Friday, Nov 27th

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Women banned from Baghdad shrine

Iraqi authorities have closed a major shrine in Baghdad's Kadhimiya area to women amid security concerns as a Shia religious ceremony reaches its climax.

Ashura is among the holiest days for Shia Muslims, but women will be barred from the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine.


TVNL Comment: Iraqi women had full equality under Saddam!

Gates estimates 2009 war costs at $136 billion

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost almost $136 billion for the 2009 budget year that began Oct. 1 if they continue at their current pace.

Speaking for neither his current boss, President George W. Bush — nor his future one, President-elect Barack Obama — Gates told top lawmakers in a New Year's Eve letter that the Pentagon would need nearly $70 billion more to supplement the $66 billion approved last year.


Ex-Guantánamo detainee describes torture

When Muhammad Saad Iqbal arrived home here in August after more than six years in U.S. custody, including five at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he had difficulty walking, his left ear was severely infected, and he was dependent on a cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants.


In Pictures: the slaughter of Gazan children Victims of the Israeli occupation forces in the tenth day of their attacks on Gaza Strip

The assault on Gaza is now into its tenth day. As the death and injury toll continues to rise hospitals are becoming increasingly overwhelmed. Israel however insists there is not a humanitarian crisis.


Photographers criminalised as police 'abuse' anti-terror laws

Groups from journalists to trainspotters have found themselves on the receiving end of this unwanted attention, with many photographers now fearing that their job or hobby could be under threat.

So serious has the situation become that the MP and keen photographer Austin Mitchell, chairman of the Parliamentary All-Party Photography Group, tabled an early day motion last March deploring the "officious interference or unjustified suspicion" facing camera enthusiasts around public buildings, where they are increasingly told that it is against the law to photograph public servants at all – especially police officers or community support officers – or that members of the public cannot be photographed without their written permission.


The Times to Sell Display Ads on the Front Page

In its latest concession to the worst revenue slide since the Depression, The New York Times has begun selling display advertising on its front page, a step that has become increasingly common across the newspaper industry.

The New York Times Company, like newspaper publishers around the country, has taken several steps to cut costs and increase revenue in the last two years, including reducing staff through buyouts and layoffs, cutting the physical size of its pages, selling or closing subsidiaries and raising subscription prices.


Israeli strikes hit two UN schools in Gaza, five killed: medics

Israeli strikes hit two separate schools run by the United Nations in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least five Palestinians, medics and UN officials said.

Two people were killed in a strike on a school in the southern of Khan Yunis and three people were killed in an air strike on a school in Gaza City, they said.

Both schools are run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The identities of the victims were not yet known.


Netanyahu nephew faces court martial for pacifism

A nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's finance minister and former prime minister, faces a three-year prison sentence for refusing to serve in the army.

About 20,000 ultra-Orthodox teenagers are exempted each year under special laws that cover students who attend yeshivas, or religious schools. Officials have recently expressed concerns that increasing numbers of Israeli men may try to opt out of military duty.

About 520 reservists recently declared that they would refuse to serve in the occupied territories for moral reasons.


Bush library donors to be kept secret

Donors to the new presidential library probably will remain a mystery, according to the nonprofit foundation overseeing its fundraising.

"It's our decision not to disclose who the donors are," said Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, citing some donors' preference to remain anonymous.

The foundation, which will oversee construction of the library, museum and public policy institute at the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, had raised less than $3 million when the latest tax reports were filed in August.

That's far short of its $300 million goal, but foundation officials say the fundraising will pick up significantly after Bush leaves office Jan. 20.


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