100s of Radio Stations in Payola Probe

INVESTIGATIONS

U.S.

100s of Radio Stations in Payola Probe

FCC Commissioner: Evidence of 'Systematic Betrayal of the Responsibility of Broadcasters' (ABC News)

Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq

Officer who headed U.S. intelligence on Middle East until last year accuses administration of "cherry-picking" information used to justify war. (Washington Post)

Libby: White House 'Superiors' OK'd Leaks

A former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to give secret information to reporters as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq, according to court papers. (AP)

France

France Secretly Upgrades Capacity Of Nuclear Arsenal

Modification increases range of missiles. Altitude bomb to knock out electronic systems. (The Guardian)

Guantanamo

U.S. Frees 7 Afghans From Guantanamo

Seven detainees were freed from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sent to their home country of Afghanistan this week, Defense Department officials announced yesterday, the latest step in Pentagon efforts to reduce the number of captives in the facility over coming months. (Washington Post)

Force-Feeding Breaks Protest At Guantánamo

Lawyers say abuse at prison has left only four on hunger strike. (The Guardian)

Nigeria

Nigeria Confirms Bird Flu Spread

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found on three more farms in northern Nigeria, where thousands of poultry have died recently. (BBC)

Afghanistan

Bomb Attacks Kill Afghan Troops

Bomb attacks in rugged eastern mountains have killed eight Afghan troops and wounded six others, an official said. (AP)

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS

Patriot Act Compromise Clears Way for Senate Vote

White House, key lawmakers agree to revisions that are likely to ensure extension of law. (Washington Post)

IRAQ NEWS

Kidnapped U.S. Reporter Appeals for Help

Kidnapped U.S. Reporter Appeals for Supporters' Help to Do Whatever It Takes to Win Her Release. (AP)

Iraqi Army Searches for New Al Qaeda Hideouts

Iraqi army units are searching for Al-Qaeda members in a remote hilly area where they are believed to have fled after falling out of favor with tribal leaders in former strongholds. (AFP)

US Offered to Exile Saddam If He Curbed Insurgents: Lawyer

The United States offered to let Saddam Hussein live in exile like Napoleon on St Helena if he would use his influence to end the Iraqi insurgency, a lawyer for the deposed leader said. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sunni Cleric Kidnapped in Baghdad

Men wearing Iraqi police uniforms snatched a Sunni Arab cleric from his Baghdad home. Also, a car bomb exploded outside a Sunni Muslim mosque in Baghdad. (AP)

Dec. 15 Iraqi Election Results Certified

Dec. 15 Iraqi Election Results Certified, Key Step in Forming Government. (AP)

ANALYSIS & OPINION

Danger? Drabness? No Date? Iraqis Find an Outlet Online

On a recent rainy afternoon, Ahmad Nader Ali sat in a booth at the ShreifiNet Cafe, sending instant messages to his brother who lives in Finland on one screen window and his fiancée, Nour, on another. A tiny Web camera sat atop the computer, beaming live images of him to Nour's home screen across Baghdad. (NY Times)

Iran Nuclear Crisis: Iranians Speak

With the Iranian nuclear crisis escalating, the BBC News website and BBCPersian.com spoke to six Iranians in the country's capital, Tehran, for their thoughts on the crisis. (BBC)

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