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Israel approves release of 250 Palestinian prisoners

JERUSALEM (AFP) — The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas amid persistent violence around the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The move followed a pledge by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during talks with Abbas on November 17,…

Poland adopts 24-bln-euro economic aid package

WARSAW (AFP) — Poland on Sunday adopted an economic package for 2009-2010 valued at 24 billion euros (30 billion dollars) to help weather the global financial crisis, as it revised downwards its growth forecast. “It is a stabilisation and development programme, because Poland is a country that is still developing,”…

Iceland whale meat to arrive in Japan: report

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan is to allow imports of whale meat from Iceland for the first time since 1991, a report said Sunday. Nations across the world are signed up to an agreement not to hunt whales for commercial purposes but Japan said it was not breaking the accord and…

Priest pushes Obama supporters to confession

A California pastor told his parishioners to attend confessional if they had voted for President-elect Barack Obama because of his stance on abortion, the McClatchy Tribune reported. The Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Modesto, Calif., said voting for a pro-choice candidate amounted to a punishable…

Former Bush advisor: Obama’s cabinet ‘much less ideological’

The members of President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet will be “much less ideological” than those in the Bush administration, a former Bush strategist said Sunday. Speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd said Obama chose many people who he has frequently disagreed with in the past, not least of which is…

Bill Clinton agrees to disclose donors: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former US president Bill Clinton has agreed to disclose the names of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation so his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton to become secretary of state, The New York Times reported Sunday. The move is part of an agreement with President-elect Barack Obama…

Chambliss predicts victory in Georgia

Sen. Saxby Chambliss told Fox’s Chris Wallace that he would “win again” in Georgia’s runoff election. Chambliss appeared on Fox News Sunday. “If voters turnout in the same ratios and same numbers we’ll win again,” Chambliss said. Projections suggest that black voters will only make up 23 percent of the…

Swiss stub out cannabis decriminalisation bid

GENEVA (AFP) — Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to decriminalise cannabis by a clear majority in a nationwide referendum, Swiss news agency ATS reported. Switzerland is the heaviest user of cannabis in Europe according to a recent study but the proposal to decriminalise the drug failed to win…

Obama could make ‘amazing’ difference for poor: UN aid chief

DOHA (AFP) — US president-elect Barack Obama could make an “amazing” difference for the world’s poor if he fulfils his campaign pledges, the head of the UN’s Millennium Campaign said in an interview with AFP on Sunday. Outgoing President George W. Bush kept his promises on international aid but did…

Fox: Will Mumbai attacks delay Gitmo close?

Fox’s Alisyn Camerota talked with Bob Beckel and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum about how the attacks in Mumbai would effect Barack Obama’s policies. Camerota asked Santorum, “Is it hard to get a handle on exactly where Barack Obama stands on how he would handle terrorists when we know that…

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