International News Archive - December 22, 2005

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine communist rebels said on Thursday they will not observe the traditional Christmas ceasefire and step up attacks in the countryside. "We don't see any basis to declare a ceasefire," rebel spokesman Gregorio Rosal said in a mobile phone text message sent to reporters.

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians on Thursday during a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus, medics said.

KABUL (Reuters) - An Afghan journalist jailed for writing articles deemed blasphemous to Islam has had his sentence cut and been freed, a senior judge said on Thursday.

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid a surprise Christmas visit to British troops in Iraq on Thursday.

By Katherine Baldwin BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a lightning visit to Iraq on Thursday to assess British troop levels after last week's election and to rally soldiers stationed in the country over Christmas.

By John Ruwitch HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's Communist leaders criticised Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers on Thursday for blocking an election reform package that the government argued would have made the territory more democratic.

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Signs that the H5N1 bird flu virus may be developing resistance to the frontline drug Tamiflu in some patients are not necessarily a cause for alarm, a senior World Health Organization official said on Thursday.

By Andrew Hay ALTAMIRA, Brazil (Reuters) - Amazon land activist Deurival Santiago has the look of a hunted man. Unshaven, his eyes bloodshot and his head bowed, the 53-year-old sits in the back room of a safe house near Brazil's muddy Trans-Amazonian highway as logging trucks roll by outside.

By Atef Sa'ad NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops killed three militants in a West Bank gunbattle and shelled the Gaza Strip to stop rocket fire on Thursday in escalating violence that could complicate upcoming elections on both sides.

By Katherine Baldwin BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on a lightning trip to Iraq, said on Thursday that the situation was entirely different from a year ago and signaled Britain could start scaling down its troop presence in six months.

Word of the Day
  • A handkerchief.
  • Specifically— The legendary sweat-cloth; the handkerchief of St. Veronica, according to tradition miraculously impressed with the mask of Christ; also, the napkin about Christ's head (Johu xx. 7).
  • In general, any miraculous portrait of Christ.
The word 'sudarium' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a handkerchief'.