Female Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens in Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images(KHAR, Pakistan) -- At least 40 people were killed and another 50 injured when a suspected female suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people receiving aid Saturday in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

“She threw a hand grenade, and before the security force could respond, she detonated herself,” an area official told The New York Times.

Several of the victims were reportedly children.

The attack is the latest in a string of violence in northwest Pakistan.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Indian Police Search for Four Suspected Terrorists in Mumbai

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MUMBAI, India) -- A terror alert has been issued in Mumbai, India, where police are searching for four men suspected of entering the city with plans to carry out a terrorist attack.

Indian police believe the men belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group based in Pakistan that was allegedly responsible for the three-day terrorist siege in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

The group is planning to strike over the holidays, around the Christmas and New Year festivities, according to police.

"It is going to be a violent attack which will cause disruptions," said Himanshu Roy, the joint commissioner of the Mumbai Police at a news conference. "The four have recently arrived in Mumbai. We believe the threat is serious."

"We are not in a position to reveal their nationalities now but they are LeT members," said Roy, who did release the sketch of one of the four suspected militants.

The four men were named as Abdul Karim Musa, Walid Jinnah, Noor Abul Elahi and Mehfooz Alam.

Police put additional men on duty in public places and set up checkpoints along the city's major roads Friday. They closed roads near the Gateway of India landmark and the Taj Mahal hotel. Traffic and activity in most of Mumbai, however, has remained normal.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Strike and Freezing Temps Leave Thousands Stranded at Paris Airport

Photo Courtesy - PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Thousands will be spending Christmas Eve at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris. Freezing temperatures and a shortage of de-icing fluid brought on by a strike have grounded planes.

Roissy-Charles de Gaulle received a supply of de-icing fluid from the United States Friday morning after workers went on strike at the main French glycol factory. Authorities were forced to cancel half of the flights -- about 400 -- scheduled to leave the airport this morning.

Freezing weather meant more cancellations in the afternoon, and for security reasons, passengers were evacuated from a section of one of the airport's main terminals that was covered in large amounts of snow.

Rescuers from the French Protection Civile set up hundreds of camp beds for stranded passengers to sleep on.

Getting people home is "our goal for tonight," said Air France ground official Michel Emeyriat on the iTele TV channel. He said that priority would go to long-haul flights. "We will do everything so that our planes can take off with everyone."

"On a day like today, we would normally have had around 25,000 flights across Europe by now," Rena Fakhouri, a spokeswoman for the air safety organization Eurocontrol told The New York Times. "By contrast, we've had about 15,500 so far today."

In Germany, the Frankfurt Airport remains open, but large amounts of snow shut down Duesseldorf Airport for several hours Friday morning. About 65 flights were canceled. The weather affected Germany's railway system as well. The railway line between Berlin and Hannover was closed Thursday night because of ice covering the overhead electric wires. The line reopened early Friday morning.

Many flights at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam were delayed or canceled.

Ninety-five percent of flights at London's Heathrow Airport are still on schedule, with some airlines even adding extra flights to clear out the airport's stranded passengers. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Chilean Miners Invited to Visit Walt Disney World

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(BURBANK, Calif.) – The Walt Disney Company has given a well-deserved holiday gift to the Chilean miners and their families.

The workers, who spent almost 70 days trapped in a mine in Chile, have been invited to spend a week vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort next month.

The complementary stay will include visits to all four theme parks, meet and greets with Disney characters, gift cards and honorary roles in the Main Street, U.S.A. parade.

"The amazing story of these miners captured the attention of the world for demonstrating the true power and resilience of the human spirit," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "We are proud to welcome these courageous men and their families to the Walt Disney World Resort."

The miners and their immediate family members will arrive at the resort on Jan. 27.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Packages Explode at Two Embassies in Rome; Injuries Reported

Photo Courtesy - Filippo Monteforte /AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- A package exploded at both the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome Thursday, injuring one person in each location, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.  A suspicious package sent to the Ukrainian Embassy was also reported, but it contained no explosive material.

The explosions prompted authorities to check all embassies and consulates in Rome.

A device went off in the Swiss embassy's mailroom immediately after the package was opened.  One embassy employee, a clerk, suffered wounds to both hands.  He was rushed to the hospital and is listed in serious condition.

Another package exploded at the Chilean embassy and wounded one person.  That package was an identical envelope to the one delivered to the Swiss Embassy.  The parcels were about the size of a videocassette, sources told ABC News.

Law enforcement officials believe anarchists are behind the bombings.

The explosions follow the discovery of a rudimentary device in an empty subway car on the outskirt of Rome Tuesday.  Also over the past week, Italy has witnessed a number of anti-government protests, with some violence seen on the streets of Rome.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


South Korea Holds Military Drills; Receives No Threats from North

Photo Courtesy - Korea Pool/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- South Korea's army and air force held a large military exercise on its border Thursday, with criticism but no threats from North Korea.

The drills were held in the Pocheon region, close to the north-south border.  It was the largest combined army and air force drill during winter time.  Units involved included tanks, three dozen self propelled artillery, fighter jets and multiple rocket launchers.

In contrast to threats in recent weeks, North Korea had a muted response to the drills.  It said Thursday that South Korea is trying to hide provocative nature toward the north.  The response was part of a comment in the form of a news dispatch rather than in the name of the government wing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Russia Welcomes Senate's Ratification of Nuclear Treaty

Photo Courtesy - Sasha Mordovets/ Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia has welcomed news of the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the START treaty.

On Thursday, Russian President Medvedev’s press secretary said he is “satisfied to learn that the U.S. Senate ratified the new START treaty and expressed the hope that the Duma and the Federation Council will be prepared to consider this issue and also ratify the document.”

The precise timing of ratification by Russia’s parliament isn’t clear but it will likely be in the coming days or weeks.  It will go through the Duma  -- the lower house -- before going up to the Federation Council, which is the upper house.

The speaker of the Duma said the treaty could be ratified as early as Friday if they approve of the wording in the Senate resolution which they have yet to see.  The head of the foreign affairs committee in the Federation Council said that they are ready to ratify as soon as the Duma passes it.

The Senate voted 71-26 Wednesday to ratify the U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons control treaty.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Wikileaks Leak? Norwegian Paper Claims Access to Entire Cache of Cables

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(OSLO) -- Wikileaks appears to be leaking.

Norway's main business newspaper reported Wednesday that the Aftenposten news service has obtained unfettered and unathorized access to the entire cache of secret government documents held exclusively by Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

If true, Aftenposten would be the only international news organization to have direct possession of the entire trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and military records believed to have been originally leaked by U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning.

The paper does not reveal who leaked the documents from inside Wikileaks' operations.

"I have no comments on how we have secured access to the documents. We never give our sources, even in this case," Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told the paper Dagens Naerings, according to a rough translation of his comments, which were in Norwegian.

Until now, Wikileaks has selectively released roughly 2,000 of the more than quarter million controversial documents, disseminating them to the general public through a handful of news organizations, including The New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers.

The leak from Wikileaks could undermine Assange's plan to use the release of the documents as leverage against foreign governments.

"We are free to do whatever we want with these documents," Almlid told Dagens Naerings. "We're free to publish the documents or not publish the documents. We can publish on the Internet or on paper. We are handling these documents just like all other journalistic material to which we have gained access."

More than a dozen Aftenposten reporters are now sifting through the documents, according to the Australian Herald Sun, which first reported on Aftenposten's acquisition.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Anna Chapman Nude In Playboy, Nabs Political Post

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MOSCOW) -- Nude photos in Playboy are apparently no obstruction to a political career in Russia. At a ceremony in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian spy Anna Chapman was appointed a leader of the youth branch of Vladimir Putin's political party, even though she will appear naked in the men's magazine next month.

Chapman has been named head of a new subdivision within the Young Guard, the youth branch of Putin's United Russia party.

Candid nude photos that an ex-boyfriend snapped of Chapman will appear in the January issue of Playboy as part of an article about Chapman and her father. Other nude and semi-nude photos of Chapman appeared in the British and U.S. press last summer, not long after Chapman and nine other members of a Russian spy ring were exposed in the U.S.

The Young Guard is strongly pro-government, often holding street demonstrations, and was criticized in November after a Russian investigative journalist was badly beaten. Oleg Kashin, who had reported on opposition to a highway planned for a Moscow forest, was attacked on a Moscow street by unidentified assailants. Kashin had been criticized by the Young Guard on its website. The Young Guard had published a picture of Kashin with the label "Will Be Punished," but condemned the attack on Kashin and denied any involvement. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


European Travel Turmoil Easing But Cancellations Persist

Photo Courtesy - Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Europe's Christmas travel chaos is finally starting to ease after freezing temperatures and heavy snow closed airports and stranded thousands, but it's still far from smooth sailing for many weary travelers.

Traveler David Sorrell, at London's Heathrow Airport, described the scene as "atrocious."  He said people were intoxicated, sleeping on the floor, and shouting.

"It's like a refugee camp," Sorrell added.
Both runways are now open at Heathrow, and the airport is slowly chipping away at the large backlog of passengers.  But as airport commercial director John Holland-Kaye said, some problems, such as planes and crews being out of place, persist.

"We've been working hard with the airlines to have a limited schedule," Holland-Kaye said.  "So we have reduced the number of flights at the moment for each airline by a third and that's the first time that's ever been done by any airport in the world."

Conditions similar to those at Heathrow can be found elsewhere in Europe, where things are improving but places like Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France still anticipate a few flight cancellations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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