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2010 December


Dec 31 2010 Italy Bans Plastic Shopping Bags

ROME - Italy is banning the use of plastic shopping bags across the country starting January 1 and requiring shops and markets to switch to biodegradable bags.
Italian government is thought to be the first in the European Union to outlaw the use of the bags, although some European countries impose a levy on them.
Italians are […]


Dec 31 2010 Former Israeli President Katzav Convicted Of Rape

JERUSALEM - A panel of Israeli judges has found former President Moshe Katsav guilty of rape and other sex crimes against several women. Mr. Katzav, who served from 2000 until 2007, faces a possible sentence of up to 16 years in prison.
Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav had turned down a plea bargain and opted instead […]


Dec 30 2010 US Revokes Visa Of Venezuela Ambassador

WASHINGTON - The United States has revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington Bernardo Alvarez, in apparent retaliation for Caracas’ rejection of Washington’s nominee for U.S. ambassador.
Earlier, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said there could be “consequences” because of Venezuela’s objections to having Larry Palmer serve as the U.S. envoy in Caracas.  But […]


Dec 30 2010 Jazz Legend Billy Taylor Dead At 89

WASHINGTON - Billy Taylor, an American jazz icon, has died of a heart attack at the age of 89.
Taylor’s family announced Wednesday the musician died in New York City overnight.
Taylor was renowned as a pianist and composer.  His career began in the 1940s and included live performances as well as appearances on radio and television. […]


Dec 29 2010 US Retail Sales Climb During Holiday Season

WASHINGTON - A winter snowstorm in parts of the United States appears to have put a damper on after-Christmas shopping, but preliminary reports suggest retailers are enjoying the best holiday season in years.
Blizzard warnings, icy driving conditions and forecasts of as much as 50 centimeters of snow along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts - kept […]


Dec 28 2010 South Korea Vows Retaliation If Provoked

SEOUL - South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in vowing relentless retaliation if provoked again by North Korea, says his country wants peace. But, he told the nation, fear of war is never helpful in preventing war.
Lee made the statement in his final biweekly radio address of the year, Monday. The president called for national unity, […]


Dec 28 2010 Pakistan Marks 3rd Anniversary Of Butto Assassination

ISLAMABAD - Thousands of Pakistanis have gathered at the grave of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in southern Pakistan to mourn her on the third anniversary of her assassination.
On Monday, loyalists paid tribute to Ms. Bhutto at a mausoleum containing her remains in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, reciting prayers and chanting slogans.
She was […]


Dec 23 2010 US Census Bureau Releases Population Data

WASHINGTON - This week the U.S. Census Bureau released the official count of the U.S. population.  Earlier, a huge trove of census data was made available in the form of the American Community Survey, which shows immigrants are assimilating quickly.  But experts say the country’s future growth may depend on its Hispanic minority.  
The Census bureau […]


Dec 23 2010 US Senate Ratifies Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate ratified a nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia on Wednesday by a strong bipartisan vote of 71 to 26. The New START treaty was one of the last measures approved during a busy post-election, end-of-year session.
Vice President Joe Biden presided over the Senate’s ratification vote and announced the result.
“Two-thirds of […]


Dec 22 2010 Iraq Parliament Approves New Government

BAGHDAD - The Iraq parliament has voted to approve the new government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, although the key ministries of interior, defense and national security were left vacant.
The vote to approve the new Iraqi government brought a sigh of relief to many as it put an end to a more than eight […]


Dec 22 2010 US Imposes Tighter Sanctions Against Iran

WASHINGTON - The United States has hit Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its state-owned shipping lines with new sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday it was barring five entities from dealing with the United States for their connections with the Guard and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
Those targeted include two banks, Ansar Bank and […]


Dec 22 2010 Democrats Impose New FCC Regulations For Internet

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, approved controversial new rules for the Internet on Tuesday that supporters say will protect the interests of consumers, service providers and investors.  Opponents, however, warn that the new rules seek to fix something that is not broken and will invite other countries to do more to […]


Dec 20 2010 Iran Makes Huge Cutbacks On Fuel Subsidies

WASHINGTON - Iran has deployed security forces around sensitive locations, including fuel stations Sunday, as cutbacks on subsidies began to take effect, meaning hefty price increases for fuel.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad justified subsidy cuts in an interview on state TV Saturday night, explaining that they were necessary for the country’s well-being. Subsidies, he said, are draining […]


Dec 19 2010 US Senate Blocks Immigration Dream Act

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has blocked a bill that would provide legal residency for the children of illegal immigrants who pursue higher education or perform military service. Saturday’s vote effectively kills the legislation for the remainder of this year, and perhaps for years to come.
It was considered an initial step towards comprehensive immigration reform […]


Dec 19 2010 South Korea Intent On Artillery Exercise Despite Tensions

SEOUL - South Korea’s military says it is waiting for better weather to start a controversial live-firing artillery exercise. North Korea is threatening retaliation if the artillery drill goes ahead on Yeonpyeong island.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the high tension on the Korean peninsula.
South Korean […]


Dec 18 2010 Obama Signs Tax Compromise

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has signed into law a compromise that preserves tax breaks for Americans and benefits for the unemployed. Friday’s signing ends a political battle between the president and some members of his own party.
President Obama says his agreement with Republican lawmakers is good news for the American people this holiday season. […]


Dec 16 2010 UN Lifts Key Restrictions From Iraq

NEW YORK - The United Nations Security Council has lifted restrictions prohibiting Iraq from pursuing a civilian nuclear program, in a step to help restore the country to the international standing it held before its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The council also took two other significant steps to recognize progress in Iraq.
In a unanimous […]


Dec 16 2010 US Sues BP Over Gulf Oil Spill

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it is suing oil giant BP and eight other companies involved in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.  Announcement of the civil suit was made at the Justice Department in Washington by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Holder told a news conference […]


Dec 15 2010 South Korea Holds Air Raid Drills

SEOUL - South Korea has staged its largest-ever air raid drill. The 15-minute nationwide exercise took place Wednesday afternoon, amid a period of heightened tensions with North Korea.
An air raid siren sounding near Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, that was the signal, along with a notification aired nationwide by radio stations, for the 48 million […]


Dec 14 2010 Russian Security Clamps Down Following Mass Riots

MOSCOW - Russian authorities closed Red Square and cordoned off the Kremlin after President Dmitry Medvedev warned race riots threaten “the stability of the state.”
Hundreds of riot police, dressed in black helmets and bullet-proof vests closed off public squares and underground rail stations around the Kremlin late Monday. Russia’s president sternly warned against a repeat […]


Dec 14 2010 Richard Holbrooke Dead At 69

WASHINGTON - U.S special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke died Monday night after undergoing surgery over the weekend to repair a tear in his aorta. Holbrooke’s death comes as President Barack Obama is finalizing a strategy review of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Holbrooke, who was 69-years-old, died at The George Washington […]


Dec 13 2010 Hillary Policy Speech Angers Many

JERUSALEM - There has been a largely unenthusiastic reaction among Israelis and Palestinians to a Middle East policy speech by America’s top diplomat.
Israel’s Cabinet discussed last Friday’s speech by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she expressed frustration with the impasse in the Middle East peace process.
The Palestinians suspended peace talks in late […]


Dec 13 2010 Consumer Prices Skyrocket In China

HONG KONG - Consumer prices in China have risen to their highest level in more than two years, as government economic policy makers meet to tackle the problem.
China’s statistics bureau says higher food prices pushed China’s inflation rate to 5.1 percent in November, up from 4.4 percent in October.
The data comes as national economic policy […]


Dec 10 2010 House Democrats United Against Obama

WASHINGTON - The Democratic caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives has rejected a deal on extending tax cuts negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans. Many Democrats are enraged that the president gave in to Republican demands to extend Bush-era tax cuts for all taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans and are demanding changes […]


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