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      5 SAUDI FIRMS GET AWARDS AT LONDON EVENT
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Mushtak Parker | Arab News LONDON: Five Saudi institutions — the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Bank AlJazira, Dar Al–Arkan Real Estate Development Company, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and Ra–Yek Real Estate Company — won awards at this year’s International Real Estate Finance (IREF) 2008 Awards of Exce >>>


      GCC SUSPENDS FREE–TRADE TALKS WITH EUROPEAN UNION
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Ghazanfar Ali Khan | Arab News RIYADH: Talks over the free–trade agreement between the six–nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union have been suspended because of the continuing impasse in the 20–year old negotiations. Hamad Al–Bazei, deputy finance minister, who is also the G >>>


      IDB APPROVES $2.5BN FOR OPERATIONAL PLAN
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Arab News JEDDAH: The board of executive directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved $2.47 billion for its operational plan for the new–year to finance various development and technical assistance projects, and food security grants in member countries. The approval was made during the board’s 256t >>>


      ENCOURAGE ABUSE VICTIMS TO SPEAK OUT, SAYS EXPERT
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Fatima Sidiya | Arab News JEDDAH: The Himaya Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Health held a workshop yesterday on procedures to deal with domestic violence.

Addressing the event, Cynthia Fraser, a technology safety specialist at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, called >>>


      INCIDENCE OF YOUNG MEN BLACKMAILING WOMEN ON THE RISE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Fatima Sidiya | Arab News JEDDAH: Police in Al–Ahsa recently arrested a man in his 20s who blackmailed a 24–year–old woman into giving him SR250,000. The man threatened to publicize photographs of the woman.

On arrest, police found SR20,000 in his possession and found that the woman had also b >>>


      KACST CALLS FOR NATIONAL AGENCY FOR WOMEN’S SKILL DEVELOPMENT
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Arab News RIYADH: A new study has stressed the need to launch a national campaign to Saudize jobs in order to reduce unemployment among Saudi women.

The study, prepared by a team of researchers at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), also called on the authorities to set up a national agency >>>


      MINISTRY: LABOR LAW DOESN’T BAN GENDER–MIXING IN WORKPLACE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Arab News RIYADH: A legal expert at the Ministry of Labor has denied that the Kingdom’s new labor law bans mingling of men and women in workplace.

«While article 166 of the old labor law prohibited men and women from mingling in workplace, the new law only stipulates that their employment should be in acc >>>


      MOTHERS LEARN TO HELP KIDS CONTROL THEIR RAGE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Hassna’a Mokhtar | Arab News JEDDAH: A number of mothers attended yesterday an interactive workshop on how to deal with angry children at the Enchanted Garden, a children’s center on Jeddah’s Tahliah Street.

Despite the center only opening in July, many mothers were in attendance, enthusiastic to learn techniqu >>>


      TRAFFIC POLICE FACE FINE FOR ISSUING FALSE TICKETS
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     P.K. Abdul Ghafour | Arab News JEDDAH: The newly formed authority for traffic violations in Jeddah is looking at cases of dangerous traffic violations such as speeding, jumping red lights, joy riding and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, said Col. Abdullah Al–Shahrani, its chairman.

Al&nda >>>


      VACATIONING INDIAN BOY DROWNS IN RIYADH RAVINE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News RIYADH: An Indian student who came to Riyadh on holiday to visit his parents drowned in a stream while playing with friends in a valley outside Riyadh on Tuesday.

A Civil Defense official, who took part in the rescue operation, said Mohammed Jazeel, an 18–year–old eng >>>


      ‘INDIAN CLAIMS UNSUBSTANTIATED’
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Azhar Masood | Arab News ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in Pakistan yesterday condemned what they called New Delhi’s «unsubstantiated» allegations against Islamabad over the Mumbai attacks and called for both countries to conduct a joint probe.

Federal MPs also called for an end to «war hype» whip >>>


      CLASHES MARK FINAL PHASE OF KASHMIR VOTE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Mukhtar Ahmad | Arab News SRINAGAR: Polls closed in Kashmir’s main city yesterday, bringing to an end the crucial final phase of state elections in the disputed region after sporadic clashes between police and dozens of separatists.

Low voter turnout, scattered protests and a huge presence of security forces ma >>>


      HAMAS VOWS TO STEP UP ATTACKS ON ISRAEL
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     AFP GAZA CITY: A Hamas fighter was killed in an Israeli air raid yesterday after Palestinian gunmen pounded Israel with rocket and mortar fire in an escalation of violence that is dimming hopes of a renewed cease–fire.

Yahi Al–Shaaher, 23, was killed and four other Palestinians wounded when an Israe >>>


      INDIA TO SEEK SAUDI HELP TO PRESSURIZE PAKISTAN
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Nilofar Suhrawardy | Arab News NEW DELHI: India is likely to seek Saudi Arabia&#3's help in stepping up pressure on Pakistan on taking action against militant outfits based there.

The issue will be raised when Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al–Faisal is here on a daylong visit tomorrow. India >>>


      QASAB DEMANDS PAK LAWYERS FOR DEFENSE
      Arab News, 25-12-2008
     Shahid Burney | Arab News MUMBAI: The lone arrested terrorist in the Nov. 26–2' Mumbai terror attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Qasab yesterday told a magistrate that he would like to be defended by a Pakistani lawyer.

Qasab, for the third time since his arrest, was not taken to the magistrate’s cour >>>


      ‘SANTA‘ OPENS FIRE AT CALIF. PARTY; 3 DEAD
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     COVINA, Calif. –– A man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a Christmas Eve party in a suburban Los Angeles home that subsequently caught fire, leaving three people dead, police said.

The man arrived at the party in Covina late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, police Lt. Pat B >>>


      12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FOR BUSHES AT CAMP DAVID
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     WASHINGTON –– President George W. Bush is spending Christmas at Camp David, the 12th time he and his family have celebrated the Yuletide holiday at the Maryland presidential retreat.

Bush‘s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, along with the president‘s sibli >>>


      ARMY OFFICIALS SAY MANY MORE ACTIVE–DUTY TROOPS ARE NEEDED
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     A04 The Army needs to add at least 30,000 active–duty soldiers to its ranks to fulfill its responsibilities around the world without becoming stretched dangerously thin, senior Army officials warn.

"You can‘t do what we‘ve been tasked to do with the number of people we have," Underse >>>


      AS DUTIES WEIGH OBAMA DOWN, HIS FAITH IN FITNESS ONLY INCREASES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     Being elected president forces a man to take inventory of his life, so Barack Obama has trimmed his schedule to the bare essentials. He‘s not in the White House yet, but gone are the hours he once spent reading novels, watching television and obsessing over the daily transactions of Chicago‘s sports teams. H >>>


      CABINET CHOICES TOUCH OFF SCRAMBLE IN STATES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     PM WASHINGTON –– President–elect Barack Obama‘s Cabinet choices have sent a ripple through state politics, fostering behind–the–scenes jockeying to fill key vacancies in the shadow of the Chicago scandal over filling Obama‘s Senate seat.

The shift started with the elect >>>


      CALIF. COURT LIMITS WHAT SAMARITANS CAN SAFELY DO
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Ashley SurdinWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, December 25, 2008; A02 LOS ANGELES –– The handful of 20–something friends went to a bar. They drank until the early morning, then left. And when one of their cars crashed into a light pole, Lisa Torti hurried over and pulled one of the passengers fr >>>


      COAL FOR CHRISTMAS: BROOKLYN MAN‘S PARDON REVOKED
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM WASHINGTON –– The pardons President George W. Bush granted this week couldn‘t have been better Christmas gifts if Santa himself had delivered them.

But a Brooklyn, N.Y., man, Isaac Robert Toussie, received the legal equivalent of a lump of coal.

Toussie, convicted of making false s >>>


      CONTRACTS POINT TO SIGNIFICANT U.S. COMMITMENT IN AFGHANISTAN
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     A05 Earlier this month, standing at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the United States is making a "sustained commitment" to that country, one that will last "some protracted period of time." A series of new proposals coming out of the Pentagon make clear a si >>>


      EX–TROOPER SUSPECTED IN DALLAS–AREA SHOOTINGS DIES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     DALLAS –– A former Utah state trooper suspected in a series of Dallas–area roadway shootings died on Christmas Eve, a day after police said he turned a gun on himself following a brief standoff.

Brian Smith, 37, had been in critical condition on life support from a self–inflicted gunshot >>>


      GOV‘S LAWYER ASKS PANEL TO SUBPOENA OBAMA STAFF
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     CHICAGO –– An attorney for the Illinois governor has asked the legislative committee considering whether to impeach the governor to subpoena President–elect Barack Obama‘s incoming chief of staff and a senior adviser.

Ed Genson told the Chicago Sun–Times for a story published Thurs >>>


      HOLIDAY TRAVEL IS COMPLICATED BY WEATHER
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     CHICAGO, Dec. 24 –– Hundreds of holiday travelers spent the night in the nation‘s second–busiest airport Tuesday, and some of them faced the prospect of doing it again on Christmas Eve as airports across the country recovered from a barrage of snow and ice storms.

Conditions improved Wed >>>


      KENNEDY ENDURES ROUGH START IN BID FOR SENATE SEAT
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Keith B. RichburgWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, December 25,
2008; A03 NEW YORK –– Caroline Kennedy, who is seeking appointment to New York‘s soon–to–be–vacant U.S. Senate seat, is facing sharp criticism from rivals, intense scrutiny from the media and disparagement over >>>


      KENNEDY, IN SENATE BID, HASN‘T SHARED FINANCES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM NEW YORK –– At this time last year, Caroline Kennedy was promoting "A Family Christmas," her collection of essays that featured the memory of her father letting her use the White House switchboard to call Santa.

This year, after warily stepping into the political free–for–al >>>


      OBAMAS TO HAVE TURKEY, HAM FOR CHRISTMAS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM HONOLULU –– President–elect Barack Obama and his family planned a Christmas Day that includes opening presents in the morning and sharing a traditional turkey and ham dinner in the evening.

Obama and his family were vacationing at a beachfront rental home in Kailua in his native Hawaii. Aid >>>


      PROSECUTORS TO COURT: GET ON WITH JEFFERSON TRIAL
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM WASHINGTON –– Federal prosecutors are urging an appeals court to get on with Rep. William Jefferson‘s corruption trial, saying his appeal to the Supreme Court does not have enough chance of success to justify further delays.

Jefferson. D–La., was indicted on bribery charges after agen >>>


      SUNKEN SOVIET SUB NEEDS BUYER _ OR IT‘S SCRAPPED
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     PROVIDENCE, R.I. –– A former Soviet cruise missile submarine that was once featured in a Hollywood film and sank in the Providence River during a storm last year will be converted to scrap metal if no one agrees to buy it, the president of the foundation that owns it said Wednesday.

The 282–fo >>>


      THE NATION‘S WEATHER
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     6:30 AM –– Much of the West was forecast to be wet, white or both on Christmas, while showers were expected in the Southeast and possible in the Plains.

Two storms were taking aim at the West Coast on Thursday. A strong system was projected to bring several inches of snow and gusty winds to the Nort >>>


      TODAY IN HISTORY – DEC. 25
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     12:01 AM –– Today is Thursday, Dec. 25, the 360th day of 2008. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.

Today‘s Highlight in History: On Dec. 25, 1818, "Silent Night," written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was performed for the first time, at the Church o >>>


      TRANSFORMER FIRE CUTS POWER TO DOWNTOWN SPOKANE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     SPOKANE, Wash. –– Fire in an underground transformer has shut down power to about an eight–block area of downtown Spokane.

The affected area includes many popular bars, restaurants and concert halls, but nearly all were closed for Christmas Eve.

The fire was reported in a vault in fro >>>


      TRAVELERS HUNKER DOWN FOR CHRISTMAS AT AIRPORT
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     CHICAGO –– Tom Waltz, his wife, Kristina, and their two daughters played a Christmas Eve game of Crazy Eights in a corner at O‘Hare International Airport, trying to forget the past four days of flight delays and cancellations that spoiled their holiday plans.

The family from Vancouver, Wash., >>>


      TREE FALLS ON FAMILY‘S CAR ON NJ PARKWAY, KILLS 2
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BLOOMFIELD, N.J. –– A tree has fallen onto the car of a family driving along a New Jersey highway on Christmas morning, killing a grandmother and a father and injuring his two daughters.

New Jersey State Police say the accident happened on the Garden State Parkway in Bloomfield in Essex County. The >>>


      UTAH STORE HAS BONE TO PICK WITH SHOPLIFTING DOG
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     MURRAY, Utah –– A thief remains at large after pulling off a daring heist _ in the pet food aisle.

Surveillance video at a supermarket in this Salt Lake City suburb caught a dog shoplifting, KSL–TV reported Wednesday.

The video showed the dog walking in the front door of Smith‘s >>>


      BUSH REVOKES PARDON OF GOP DONORS‘ RELATIVE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     President Bush took the remarkable step yesterday of reversing a pardon that he granted the day before to a Brooklyn, N.Y., real estate developer, whose relatives contributed more than $40,000 to Republicans before his clemency petition was filed with the White House.

White House press secretary Dana Perino sai >>>


      CHAO DEFENDS HER LABOR DEPT. TENURE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     2008; A17 Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao is the only Cabinet member to serve during President Bush‘s entire presidency, through nearly eight years marked by terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and long–running wars, including ideological battles.

But as the soft–spoken Chao‘s tenure wi >>>


      D.C. ADDS TO PLANNED INAUGURAL BUS PARKING
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     B01 About 10,000 charter buses arriving for Inauguration Day will be parked in the District to lessen the burden on the area‘s roads and transit systems and prevent would–be visitors from being stranded in parking lots far from downtown Washington, officials said yesterday.

The plan marks a U– >>>


      FED CLEARS GMAC PLAN TO BECOME A BANK
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     2008; D01 The Federal Reserve gave General Motors a crucial boost yesterday by approving a request from GMAC, which provides funding for most of the automaker‘s dealers and many of its customers, to become a bank holding company.

The move gives GMAC access to new sources of funding, including a potential >>>


      GOP AIMING TO PLANT SEEDS OF ITS RESURGENCE IN VA. GOVERNOR‘S RACE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     B01 RICHMOND, Dec. 24 –– Down–and–out Republicans are pinning their hopes for a national comeback on Virginia.

They are investing heavily in Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell‘s 200' gubernatorial campaign, as they fight to win back the governor‘s mansion in a state tha >>>


      NEW BOARD NAMED AT FANNIE MAE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Zachary A. GoldfarbWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, December 25,
2008; D01 Fannie Mae, the District mortgage–finance giant taken over by the government in early September, yesterday announced the members of its newly constituted board of directors.

Joining the 10–person board are a forme >>>


      OBAMA SPEAKS OF AMERICAN COURAGE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     HONOLULU, Dec. 24 –– President–elect Barack Obama released a sobering message for the nation on Christmas Eve, recognizing the sacrifice of the country‘s service men and women while calling on Americans to find inspiration in a founding father to overcome current economic struggles.

In a >>>


      PLEASE HOLD THE PHONE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     D01 When President–elect Barack Obama takes stage in a few weeks to deliver his inauguration address, no doubt many of the estimated 2 million people expected to gather on the Mall will simultaneously hold their cellphones aloft to snap and send photos, call friends and family, and send text messages like, "o >>>


      STATE FILES CLAIM AGAINST TEXAS FIRM
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Lisa ReinWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, December 25, 2008; B02 Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler filed a claim against Premier Election Solutions to recover $8.5 million spent by the state to fix problems with the company‘s touch–screen voting machines.

The claim against Texas&n >>>


      WITH FED‘S HELP, AIG UNLOADS $16 BILLION IN CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     American International Group retired $16 billion in credit default swaps, the contracts that almost caused the company‘s collapse, after buying the underlying securities with help from the Federal Reserve.

The fund created by the Fed and AIG to protect the insurer‘s customers from losses has now pur >>>


      65 CHILDREN SICKENED BY CARBON MONOXIDE IN CHINA
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BEIJING –– Sixty–five elementary school students in northern China were poisoned by carbon monoxide after smoke from a dormitory boiler seeped into their rooms, state media reported Thursday.

Nineteen were still being treated in hospitals in Inner Mongolia, the official Xinhua News Agency said >>>


      BANGLADESH VOTE–RIGGING CHARGES COULD BRING PROTEST
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladesh‘s former prime minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, has charged the government and her rivals with conspiring to rig Monday‘s parliamentary election, rhetoric that could set the stage for protests and violence if Khaleda loses.

The December 2' vote will mark a return t >>>


      BETHLEHEM ENJOYS A FESTIVE CHRISTMAS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Dec. 24 –– Christians celebrated Bethlehem‘s merriest Christmas in eight years Wednesday, with hotels booked solid, Manger Square bustling with families and Israeli and Palestinian forces cooperating to make things run smoothly.

The festivities in the West Bank town contr >>>


      BUSTED: MEXICO‘S MISS SINALOA AND THE 7 NARCOS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     A12 MEXICO CITY, Dec. 24 Mexicans awoke this holiday morn to see the reigning Miss Sinaloa 2008 on the front page of almost every newspaper in the country.

But it wasn‘t the cheesecake photo of the beauty queen Laura Elena Zúńiga in a red bikini that was so startling on Christmas Eve. It was the >>>


      CAR BOMB KILLS FOUR IN IRAQ ON CHRISTMAS DAY
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A car bomb near a popular restaurant killed four people and wounded 25 in northwestern Baghdad on Christmas Day on Thursday, police said.

The explosion in the Shi‘ite district of Shula occurred while policemen and laborers were eating breakfast.

The casualties included b >>>


      EGYPT SAYS ISRAEL–GAZA TRUCE UNLIKELY WITH ESCALATION
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged Israel and Gaza‘s Islamist Hamas rulers to hold their fire to enable Cairo to try to broker a new truce between them.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, on a visit to Cairo for talks on the escalating violence with Egyptian P >>>


      ELEVEN KILLED, AT LEAST 24 MISSING IN UKRAINE BLAST
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – An explosion has destroyed a five–storey apartment building in southern Ukraine, killing at least 11 people, including a child, and at least 24 were missing, officials said on Thursday.

Twenty–one residents have been pulled out alive from the shattered block in >>>


      FASTER CLIMATE CHANGE FEARED
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Juliet EilperinWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, December 25, 2008; A02 The United States faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a new report led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The survey –– which wa >>>


      FRENCH POLICE DEFUSE ONE BOMB, ANOTHER EXPLODES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     PARIS (Reuters) – Police defused an explosive device found at an athletic center in southwestern France Thursday, but another device exploded at a real estate agency in a neighboring region, a police official said.

The first device, a container of flammable liquid connected to a live detonator, was found >>>


      GERMAN WARSHIP THWARTS HIJACK BY SOMALI PIRATES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Quick action by a German warship halted an attack on an Egyptian bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden Thursday by Somali pirates trying to hijack it, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.

The rescue was a sign that the foreign navies patrolling the key shipping lane linking Eu >>>


      GERMANS SAVE EGYPTIAN SHIP FROM SOMALI PIRATES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –– A German military helicopter rescued an Egyptian ship from pirates who shot and injured a crew member while trying to board the vessel off the coast of Somalia on Thursday, an official said.

The bulk carrier with 31 crew was passing through the Gulf of Aden on its way to As >>>


      GUINEA COUP CHIEF SAYS WILL NOT STAND IN VOTE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     CONAKRY (Reuters) – The army captain installed as de facto head of state in Guinea in a military coup moved to cement his grip on power on Thursday, but said he would not stand for president in promised elections.

Government ministers reported to the Alpha Yaya Diallo military base in Conakry‘s subu >>>


      GUINEA COUP HEAD GIVES LEADERS DEADLINE TO SHOW UP
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     25, 2008; 4:26 AM CONAKRY, Guinea –– The leader of a coup in Guinea called Thursday for the prime minister to come out of hiding and present himself at the group‘s military barracks within 24 hours along with the country‘s other heads of government.

Renegade army Capt. Moussa Camara said >>>


      IRAN LEADER‘S CHRISTMAS BROADCAST DENOUNCED
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     LONDON, Dec. 24 –– Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is offering season‘s greetings to Christians in a British TV address and suggesting that if Jesus were alive he would oppose "bullying, ill–tempered and expansionist powers" –– an apparent reference to the United State >>>


      ISRAEL MINISTER BARAK: HAMAS TO PAY ‘HEAVY PRICE‘
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     JERUSALEM –– Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that militants in Hamas–ruled Gaza would pay a "heavy price" if they continued to target Israel and the military finalized preparations for a possible large–scale assault on the coastal territory.

Israel‘s military >>>


      JEWISH GROUPS BLAST TV SHOW
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BRUSSELS, Belgium –– Jewish groups have condemned a Belgian public broadcaster for airing a show in which a standup comedian jokes about the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews.

The protest marked the third time in two months the VRT broadcaster was accused of gross insensitivity toward Jews. On O >>>


      LEBANESE ARMY FINDS ROCKETS NEAR ISRAEL BORDER
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BEIRUT, Lebanon –– Lebanese army officers say troops have discovered seven rockets set up with timers that were on the verge of firing near the border with Israel.

Two senior officers say troops are dismantling the Katyusha rockets, discovered Thursday near the border town of Naqoura.

They >>>


      NEW YORK MAN KILLED BY AVALANCHE IN AUSTRIA
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     VIENNA, Austria –– Austrian police say an avalanche in western Austria has killed a New York City resident.

Police in Vorarlberg province say the 28–year–old man died Wednesday when he was buried while skiing off–piste in the Arlberg ski region.

They say the man‘s bo >>>


      OFFICIAL: 11 DEAD IN UKRAINE APARTMENT GAS BLAST
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     KIEV, Ukraine –– An explosion tore through an apartment building in southern Ukraine killing at least 11 people and leaving up to 24 trapped under the rubble, an emergency official said Thursday.

The blast leveled part of the five–floor building in the Crimea peninsula resort of Yevpatoriya an >>>


      OFFICIALS: 18 DEAD IN UKRAINE APARTMENT GAS BLAST
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     KIEV, Ukraine –– Rescuers were searching Thursday for dozens of people trapped under the rubble of an apartment building destroyed in a nighttime explosion that killed at least 18 people in southern Ukraine, officials said.

The blast, apparently caused by leaky oxygen canisters, tore through the fiv >>>


      OLMERT ISSUES LAST–MINUTE WARNING TO HAMAS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday issued a "last–minute" appeal to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to reject their Hamas rulers and stop rocket fire at Israel, warning them he won‘t hesitate to use force.

His comments were the clearest indication yet >>>


      PAKISTAN WARNS INDIA IT WILL RESPOND TO ANY ATTACK
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM MULTAN, Pakistan –– Pakistan warned India on Thursday not to launch a strike against it and vowed to respond to any attack _ a sign that the relationship between the two nuclear powers remains strained in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Though the South Asian rivals have engaged in tit–for& >>>


      POPE DECRIES SELFISHNESS IN ECONOMIC CRISIS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     AM VATICAN CITY –– Pope Benedict XVI warned in his Christmas message Thursday that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough economic times for rich and poor nations.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter‘s Basilica, Benedict declared that t >>>


      RUSSIA LAUNCHES 3 NAVIGATION SATELLITES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     MOSCOW –– Russia‘s space agency says it has successfully launched three satellites to enhance its equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The space agency says three GLONASS–M satellites have been put into orbit by a Proton–M rocket that blasted off from the Baikonur laun >>>


      SOMALI PRESIDENT MAY QUIT, ADVISERS SAY
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Stephanie McCrummenWashington Post Foreign ServiceThursday, December 25, 2008; A15 NAIROBI, Dec. 24 –– Advisers to Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf said Wednesday that he would yield to mounting internal and international pressure and resign over the weekend, but officials close to him insisted the situat >>>


      TOURISTS, LOCALS PRAY IN BETHLEHEM ON CHRISTMAS
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BETHLEHEM, West Bank –– Bethlehem marked Christmas on Thursday with crowds of tourists joining local Palestinian Christians in Jesus‘ traditional birthplace, as the West Bank town basked in its once–a–year appearance in the world spotlight.

The mood was upbeat, with hotel rooms ful >>>


      TROOPS IN IRAQ FIND CHRISTMAS IN MEMORIES
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     PM BAGHDAD –– Army Sgt. Robin Cameron stood guard outside a once opulent Iraqi shopping mall that now serves as a small U.S. military outpost, trying not to think about what he was missing with his family on Christmas.

"It‘s just another day in Iraq," he said, waving through a convoy >>>


      TWO CAR BOMBS KILL SEVEN PEOPLE IN IRAQ
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A car bomb near a popular restaurant in northwestern Baghdad killed four people and wounded 25 on Thursday, police said.

A few hours later, a suicide car bomber targeting a U.S. military patrol killed three people and wounded 14 in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, poli >>>


      U.S. PREPARES TO HAND OVER BAGHDAD BASE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     By Ernesto LondońoWashington Post Foreign ServiceThursday, December 25,
2008; A12 BAGHDAD, Dec. 24 –– A year ago, Forward Operating Base Callahan in northern Baghdad was one of the key U.S. military nerve centers in the battered capital. Hundreds of soldiers slept in crowded rooms. Humvees zipped in >>>


      US EMBASSY IN SKOREA RECEIVES SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     SEOUL, South Korea –– An official says the U.S. Embassy in Seoul has received a package containing a suspicious white powder.

Spokesman Aaron Tarver said the embassy received the package Wednesday, and a sample of the powder was being tested. Tarver said no one was reported sickened.

The Ko >>>


      WOLF CAPTURED NEAR TOURIST PART OF GREAT WALL
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     BEIJING (Reuters) – A wolf has been captured by forestry workers near a part of China‘s Great Wall close to Beijing which is popular with tourists, state media said on Thursday.

The wolf is being kept at a nature park and will be released in uninhabited mountains far from the Wall, Xinhua news agenc >>>


      ZIMBABWE POLICE DEFY COURT, REMOVE ACTIVISTS: LAWYER
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     HARARE (Reuters) – Armed police took a leading Zimbabwean human rights campaigner and eight activists to an undisclosed location on Thursday after the High Court ordered their immediate release to a local hospital, their lawyer said.

Jestina Mukoko and the eight activists were charged on Wednesday with re >>>


      ZIMBABWEAN ACTIVIST, MISSING 3 WEEKS, TAKEN TO COURT
      Washington Post, 25-12-2008
     HARARE, Zimbabwe, Dec. 24 –– A Zimbabwean human rights activist missing for three weeks was taken to court Wednesday, and state media said she was accused in a plot to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

Late Wednesday, a judge ordered Jestina Mukoko and six other activists sent to a hospital under p >>>


      APPLIED MATERIALS TO FIRE 200 R&D WORKERS
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Ido Solomon Tags: layoffs, israel news After weeks of rumors and denials, Applied Materials Israel has announced that it will be laying off 200 of its 1,100–strong local workforce immediately following its orchestrated weeklong vacation next week. The company was unavailable for comment, since its offices all o >>>


      BANK OF ISRAEL UNVEILS PROGRAM TO STIMULATE LENDING MARKET
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Moti Bassok and Yuval Maoz Tags: israel news, bank of israel The Bank of Israel yesterday announced a series of measures aimed at stimulating the local credit market, which is a euphemism for inducing the banks to lend more freely despite the uncertainty of the times. The moves are expected to increase liquidity and >>>


      BIG APPLE SOURING FOR LEV LEVIEV
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Michal Ramati and Michael Rochvarger Tags: lev leviev, africa israel The downturn on the U.S. real estate market is taking its toll on businessman Lev Leviev and his company, Africa Israel, in New York. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Leviev filed an emergency injunction to wrest control of the Apthorp buil >>>


      BUSINESS IN BRIEF
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     Real Estate Joy of Giving Travel Week‘s End Anglo File Business in Brief Yuli Ofer has resigned his post as a director on the board of Mizrahi Tefahot bank, due to poor health. Ofer asked that Mordechai Meir, who has served in the past as a director at Igud Capital Markets, be appointed in his stead. Earlier this >>>


      HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON YOUR LOSS THIS YEAR
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Tal Levy Tags: economic crisis, israel news The year 2008 will be going down as one of the worst ever for investors, Israeli ones as well. Equities and bonds tanked: Since the beginning of the year, the TA–25 index, which tracks the 25 biggest companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, has lost about 45% of its >>>


      ISRAMCO DIVING, FOR SOME REASON
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Sarit Menahem Tags: isramco, israel news Participation units in the Isramco partnership dived by 18% yesterday for no obvious reason, meaning that the company hadn‘t advised investors of any untoward developments in its business. Turnover was heavy for this oil exploration company at NIS 4 million.

Fro >>>


      KESHET, RESHET ASK TO SLASH NEWS BUDGETS
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Ophir Bar–Zohar Tags: israel news, channel 2 The Channel 2 News Corporation is preparing for cutbacks after the two companies that run it, Reshet and Keshet, formally asked for approval to slash their spending on news production.

The two broadcast firms, which share Channel 2, want to lower the News Co >>>


      KNESSET FREEZES TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS‘ WAGES
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Zvi Zrahiya Tags: wage freeze, israel news The highest officials in the government will be sharing the pain. The monthly wages of the president, the governor of the Bank of Israel and ministers from the premier to the last member of the cabinet will all be frozen in 200'.

Also, State Comptroller Micha Li >>>


      MARKET REPORT / CHEMICALS DROP WITH COMMODITY PRICES AROUND WORLD
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Yuval Maoz Tags: israel news Tel Aviv stocks lost ground yesterday for the fourth consecutive day in a session marked mainly by listlessness. Somehow the Bank of Israel‘s announcement of a new plan to boost liquidity didn‘t help. The TA–25 index lost 2.3% to 632 points and the TA–100 index fel >>>


      MARKETS IN BRIEF
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     Nochi Dankner‘s company Clal Insurance is lending NIS 35 million to the Nimrodi family company Israel Land Development Corporation. It isn‘t known what interest rate that Clal Insurance, run by Shy Talmon, is demanding but it is known that ILDC is using two properties to back the one: one in Haifa and one in >>>


      MIGDAL SAW MADOFF COMING
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Eti Aflalo Tags: bernard madoff, migdal As Harel Insurance and Phoenix tally their losses from exposure to Bernard Madoff, Migdal‘s investment advisers are patting themselves on the back.

Over the years Migdal has been a long–term savings enterprise that believed in investing in private equity an >>>


      RESEARCH GROUP IDC PREDICTS THOUSANDS OF HIGH–TECH LAYOFFS
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Paz Vaysman and Orr Hirschauge Tags: IDC, israel news, IT More than 2,000 layoffs from technology and IT companies were reported in the months of November and December and the trend is not about to change any time soon, according to research company IDC Israel.

IDC estimates that between ',000 to 13,700 >>>


      TSHUVA SLINGING SINGAPORE PROJECT
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Nimrod Halpern and Michael Rochvarger Tags: singapore, yitzhak tshuva Yitzhak Tshuva‘s private real estate company, Elad Group, is trying to sell its share of two grandiose development projects in Singapore for a combined $488 million, or $707 million Singapore dollars, according to the Business Times.

>>>


      FORGET THE IRIS;SAVE NAWAR
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Gideon Levy Tags: settlements, environment The signs showed the pied piper had arrived. Nitzan Horowitz was going to Jerusalem. The opinionated, involved and lovable foreign desk chief was selected for the third place of the "New Movement–Meretz" list. Israel‘s left presents the supporter of the >>>


      GAZAN HUMOR IN RAMALLAH
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Amira Hass Tags: hamas, gaza, israel news "You get massacred, while we are having a party." "You" are the Gazans.

"We" are the Ramallahns, and the speaker is Manal Awad, an actress in a groundbreaking satirical show staged last week in Ramallah, entitled "Gaza–Ramalla >>>


      IT CANNOT GO ON LIKE THIS
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Haaretz Editorial Tags: gaza, israel news, qassam Twenty meters is all that separated the landing site of a Qassam rocket and a child day–care center. Another rocket hit a house in the Western Negev Regional Council‘s jurisdiction and the Home Front command ordered people to keep children inside protected >>>


      OUR FILL OF RESTRAINT
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Israel Harel Tags: gaza, hamas, qassam After all the recent events, neither the defense minister nor the chief of staff, the main opponents of action in the Gaza Strip, can delay it much longer. We have had our fill of restraint. But it is not the intolerable suffering of the residents of the Western Negev that is th >>>


      THE THREE MUSKETEERS
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Ari Shavit Tags: tzipi livni Benjamin Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak have more than a few faults.

But one fact cannot be disputed. Netanyahu, Livni and Barak are immeasurably better than the parties they lead.

Netanyahu is a fig leaf for people such as Lea Nass, Gila Gamliel and Moshe Feiglin >>>


      ‘BECAUSE WE‘RE IN THE PERIPHERY, WE NEED TO DIE?‘
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Yair Ettinger Tags: hamas, ashkelon, israel news Like other Israeli cities, Ashkelon is being flooded with campaign posters these days.

The faces of Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak, Rafi Eitan, Avigdor Lieberman are visible on every street corner and every municipal bus. One promises leadership, another promises to >>>


      ‘VIP TUNNEL‘ SMUGGLING WEALTHY GAZANS INTO EGYPT
      Haaretz, 25-12-2008
     By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent Tags: Israel News, Egypt, tunnel A special "VIP tunnel" was recently dug to smuggle wealthy or important people under the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources report.

The tunnel has electricity and telephone service, and it is high enou >>>



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