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2011 December


Dec 20 2011 Kim Jong Un Holds Ceremony For Father

WASHINGTON - The body of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is lying in state at a presidential mausoleum, as throngs of somber, weeping mourners continued to express sorrow at the longtime leader’s unexpected death.
North Korean state television on Tuesday showed images of Kim’s body - partially covered by a red blanket - lying […]


Dec 18 2011 Kim Jong Il Dead At 69

WASHINGTON - North Korea’s official news agency reported Monday that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il has died at the age of 69.
The Korean Central News Agency said the reclusive leader died Saturday of a heart attack while on a train for one of his “field guidance” tours. The agency attributed his death to “physical and […]


Dec 18 2011 Vaclav Havel Dead At 75

WASHINGTON - Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who led the peaceful revolution that toppled communism in the former Czechoslovakia, has died. He was 75.
A spokeswoman said Mr. Havel died in his sleep early Sunday at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic with his wife and a nun at his side. […]


Dec 18 2011 Typhoon Washi Strikes Phillippines Killing Hundreds

MINDANAO - Rescue efforts continue in the southern Philippines, which has been pounded by a powerful but slow-moving storm that may have swept entire villages out to sea.
Typhoon Washi struck the region of Mindanao, blanketing the area with heavy rain and high winds.  The storm also triggered a series of deadly flash floods and landslides.
The […]


Dec 18 2011 US Congress Approves $1 Trillion Spending Bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers have avoided a partial government shutdown by voting in favor of a bill to fund federal operations through September 2012.
The Senate approved the roughly $1 trillion spending bill Saturday by a vote 67 to 32, one day after it passed the House of Representatives.
A shutdown would have forced government departments to […]


Dec 18 2011 US Troops Withdraw From Iraq

WASHINGTON - The last convoy of U.S. soldiers left Iraq and entered Kuwait Sunday.
The last of the vehicles filled with several hundred troops crossed the border at 7:38 a.m. - 0438 UTC - leaving behind just a couple hundred soldiers at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
The withdrawal of U.S. forces ends nearly nine years of […]


Dec 17 2011 US Defense Secretary Visits Libya

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in Tripoli for talks with Libya’s interim government, making him the first American defense chief to visit the country.
Saturday’s brief trip comes one day after the United States lifted most of its economic sanctions against Libya in an effort to ease a financial crisis in the […]


Dec 16 2011 Toxic Liquor Kills Scores In India

NEW DELHI - Police are raiding illegal distilleries in eastern India, where the number of people who have died after drinking toxic home-brewed liquor has reached 170.
At least 90 others in the Sangrampur area of West Bengal state remain critically ill.
Local officials say 12 people have been arrested so far for allegedly making and distributing […]


Dec 16 2011 Japan Declares Damaged Nuclear Plant Stable

SEOUL - Japan’s government has announced that the reactors at the nuclear power plant crippled by the March 11th tsunami have achieved conditions of “cold shutdown.” But there is a lack of consensus about what that precisely means.
Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda Friday declared a landmark accomplishment in bringing under control the severely damaged Fukushima-1 […]


Dec 16 2011 Carlos The Jackal Sentenced To Life In Prison

PARIS - A French court has sentenced a Venezuelan militant to life in prison for a series of deadly bomb attacks in France nearly 30 years ago.
Late Thursday, a court in Paris convicted “Carlos the Jackal”, on four separate bombings that killed eleven people and wounded nearly 150 others.
The judge said the 62-year old, whose […]


Dec 16 2011 US Senate Passes Massive Defense Bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers have approved a $662 billion defense bill that contains a provision that President Barack Obama has opposed regarding the handling and detainment of terrorist suspects.
The Senate Thursday voted 86-13 in favor of the bill, which now will go to President Obama to be signed into law.
The House of Representatives passed the […]


Dec 15 2011 US House Passes $662 Billion Defense Bill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $662-billion defense bill that contains a provision regarding the handling of certain terror suspects.
By a margin of 283 to 136, lawmakers Wednesday approved the measure after the White House dropped a veto threat over the provision. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and […]


Dec 15 2011 US Ends Military Operations In Iraq

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the dream of an independent and sovereign Iraq is now a reality, as the United States marked the end of its military mission in Iraq.
Panetta spoke Thursday at a ceremony in Baghdad, calling it a “historic occasion” for both the Iraqi and American people.
It comes weeks […]


Dec 15 2011 Jacques Chirac Convicted Of Corruption

PARIS - Former French President Jacques Chirac has been convicted of corruption.
A judge found Chirac guilty of embezzling public funds Thursday but suspended his two-year sentence in the landmark case.
He was the first former French head of state to face prosecution in more than 15 years.
The 79-year former president, who was not at the trial […]


Dec 14 2011 Obama Cuts Production Of Presidential Coins

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration says the U.S. Mint will stop production of the presidential $1 coins for circulation.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced the decision Tuesday during a Cabinet meeting on cutting waste and eliminating misspent dollars across the federal government.
A White House statement said nearly 1.4 billion surplus dollar coins are sitting in […]


Dec 14 2011 China Imposes New Tariffs On US Auto Imports

WASHINGTON - China has announced that it will impose new taxes on certain U.S.-made vehicle imports, in the latest move to test the strained U.S.-China trade relationship.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that it will impose duties from 2 percent to 2.5 percent on imported passenger cars and sport utility vehicles with engines larger than 2.5 […]


Dec 14 2011 US House Passes Payroll Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to extend a payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year, but the extension is tied to a provision that restarts work on a much-disputed U.S.-Canada oil pipeline project.
Despite the threat of a presidential veto of the pipeline provision, lawmakers in the […]


Dec 13 2011 US Supreme Court To Review Arizona Immigration Law

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on a controversial law targeting illegal immigrants in the southwestern state of Arizona.
The high court agreed Monday to review a federal appeals court decision blocking key parts of the law from being implemented.
The Arizona law requires police to check immigration status during routine traffic stops, […]


Dec 13 2011 US Congress Debates Massive Defense Bill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Congress is moving forward with a massive defense bill with a controversial provision on the military detention of certain terror suspects.
Lawmakers say they made revisions to the detainee provision in an effort to avoid a threatened presidential veto. 
The $662 billion bill authorizes funding for the Defense Department and the national security […]


Dec 13 2011 Iran Rejects Obama Plea To Return Drone

WASHINGTON - Iran has rejected a U.S. request to return a drone that Tehran says it brought down near the Afghan border earlier this month.
Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, said Tuesday that the aircraft is Iran’s property.
Also, state-run media quote Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying the surveillance aircraft is a security […]


Dec 12 2011 Manuel Noriega Returns To Panama

WASHINGTON - The former dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, has returned home, after spending more than 20 years in prisons in the United States and France.
Noriega arrived Sunday evening after being extradited from France, where he served time for money laundering.
The former strongman now faces three separate sentences in Panama for the slayings of political […]


Dec 12 2011 Israel Struggles With Illegal Immigration

JERUSALEM - Israel is taking steps to curb the influx of migrant workers arriving from Africa. 
With about 2,000 African migrants illegally entering Israel each month, the Cabinet approved a program to deal with what it sees as a growing threat.
The $167-million plan calls for speeding up construction of a security fence on the porous border […]


Dec 12 2011 US Military Vacates Pakistan Air Base

WASHINGTON - U.S. military vacated an air base in Pakistan’s southwest Sunday, meeting a December 11 deadline set by Islamabad in response to NATO’s November 26 air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
The Pakistani military said it took over the Shamsi base in Baluchistan province shortly after the last U.S. personnel departed.
The Pakistani government ordered […]


Dec 9 2011 Newt Gingrich Leads In Public Opinion Polls

WASHINGTON - Support for former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich continues to surge in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
A new poll released Thursday shows Gingrich with double-digit leads in three key states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The Quinnipiac University survey shows Republican voters pick Gingrich over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney […]


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