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Authorities find traces of radiation on two British Airways jets

LONDON - Officials found traces of radiation on two British Airways jets, and the airline appealed Wednesday to tens of thousands of passengers who flew to Moscow or other cities to come forward - the latest twist in the inquiry into the poisoning death of a former Russian spy.

December 18, 2006 | By TARIQ PANJA Associated Press Writer | Nation

Ford says 38,000 have accepted buyout or early retirement offers

DETROIT - Almost half of Ford Motor Co.'s hourly production workers - 38,000 so far this year - have accepted buyouts or early retirement offers as the nation's second biggest automaker shrinks in the face of multibillion-dollar losses and fierce competition from Asian carmakers.

December 18, 2006 | By SVEN GUSTAFSON Associated Press Writer | Nation

Bush-Al-Maliki meeting postponed for a day

AMMAN, Jordan - President Bush's high-stakes summit with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was put off Wednesday amid political unrest in Baghdad and public disclosure of U.S. doubts about the Iraqi leader's capacity to control sectarian warfare.

December 18, 2006 | By DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press Writer | Nation

Recent sea lion attacks in California challenge animal’s cuddly and playful image

SAN FRANCISCO - Tourists flock to Fisherman's Wharf for the seafood and the stunning views of San Francisco Bay, but for many visitors, the real stars are the dozens of playful, whiskered sea lions that lounge by the water's edge, gulping down fish.

December 18, 2006 | By MARCUS WOHLSEN Associated Press Writer | Nation

Pope condemns religious violence, Muslim cleric warns of growing ’Islamophobia’

ANKARA, Turkey - Pope Benedict XVI urged leaders of all religions Tuesday to ''utterly refuse'' to support any form of violence in the name of faith, while Turkey's top Muslim cleric complained to the pontiff of growing ''Islamophobia'' in the world.

December 18, 2006 | By VICTOR L. SIMPSON Associated Press Writer | Nation

Witnesses detail immolation attack on six Sunnis in Baghdad last week

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The attack on the small Mustafa Sunni mosque began as worshippers were finishing Friday midday prayers. About 50 unarmed men, many in black uniforms and some wearing ski masks, walked through the district chanting ''We are the Mahdi Army, shield of the Shiites.''

December 18, 2006 | By STEVEN R. HURST Associated Press Writer | Nation

Bush says U.S. won’t quit Iraq until ‘‘mission complete,’’ asks more help in Afghanistan

RIGA, Latvia - Under intense pressure to change course, President Bush on Tuesday rejected suggestions Iraq has fallen into civil war and vowed not to pull U.S. troops out ''until the mission is complete.''

December 18, 2006 | By TOM RAUM Associated Press Writer | Nation

10 killed in group home fire in southwest Missouri; 24 others treated as cause sought

ANDERSON, Mo. - An early morning fire broke out in a group home for the elderly and mentally ill Monday, killing 10 people and injuring two dozen others in a blaze that the governor said was being treated as a crime.

December 18, 2006 | By MARCUS KABEL Associated Press Writer | Nation

Shoppers face generous discounts as online shopping season kicks off Monday

NEW YORK - After jamming malls on Friday for discounted flat-screen TVs and toys, shoppers clicked onto their computers at work Monday as retailers ushered in the start of the online shopping season with bargains and marketing hype.

December 18, 2006 | By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AP Business Writer | Nation

Al-Maliki camp expects Bush to talk about speeding security handover

BAGHDAD, Iraq - President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will discuss a speedier hand-over of security control to Iraqi forces as a prelude to the start of a U.S. withdrawal when they meet in Jordan this week, top Iraqi government officials said Monday.

December 18, 2006 | QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Writer | Nation

U.S. troops who threw themselves on grenades in Iraq could get the Medal of Honor posthumously

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had just an instant to react when a hand grenade was tossed into his rooftop hideout in Iraq.

December 18, 2006 | By THOMAS WATKINS Associated Press Writer | Nation

Debate over civil war in Iraq masks deeper divisions

BAGHDAD, Iraq - America's hand-wringing over whether the violence in Iraq amounts to a civil war, while on the surface a semantic distinction, mirrors deeper divisions over how far the U.S. should go to try to salvage a desperate situation.

December 18, 2006 | By STEVEN R. HURST Associated Press Writer | Nation

Wife and contact of poisoned ex-Russian spy were exposed to radiation

LONDON - The wife of an ex-KGB agent fatally poisoned in Britain and the Italian security expert he met the day he fell ill both showed traces of the same radioactive substance found in the dead man's body, friends and officials said Friday.

December 18, 2006 | By DAVID STRINGER Associated Press Writer | Nation

Huge Iraq spending bill to test Democrats

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is hammering out its largest-ever appeal for more Iraq war funds - a record $100 billion, at least, and that figure reflects cuts from wish lists originally circulating around the Pentagon.

December 18, 2006 | By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press Writer | Nation

A third of red lights to be extinguished in crackdown on Amsterdam’s famed prostitution district

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - City officials say they will turn off the red lights and shutter a third of the prostitution ''windows'' in Amsterdam's famed Red Light District, where scantily-clad ladies of the night have beckoned customers for hundreds of years.

December 18, 2006 | By TOBY STERLING Associated Press Writer | Nation

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