Dec 31 2011 NASA Grail Probes To Begin Lunar Orbit

HOUSTON - U.S. space agency NASA says its twin lunar spacecraft that are on a mission to study the Moon’s gravitational field and internal structure are set to begin orbiting Earth’s satellite on Saturday and Sunday.
NASA launched the two unmanned Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, probes in September. It says the first probe, […]

 
 

Dec 31 2011 Spain To Impose New Austerity Measures

MADRID - Spain is getting ready to start the new year with a new round of austerity measures, hoping to contain a growing deficit.
The country’s new government announced $11.5 billion in fresh spending cuts Friday, saying the budget was in worse shape than the previous government had acknowledged.  It also announced a freeze on pay […]

 
 

Dec 31 2011 US To Conduct Military Exercises With Israel

JERUSALEM - Israel and the United States are planning joint military exercises in early 2012 with a focus on missile defense. The moves come amid recent Israeli media reports that Israel’s government is considering an attack on Iran’s controversial nuclear sites. Iran has vowed to hit back. In northern Israel preparations are being made for […]

 
 

Dec 31 2011 US To Sell Missile Defense System To UAE

WASHINGTON - The United States and the United Arab Emirates have signed a deal for a missile defense system in the Persian Gulf nation.
 
The Pentagon said in a statement Friday that U.S.-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been awarded a nearly two billion dollar contract to supply the UAE with equipment and support services.
 
The deal […]

 
 

Dec 30 2011 Iraq Suffers Political Crisis Following US Withdrawal

BAGHDAD - In the wake of the U.S. military pullout from Iraq, a political crisis threatens to ignite a fresh sectarian conflict. Regional tension between Shi’ite powerhouse Iran and Sunni archrival Saudi Arabia also threatens to worsen the sectarian divide in the Middle East.
In a region hit by multiple crises and growing instability, the latest […]

 
 

Dec 30 2011 US Prescription Drug Abuse On The Rise

WASHINGTON - U.S. health officials say drug abuse is a major cause of death in the United States and that prescription drugs are a big part of the problem.  Painkillers and mood-altering medications have left many people addicted, with serious results.
At the Malibu Beach Recovery Center, outside Los Angeles, residents learn yoga and other coping […]

 
 

Dec 30 2011 US Provides Combat Aircraft To Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON - The United States says it will provide combat aircraft to the Saudi air force under a new agreement valued at $29.4 billion.
 
In a statement Thursday, the White House said the U.S. and Saudi governments signed an agreement for the U.S. to provide advanced F-15SA combat aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
 
It says […]

 
 

Dec 29 2011 US First Time Jobless Claims Rise Upward

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation rose last week, an exception to the generally improving trend in the U.S. job market.
Thursday’s report from the Labor Department says first-time jobless claims rose 15,000 to a nationwide total of 381,000.
 
But economists say averaging unemployment claims over a four-week period gives a more […]

 
 

Dec 29 2011 Kim Jong Un Hailed As Supreme Leader

SEOUL - With a distant siren the only sound, an ocean of people bowed silently Thursday before North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
From a balcony, he looked out over hundreds of thousands gathered for a silent memorial to his father - and a pledge of unwavering loyalty to him.
The North’s new leader is not yet 30-years-old, […]

 
 

Dec 29 2011 Rick Perry Vows To Reduce Size Of Federal Government

AUSTIN - Texas Governor Rick Perry has held the top leadership position in one of the largest U.S. states, since George W. Bush left the post in 2000 to assume the U.S. presidency. Perry is now the state’s longest-serving governor.
 
Perry, 61, is campaigning on a pledge to reduce the size of the federal government. Political […]

 
 

Dec 29 2011 Tehran Continues Threats Concerning Strait Of Hormuz

WASHINGTON - For the second time in two days, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz.  Iranian officials warned they would shut down the world’s strategic oil passageway if the West imposes sanctions on Iran’s oil shipments.  Now the U.S. has responded that it would answer any blockade forcefully.  The controversy revolves around […]

 
 

Dec 28 2011 US Consumer Confidence Index Rises

WASHINGTON - American consumers may be feeling a little more upbeat about the economy.  The nation’s Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points in December to 64.5, the highest level since April.  The renewed optimism appears to be in line with this year’s holiday shopping trends - with consumers giving retailers something to smile about.
Deep […]

 
 

Dec 28 2011 Kim Jong Il Funeral Held In North Korea

SEOUL - Snowy streets and wails of grief dominated the live broadcast from North Korea state television Wednesday, as the reclusive state bid farewell to its absolute leader, Kim Jong Il. International media were barred from the event.
 
The reason for reported delays in the start of Wednesday’s funeral procession was immediately apparent in images broadcast […]

 
 

Dec 27 2011 Cuba Releases Over 2,500 Prisoners

WASHINGTON - A human rights group in Cuba says Havana has included five political prisoners among more than 2,500 prisoners who were released in a humanitarian gesture ahead of a visit by the pope.
The Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said Tuesday that at least 50 political prisoners remain behind bars. It called […]

 
 

Dec 27 2011 Muqtada Al-Sadr Calls For New Elections In Iraq

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi political bloc led by anti-American Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a call to dissolve Iraq’s parliament and hold early elections, in a move that could escalate the country’s growing sectarian crisis.
The Sadrists said Monday that new elections are the only way to resolve Iraq’s deepening political problems because the current […]

 
 

Dec 27 2011 Arab League Monitors Syrian Protest Crackdown

DAMASCUS - Arab League monitors have traveled to the Syrian city of Homs, a hub of opposition protests where rights activists say government security forces intensified their attacks in recent days.
Syrian television said Tuesday the monitors were meeting with the governor of Homs.
The head of the Arab League mission, Sudanese General Mohammed Dabi, said earlier […]

 
 

Dec 26 2011 Russian Protests Challenge Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW - When Russia’s protest movement started three weeks ago, many in the Kremlin calculated that winter would kill it off. Saturday’s rally to protest alleged fraud in the December 4 parliamentary elections, however, was bigger than the first large protest on December 10.
The protesters shouted “New Elections, New Elections,” and organizers say their densely […]

 
 

Dec 24 2011 Kim Jong Un Named Supreme Commander

SEOUL - North Korea’s state media on Saturday hailed Kim Jong Un as “supreme commander” of the military, in a sign that the Stalinist nation’s second generational transition of power is going smoothly.
It is the first time that one of the North’s official outlets has used the title supreme commander - a post held by […]

 
 

Dec 24 2011 Prince Philip Receives Coronary Stent

LONDON - Queen Elizabeth on Saturday visited her husband in a British hospital, where he is recovering after undergoing heart surgery.
 
Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, had a “good night” in Cambridge’s Papworth Hospital following a procedure Friday for a blocked artery in his heart that is said to have caused him chest pains.
Doctors Friday inserted […]

 
 

Dec 24 2011 EPA To Impose New Rules On Power Plant Emissions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to regulate the largest remaining source of uncontrolled toxic air pollution in the United States: coal- and oil-fired power plant emissions. The new rules — 20 years in the making — will affect 1300 power plants, half of which lack modern air-pollution controls.
Most power plants affected by […]

 
 

Dec 24 2011 US Congress Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

WASHINGTON - After a tense impasse on Capitol Hill, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives passed legislation to extend a payroll tax cut for two months and continue unemployment insurance for nearly 2 million jobless Americans. The renewal comes just before the benefits were set to expire.
The political standoff came to an end […]

 
 

Dec 23 2011 US Places Bounty On Syrian National Yasin al-Suri

WASHINGTON - The United States Thursday announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a Syrian national said to be operating as an al-Qaida paymaster from a base in Iran. The bounty, under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program, is the first ever offered for a terrorist financier.
The bounty of […]

 
 

Dec 22 2011 Violence Explodes In Baghdad Following US Withdrawal

BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials say more than a dozen explosions have hit the capital, Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding more than 180 others in the worst violence to hit the country in months.
The apparent coordinated blasts Thursday struck across the city, mainly in Shi’ite areas, days after the final withdrawal of U.S. […]

 
 

Dec 21 2011 North Korea Mourns Kim Jong Il

SEOUL - North Korea appeared calm Wednesday as the nation mourned the death of Kim Jong Il, and continued the transition of leadership to his son, Kim Jong Un.
North Korean state media say millions of people turned out to pay their respects at statues and portraits of the late “Dear Leader.”
In Beijing, Chinese leaders, including […]

 
 

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