department >>>


      PASTOR RICK WARREN DEFENDS INVITE TO INAUGURATION
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     LONG BEACH, Calif. –– Under fire for opposing gay marriage, influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren said Saturday that he loves Muslims, people of other religions, Republicans and Democrats, and he also loves "gays and straights." The 54–year–old pastor and founder of Saddleback Chur >>>


      QUESTIONS LINGER IN DEADLY SAN DIEGO JET CRASH
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     21, 2008; 1:40 PM LOS ANGELES –– Two weeks after a Marine Corps plane slammed into a San Diego residential area, killing four people, questions have arisen about the decision to direct the hobbled fighter over homes to an inland airfield when a nearby base offered a route across open water.

The caus >>>


      SQUEEZED ON ALL SIDES, PARENTS FORGO DAY CARE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Donna St. GeorgeWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 21, 2008; A01 In the Prince George‘s County community of Riverdale Park, town officials have noted a distressing sign of the national economic downturn: more children left home alone to fend for themselves by working parents too strapped to afford chi >>>


      TODAY IN HISTORY – DEC. 21
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     12:02 AM –– Today is Sunday, Dec. 21, the 356th day of 2008. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter will arrive at 7:04 a.m. Eastern time. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.

Today‘s Highlight in History: On Dec. 21, 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore fo >>>


      TOYMAKERS ASSAIL COSTS OF NEW LAW
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Lyndsey Layton and Annys ShinWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 21, 2008; A03 Selecta, a German toymaker, carves whimsical cars and characters from native woods, colors them with vegetable dyes and coats them in silky beeswax.

No lead, no toxic varnishes. Not even waste –– the company >>>


      BUSH E–MAILS MAY BE SECRET A BIT LONGER
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By R. Jeffrey SmithWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 21, 2008; A01 The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House‘s electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, >>>


      GOWN & COUNTRY
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Robin GivhanWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 21, 2008; M06 It‘s no exaggeration to say that any American designer would be thrilled to create an inaugural gown for Michelle Obama. The dress she wears to the official balls will be enshrined in history. If tradition holds, it will be donated to the Fi >>>


      OBAMA EXPANDS STIMULUS GOALS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Lori MontgomeryWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 21, 2008; A01 President–elect Barack Obama has expanded his goals for a massive federal stimulus package to keep pace with the increasingly grim economic outlook, aiming to create or preserve at least 3 million jobs over the next two years.

Th >>>


      OPTIMISM HIGH ABOUT OBAMA POLICIES, POLL FINDS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Jon Cohen and Jennifer AgiestaWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 21, 2008; A01 Most Americans are optimistic about the policies that Barack Obama will pursue when he becomes the country‘s 44th president next month, according to a new Washington Post–ABC News poll, and there is a widespread publ >>>


      THE GREENROOM
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Manuel Roig–FranziaWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 21,
2008; M01 Washington, this city of grand monuments and sweeping corner offices, shrinks to human scale in the Greenroom. It‘s tight in there, backstage in the little lounges at the big shows, waiting to go on air with Wolf or George o >>>


      TINY STATE, HUGE PAIN
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     A02 PROVIDENCE, R.I. –– Tiny Rhode Island, America‘s geographically smallest state and the first of the original colonies to declare independence from British rule, recently added another, less favorable distinction: It has the second–highest unemployment rate in the country.

Eleven stra >>>


      ' DECAPITATED BODIES FOUND IN SOUTHERN MEXICO
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     ACAPULCO, Mexico –– Mexican authorities say they have found the decapitated bodies of nine men in the southern state of Guerrero. Some have been identified as soldiers.

State Public Safety Secretary Juan Salinas Altes says the bodies were found on a major boulevard in the state capital, Chilpancingo >>>


      AMSTERDAM‘S GAY CHRISTMAS FEATURES MARY IN DRAG
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     AMSTERDAM, Netherlands –– Amsterdam hosted a Christmas celebration for its gay community on Sunday featuring a nativity tableau with a male Mary in drag that church organizations denounced as an affront to traditional values.

Organizers said the event was meant to raise Amsterdam‘s profile as >>>


      AUSTRALIA LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON EX–GITMO DETAINEE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     SYDNEY, Australia –– Authorities on Sunday lifted the last remaining restrictions on an Australian man who spent more than five years as an inmate at Guantanamo Bay and admitted to supporting terrorism.

David Hicks, a 33–year–old ex–kangaroo skinner and Outback cowboy, was held in >>>


      CANADA, ONTARIO TO PROVIDE $3.2' BILLION IN AUTOMAKER LOANS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     TORONTO, Dec. 20 –– The federal and Ontario governments will provide the Canadian subsidiaries of General Motors and Chrysler with $3.2' billion in emergency loans, the prime minister said Saturday.

The announcement follows a pledge Friday by President Bush to offer $17.4 billion in emergency lo >>>


      CASH–STRAPPED CONSUMERS FIND A WAY INTO DRIVER‘S SEATS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     A16 JOHANNESBURG –– It‘s the holiday season, and here that means quiet. Residents flee this sun–scorched metropolis for the coasts, shops close, and chaotic roads grow calm.

But at a warehouse off a suburban freeway on a recent Saturday morning, things were anything but calm. Cars were d >>>


      CHINA TO SEND 3 SHIPS TO SOMALIA TO BATTLE PIRATES
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     BEIJING –– China‘s navy will send three ships to the waters off Somalia this week to protect Chinese vessels and crews from pirate attacks, state media said.

Two destroyers and a supply ship will leave the island province of Hainan in southern China on Dec. 26, the official Xinhua News Agency >>>


      CHRISTMAS BLEAK FOR ZIMBABWEANS FLEEING COLLAPSE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     JOHANNESBURG, South Africa –– The last Sunday before Christmas was celebrated with a carol service in a downtown Johannesburg church that has become a haven for hundreds of Zimbabweans who have fled their nation‘s collapse.

While songs in her native Shona and other southern African languages w >>>


      CONGO REBELS ROW BACK FROM OWN CEASEFIRE AT TALKS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     NAIROBI (Reuters) – Rebel negotiators at talks to end a four–year conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have not recommitted to an existing ceasefire, mediators said on Sunday.

Laurent Nkunda‘s Tutsi rebels have routed the Congolese forces of President Joseph Kabila, captured large >>>


      DEPOSED MAURITANIAN PRESIDENT FREED
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     21, 2008; 11:44 AM NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania –– The deposed president of Mauritania was set free Sunday after 4 1/2 months under house arrest and immediately began working to retake power from the junta that overthrew him, a spokesman said.

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was meeting in his home village wit >>>


      DEPOSED MAURITANIAN PRESIDENT TAKEN FROM HIS HOME
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     21, 2008; 1:0' AM NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania –– Security forces early Sunday forcibly removed Mauritania‘s recently deposed president from the village where he had been under house arrest, his daughter said.

A police official confirmed that police were given orders to take ousted President Sid >>>


      EXTRADITION OF TERROR SUSPECTS FOUNDERS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Craig WhitlockWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 21, 2008; A01 SOUTH LITTLETON, England –– Soon after al–Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1''8, a U.S. federal judge issued a warrant for Khalid al–Fawwaz, an accused conspirator in the attacks and a confidan >>>


      GAZA MILITANTS HIT ISRAELI HOUSE WITH ROCKET
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     SDEROT, Israel (Reuters) – A rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Hamas–controlled Gaza Strip struck a house in southern Israel on Sunday as cross–border violence escalated after a six–month–old truce expired last week.

No one was injured in the rocket attack in the town of >>>


      GAZA MILITANTS LAUNCH MORE ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     JERUSALEM –– Barrages of rockets fired from Gaza hit Israeli towns Sunday and the Israeli air force responded with a missile strike as violence surged after the expiration of a shaky truce.

Israeli rescue services said one rocket struck a house in the town of Sderot, but no injuries were reported. A >>>


      INDIA DEBATES SIEGE SUSPECT‘S LEGAL RIGHTS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Emily WaxWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 21, 2008; A16 NEW DELHI, Dec. 20 –– First, a prominent bar association passed a resolution telling its members not to represent Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in last month‘s attacks in Mumbai. Then, the home of a noted criminal l >>>


      IRAN SHUTS OFFICE OF NOBEL WINNER‘S RIGHTS GROUP
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     PM TEHRAN, Iran –– Iranian authorities shut down the office of a human rights group led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi on Sunday as the group was preparing to honor a political activist who spent 17 years in prison in the Islamic republic.

Iranian authorities banned Ebadi‘s Center fo >>>


      MAURITANIA JUNTA FREES PRESIDENT FROM HOUSE ARREST
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) – Mauritania‘s military junta on Sunday freed the country‘s ousted President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi from house arrest, his supporters said.

The leaders of the August 6 coup which toppled Abdallahi, the Western Saharan Islamic state‘s first democratically& >>>


      MUMBAI‘S OBEROI HOTEL REOPENS WITH PRAYERS
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     MUMBAI, India –– Tight security and hopeful prayer were part of a multi–faith ceremony held Sunday to mark the reopening of Mumbai‘s Oberoi hotel three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage.

The simple ceremony, held in the lobby of the reopened hotel, included Hindu, Muslim, >>>


      NEW DELHI RECLAIMS PUBLIC SPACE VIA ART
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     By Rama LakshmiWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, December 21, 2008; A23 NEW DELHI, Dec. 20 –– For the past 10 days, residents of India‘s bustling capital have found large and often strange–looking objects along their daily paths: a giant steel bucket mounted on a wooden stand, a tree hanging >>>


      NINE MEN DECAPITATED IN MEXICO DRUG VIOLENCE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican police found nine decapitated bodies on Sunday in a city near the tourist resort of Acapulco, and at least some of the victims might have been soldiers who were battling against powerful drug gangs.

The bodies of the men, which were marked with signs of torture, were left o >>>


      POLICE BEAT PEOPLE CELEBRATING HOLIDAY IN RUSSIA
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     VLADIVOSTOK, Russia –– Riot police have beaten and detained dozens of people who gathered for a holiday celebration in Russia‘s largest Pacific port.

The incident in Vladivostok comes one day after hundreds rallied to protest a government decision to increase car import tariffs.

Polic >>>


      POLICE RAIDS IRAN NOBEL LAUREATE‘S OFFICE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian police on Sunday raided and closed the office of a watchdog group led by Iran‘s Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi ahead of a celebration to mark International Human Rights Day.

Iran‘s judiciary confirmed the closure of the Human Rights Defenders Center, saying it >>>


      PRAYERS AND FLOWERS MARK MUMBAI HOTEL OPENING
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indians of Muslim and Hindu faiths held roses and chanted religious verses to mark the reopening of Mumbai‘s Trident hotel on Sunday, three weeks after it was damaged in a militant attack.

Police with sniffer dogs patrolled outside the hotel, which welcomed guests for the first ti >>>


      REPORT: 60 SRI LANKAN SOLDIERS KILLED IN FIGHTING
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     COLOMBO, Sri Lanka –– Tamil Tiger rebels killed 60 Sri Lankan troops advancing toward their de facto capital, a pro–rebel report said, but the government denied Sunday that many soldiers had died.

Meanwhile, the government said that its troops captured the strategic village of Nedunkerni in th >>>


      U.S. MIGHT DOUBLE AFGHANISTAN FORCE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     KABUL, Dec. 20 –– The top U.S. military officer said Saturday that the Pentagon could double the number of American forces in Afghanistan by summer to 60,000 –– the largest estimate of potential reinforcements ever publicly suggested.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of >>>


      U.S. SAYS GOVERNMENT WILL NOT WORK WITH MUGABE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     PRETORIA (Reuters) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reneged on a power–sharing deal and the United States will no longer support a government that includes him, a top U.S. envoy said on Sunday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer told reporters in Pretoria Mugabe was "compl >>>


      US GENERAL SAYS TROOPS WILL REPLACE BRITS IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     AM BASRA, Iraq –– American troops will move into southern Iraq early next year to replace departing British forces, the top U.S. general in Iraq said.

The news came as Iraq‘s parliament rejected a draft law requiring all foreign troops other than Americans to depart by July.

Britain s >>>


      US: ZIMBABWE UNITY DEAL CAN‘T WORK WITH MUGABE
      Washington Post, 21-12-2008
     PRETORIA, South Africa –– The U.S. can no longer support a proposed Zimbabwean power–sharing deal that would leave Robert Mugabe, "a man who‘s lost it," as president, the top U.S. envoy for Africa told reporters Sunday.

Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for >>>


      ALBAR LOOKS TO SELL ITS LEASED CARS TO ITS CORPORATE CLIENTS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Daniel Schmil Tags: Israel News, economy Albar recently began trying to interest some of the companies that lease cars from it to buy their fleets outright, sources in the leasing industry have told TheMarker.

Leadcom Integrated Solutions, for example, received an offer from Albar to purchase the 100 or so v >>>


      COULD ISRAEL HAVE ITS OWN BERNARD MADOFF MADNESS?
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Meirav Arlosoroff Tags: economy, Israel News Senior figures in Israel‘s financial industry fear that a Madoff–style fraud could happen in Israel. The private investment fund market is considered the most vulnerable arena, since in Israel, as in the United States, it is unsupervised.

The greatest >>>


      EILAT LOOKS FORWARD IN FEAR TO END OF RUSSIA CHARTER FLIGHTS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Zohar Blumenkrantz Tags: Eilat, bus accident, Russia After last week‘s bus accident that resulted in the deaths of 24 Russian travel agents on their way to Eilat, hoteliers in the southern resort now fear that the suspension of charter flights from Russia beginning January 15 will hurt tourism from that country >>>


      ELI AROCH IN COMA AFTER SUICIDE ATTEMPT
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Yuval Goren Tags: Israel News, economy Options speculator Eli Aroch was hospitalized Friday evening after an apparent suicide attempt. Friends who came to visit found him unconscious on his bed. He apparently had swallowed a large number of pills.

Paramedics took him to Tel Aviv‘s Ichilov Hospital, whe >>>


      GAYDAMAK PUTS HOMES UP FOR SALE
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Guy Liberman Tags: Israel News, Arcadi Gaydamak Amid reports that Russian–Israeli businessman Arcadi Gaydamak fled Israel Friday morning, apparently for Russia, TheMarker has learned that he recently put his properties in Caesarea up for sale at a combined asking price of $30 million. Last week representatives >>>


      STATE TO EASE NGO GUARANTEE TERMS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Lior Dattel Tags: NGOs, economy, Israel News Israeli nonprofit organizations that provide services to the state and receive government funding will no longer be required to tie up some of those funds as financial guarantees to the state, under a new government directive.

Finance Ministry Accountant General S >>>


      IT‘S HAMAS WHO DECIDES
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Zvi Bar‘el Tags: Israel News, Hamas, truce What suspense, what panic ensued at the end of the week. Will Hamas extend the cease–fire or won‘t it? How exactly should Khaled Meshal‘s "no" be interpreted, along with Mahmoud Zahar‘s "maybe" and Ismail Haniyeh‘s vagu >>>


      NOAH‘S ARK ON MOUNT SCOPUS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Zafrir Rinat Tags: Jerusalem, Mount Scopus Mount Scopus in Jerusalem is nothing like Mount Ararat, but it contains a Noah‘s Ark just the same. The deluge did not carry it up there, it does not house any animals and it is not seaworthy. But its basic function, saving wild species from destruction, is something i >>>


      TALK WITH HAMAS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Gideon Levy Tags: truce, Hamas, Israel News The situation in the south is depressing. Qassam rockets are being fired out of a territory beset by boycott, siege and intolerable conditions at Israeli communities whose situation is no more tolerable, and the Israeli defense establishment admits it has no real response. >>>


      THE DICTATORSHIP OF BAD TASTE
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Haaretz Editorial Tags: reality show, big brother The television writers, directors and staff that organized last week‘s demonstration against "Big Brothermania" may not have rallied the masses, but they expressed many people‘s deep sense of displeasure and anger. Protesting against the million >>>


      TIME TO RETURN TO REAL WORK
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Stef Wertheimer Tags: education, economic crisis Since the economic crisis began, we have heard every day about more and more people being laid off and joining the unemployment line. Concerns in the markets run high. People are not only being laid off from their jobs, entire industries have shrunk and need fewer empl >>>


      ADL: ANTI–SEMITIC POSTS FLOOD INTERNET IN WAKE OF FRAUD
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Haaretz Staff The alleged $50 billion fraud by financier Bernard Madoff has prompted an outpouring of anti–Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites, the Anti–Defamation League said yesterday.

The organization said some of the posts on highly trafficked sites spread conspiracy theori >>>


      AMOS GILAD, THE MAN IN CHARGE OF ISRAEL‘S SECURITY
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent Tags: gilad shalit, israel news The Israeli media has been awash in recent weeks with statements that the country is not being run, but is basically running itself. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert‘s resignation (which does not actually involve leaving the Prime Minister‘s Offi >>>


      ANALYSIS / BUDGET WILL DECIDE WHETHER ISRAEL ATTACKS IRAN
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Aluf Benn Tags: nuclear Iran, Israel News The most important decision the next government of Israel will have to make is how to distribute resources intended for use against the Iranian nuclear threat, senior defense officials involved in decision–making have told Haaretz. The new government will have to decide >>>


      DRUG BASKET / TEXT–MESSAGE MEDICINE
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Ran Reznick Deciding which new drugs the government needs to add to the list of subsidized medications is one of the administration‘s most complicated and sensitive tasks.

This is why the committee that determines which drugs make it into the so–called "health basket" includes represent >>>


      ENVOYS: SYRIA SAYS IT WON‘T BLOCK HEZBOLLAH ARMING
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Barak Ravid Syrian President Bashar Assad has told European foreign ministers and senior diplomats this month that he would not lift a finger to restrain Hezbollah‘s arming in Lebanon. "I am not Israel‘s bodyguard," he reportedly said.

The future of Syria‘s relations with Iran and >>>


      FAA AVIATION SAFETY DOWNGRADE MAY UP TICKET PRICES TO U.S.
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Zohar Blumenkrantz The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Israel‘s aviation safety standard rating to that of Third World countries this weekend, in a move that carries dire consequences for Israeli airlines and seriously damages Israel‘s international status.

The FAA moved Isr >>>


      GAYDAMAK‘S GETAWAY / FATED TO WANDER THE WORLD AS A VAGABOND
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Yossi Melman Anyone who is close to Russian–Jewish billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak, or has paid attention to his irrational business dealings over the past year, gets the feeling that the mogul‘s wild love affair with Israel may be coming to an end.

It was clear, especially after his dismal showing i >>>


      HADASSAH WOMEN‘S GROUP LOSES $'0M IN MADOFF INVESTMENTS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Dana Weiler–Polak Hadassah, the Women‘s Zionist Organization of America, said Thursday that it has lost $'0 million it invested with Bernard Madoff, the Wall Street investment manager who recently admitted to a running a Ponzi–scheme fraud that totaled $50 billion.

"We have receive >>>


      HAMAS CONSIDERS RENEWING SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN ISRAEL
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff , Haaretz Correspondents Tags: Qassam, Israel News, Hamas The Israel Defense Forces is preparing to escalate its activities at the Gaza Strip border in response to continuing Qassam rocket and mortar fire into the western Negev.

On Saturday alone 13 rockets and 20 mortar rounds >>>


      ISRAEL AIDS TASK FORCE HEAD DEAD IN APPARENT SUICIDE
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Noah Kosharek The head of the Israel AIDS Task Force, Dr. Gideon Hirsch, was found dead Friday in his Jaffa apartment, apparently after committing suicide by overdosing on pills.

No funeral arrangements had been announced at press time. Advertisement News of Hirsch‘s death came as a shock to family, fr >>>


      LEBANON NAMES AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By The Associated Press BEIRUT, Lebanon – Lebanon named an ambassador to Syria yesterday in another step toward normalizing relations, after the neighboring countries agreed earlier this year to establish diplomatic ties for the first time since they gained independence from France in the 1'40s.

Infor >>>


      NEW DRUGS APPROVED FOR SUBSIDY BASKET
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Ran Reznick The Health Ministry has announced that it will include 83 new drugs in its 2008 subsidized treatment package, known locally as "the medicine basket" ("sal ha–trufot").

This means that starting January 1, 200', some 340,000 sick people in Israel will for the first tim >>>


      PILOT AVOIDS DEADLY CRASH BY EMERGENCY SEA LANDING
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Jack Khoury A pilot avoided a potentially deadly crash when he landed his light plane at sea, off the Haifa coast, after the engine failed on Friday.

All three men abroad the plane came away with very minor injuries, and were taken to Rambam Medical Center for treatment. The men, Haifa residents, have since >>>


      POLICE UNMOVED BY KATSAV, A. FACE–OFF
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Jonathan Lis The police‘s recommendation to indict former president Moshe Katsav on charges of rape has not changed following a confrontation Friday between Katsav and the complainant, A. from the Tourism Ministry, police said yesterday.

"The police have said all along that a confrontation was unn >>>


      U.S. HOUSE CHAIR: GIVE TALKS WITH IRAN 2 TO 3 MONTHS
      Haaretz, 21-12-2008
     By Barak Ravid The Obama administration should devote no more than about three months to dialogue with Iran, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, has told Haaretz. Berman says that if negotiations fail, the United States will have to "buy in for a crippling lev >>>



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