ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Hamas officials say Israeli's bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed
a senior member of the group's military wing, the second top Hamas
figure to die in the week-long offensive.
Officials say Abu-Zakariya al-Jamal died today in the Al-Shuja'iyah neighborhood, east of Gaza City.
Another air strike killed Hamas cleric Nizar Rayyan on Thursday.
From Syria, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal warned Israel against a ground
incursion, threatening troops with a "black destiny" if they crossed
Thousands of Israel troops and tanks are stationed along the border, awaiting orders for an invasion.
SRI LANKA: The Sri Lankan military says it is pushing further into rebel-held
territory, after capturing the town the Tamil rebels had used as their
capital in their 25-year war for independence.
The military says its forces are moving towards the northeastern port town of Mullaitivu today.
On Friday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that after months of
intense fighting, the military had captured the key town of
The rebels acknowledged losing Kilinochichi, but said they had moved their headquarters further northeast before the town fell.
AUSTRALIA - GUANTANAMO: The Australian government has formally rejected the United States'
request to resettle former detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention
Australian Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters today the request was denied because it had not met the country's
stringent national security and immigration criteria.
Gillard is filling in for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while he is on
vacation. On Friday, she saidthe
administration of U.S. President George Bush had requested Australia's
help with the detainees last month. She said Australia rejected a
similar request early last year.
IRAN - IRAQ: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in Iran to discuss political
and economic relations between the neighboring countries.
The Iraqi leader received a red-carpet welcome as he arrived in Tehran
today with a delegation of high-ranking officials.
Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, says Mr. Maliki and
Iranian officials will review the 110 agreements their countries have
signed on economic, political, cultural and commercial cooperation.
The two sides also likely will review a security agreement Baghdad
recently signed with Washington allowing U.S. troops to remain in Iraq
GHANA ELECTION: Ghana's electoral commission says opposition leader John Atta-Mills has
beaten the ruling party's Nana Akufo-Addo for the country's presidency.
The victory was announced today after counting votes from
the rural area of Tain, which voted Friday - five days after the rest
of the country.
Voting was postponed in Tain because of ballot distribution problems.
The results were crucial because only only 23-thousand votes separated
the two candidates after counting ballots from Sunday's runoff.
CHINA - TAINTED MILK: A Beijing lawyer says Chinese police have released five parents who
were detained as they prepared to talk to journalists about their
children's sickness from melamine-tainted milk.
Attorney Xu Zhiyong says the parents were released a day after they
were detained in an apparent effort to prevent them from publicizing
their children's plight.
Other concerned parents managed to hold a small outdoor news conference
in Beijing, where they called for further research into the long-term
health effects of melamine.
US ECONOMY: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is urging congressional leaders to
move quickly on an economic recovery plan, designed to create three
In his weekly radio address today, Mr. Obama said, for too
many families, the new year brings "unease and uncertainty" as debts
The president elect - who takes office January 20th - says he will meet
next week with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss
his economic recovery plan.
Many Republicans have expressed concern about his plan for a huge
stimulus package, which Mr. Obama's aides say could cost 775 billion
OLDEST PERSON: A Portuguese woman thought to be the world's oldest person has died at the age of 115. Family members say Maria de Jesus died Friday while being transported to a hospital in central Portugal (near the town of Tomar). De Jesus, born before two world wars and the advent of radio, had held the title of oldest person since the November 26th death of American Edna Parker. Regional news reports say Maria de Jesus outlived three of her six children and only visited a hospital once in her life. The reports say she never drank alcoholic beverages or coffee and never smoked. Her diet consisted mainly of fish and vegetables.
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