ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israel has opened border crossings with the Gaza Strip to allow
humanitarian aid to enter the supply-starved Palestinian territory.
Officials say trucks carrying fuel and other goods are crossing the
border today, despite an escalating conflict between the
Israeli military and Hamas militants.
Since a cease-fire between the two sides expired last week, Palestinian
militants have pounded the Jewish state with rockets. Hamas says the
attacks are in retaliation for the killing of three militants by
Israeli soldiers. Israeli defense officials say they are preparing an
operation against Hamas that likely will go beyond air strikes.
CHINA - SOMALIA - PIRACY: Three Chinese naval warships have set sail to join an international fleet fighting rampant piracy in the waters off Somalia.
Two destroyers and a supply ship departed today from
their home port on the southern island of Hainan to patrol the Gulf of
Aden and the Indian Ocean. The vessels are carrying at least 800
sailors, including dozens of special forces personnel.
Somali pirates have hijacked more than 40 ships in 2008 and are holding
at least 15 vessels and their crews hostage. A Chinese vessel was
attacked earlier this month, but the crew successfully fought off the
GUINEA - COUP: Thousands of people have gathered in Guinea's capital for the funeral of the country's late dictator, President Lansana Conte.
The leader of this week's coup in Guinea, Moussa Camara, has promised a
"grandiose funeral" for Mr. Conte, who ruled the country for nearly 25
years after seizing power in 1984.
Military officials say Mr. Conte's body will be brought to a stadium
and then to Conakry's Grand Mosque before being laid to rest in a
village about 100 kilometers outside the capital.
Mr. Conte, who was a chain-smoking diabetic, died on Monday.
IRAQ: Officials in Iraq say three al-Qaida-linked militants have escaped from
a police station during a shootout that left six police and seven
Officials say the militants overpowered the policemen before dawn today at a station in the western city of Ramadi.
Police have imposed a curfew in the city.
Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, which was once the heart of
the Sunni insurgency against U.S.-led forces following the overthrow of
Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.
Violence in the area has eased significantly since local Sunni tribes
began helping the U.S. military fight al-Qaida and other militants in
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has attacked a convoy of
international troops in the western province of Herat.
Authorities say at least one soldier and two civilians were wounded in
the explosion today. They say the bomber attacked U.S. forces
assigned to train Afghan police.
Also today, the U.S.-led coalition announced its
forces killed 11 Taliban militants Thursday in an operation against a
suspected bombing network.
The coalition says the leader of the network was among those killed in
the raid in Kandahar province. The force says the bomb-making cell was
responsible for roadside attacks that killed coalition forces.
WORLD ECONOMY: Japan's industrial output plunged eight-point-one percent in November
from the previous month.
Official figures released today showed the second consecutive
month of declines in factory output.
Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry said decreases in
production of transportation equipment, general machinery and
electronics parts contributed to the overall decline.
In the United States, desperate retailers are opening early today and offering discounts of as much as 70-percent in hopes
of salvaging a disappointing holiday shopping season.
BANGLADESH - INDIA: Bangladesh says it has sent two warships to a disputed stretch of water
in the Bay of Bengal, where it is in a standoff with India over energy
Naval officials say they took action today after India sent its own ships to the region apparently to explore for gas.
Bangladeshi officials say they have protested to India about the incident.
India has not yet responded to the accusation.
Last month, Bangladesh faced a similar dispute with its eastern neighbor Burma over another area in the bay.
US - OBAMA - CHRISTMAS: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to a group of
Marines and sailors in Hawaii on Christmas Day
Mr. Obama spent more than an hour greeting the servicemen and their
families at the Marine base near his vacation rental home. He thanked
them for their service, and spent time posing for pictures with them.
In a radio address Wednesday, Mr. Obama urged Americans to continue to
support U.S. troops fighting abroad. He called their service an
"extraordinary and selfless sacrifice" and an "inspiration to us all."
Listen to our World News for details.