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'Slumdog Millionaire' hits Golden Globes jackpot

British movie Slumdog Millionaire emerged as the big winner at the 66th Golden Globes late Sunday, scooping four awards to underline its credentials ahead of next month s Oscars. Late Australian actor Heath Ledger earned a posthumous Golden Globe for his performance in Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight while British star Kate Winslet won two …

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Israel's Unavoidable Neighbors

TEL AVIV: During the military operations in Gaza, code-named “Fused Lead (after a Hanukkah song about a small spinning top – one of that holiday’s symbols – made out of fused lead), we Israelis have been reminded of a fundamental fact: Gaza is not Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Lebanon. It is a region composed …

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Where is Israel going?

WASHINGTON: These are terrible days for those of us who long to see Israel finally accepted by its neighbors. At a time when all 22 Arab states have offered Israel peace and normalization in exchange for the territories occupied in 1967, this war could destroy that possibility once and for all. No, that does not …

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Cairo's street vendors capitalize on the war on Gaza

CAIRO: On a main street in Mohandiseen, Beni Suef-native Gaber Mahdy is peddling Palestinian kufeyas to motorists and pedestrians. Before that he used to sell reflective triangles mandated by the new traffic law and before that it was little toys. Like other street vendors, Mahdy goes with the flow, selling whatever is popular or on …

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America, Egypt, and the burial of Gaza

In his 1846 short story “The Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allen Poe recounts the story of Montresor, who, seething from years of slights, kills his friend Fortunato by burying him alive in his wine cellar, brick-by-painstaking-brick. Little did Poe know that Montresor’s tactics would eventually be put to such effective use by nation-states. Israel’s latest …

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Security forces turn back Gaza solidarity convoy

RAFAH/CAIRO: A solidarity convoy to Rafah was turned back Friday by security forces before reaching Al-Arish. The convoy was able to get that far only by staging sit-ins at police checkpoints. Around 100 Egyptian and foreign students, lawyers and activists took part in the convoy, organized by the Egyptian Popular Committee for Solidarity with the …

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Tintin, still as popular as ever 80 years on

Cartoon legend Tintin, a rare reporter to rise to world fame having barely written an article, celebrates his 80th birthday this weekend as popular as ever. The immortal boy reporter – the most loved figure in cartoon-mad Belgium s history – first appeared on Jan. 10, 1929 bound for the Soviet Union, in a supplement …

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Egypt index stable on local buying, foreign selling

CAIRO: Egypt s benchmark CASE 30 index was little changed on Sunday as local investors bought into small cap shares, balancing out some light selling on blue chips by foreigners, traders said. Local retail investors were all trading on small caps on rumors, trading opportunities and technical trades, while blue chips were all slowed down …

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885 dead as Gaza fighting rages

GAZA CITY: Israel claimed on Sunday that an end was in sight to its war on Gaza, amid some of the heaviest clashes of an offensive that has killed nearly 900 people in the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza s main city, sparking some of the fiercest battles yet of the 16-day-old …

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The dark side of self-determination

CAMBRIDGE: National self-determination seems a straightforward moral principle, but it is fraught with problems. After Russia sent troops into Georgia in August 2008, it recognized the independence of two breakaway Georgian provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. When few other states followed its example, Russia pointed out that the NATO countries had used force to help …

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Reviving Muslim Democracy

DAKKA: As fears about the Islamization of politics in the Muslim world grow, Bangladesh, with the world’s fourth-largest Muslim population (126 million), has moved dramatically in the opposite direction. Bangladesh is usually heard about only when cyclones and tsunamis ravage its low coastline, but the country’s relatively anonymous international stature belies its strategic importance. Its …

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TRAVEL: It's a plane. It's a hostel. No, it's Jumbo Hostel.

When you exit Arlanda Airport on the highway toward Stockholm, you ll see a Boeing 747 on your left that looks curiously out of place. The plane sits idle and lonely on a grass-covered mound just outside the airport perimeter, without any recognizable airline colors. You might think the giant aircraft got lost on the …

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Egyptian fashionista asks Beirutis to think again

Beirut for New Year’s was my insistent, never tiring “suggestion to my husband since we got married last June. I hadn t been back since the 2006 war and missed walking in the Lebanese capital’s charming streets, chatting with shop vendors as if they were old friends and happily accepting pedestrians expressions of affection for …

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With a Grain of Salt: Where the egg is.

CAIRO: As the Ahly-Ismaili football game ended last week in a shameful confrontation between the fans of both clubs, the situation among the Arabs, was no less shameful, at a time when Israel is forging ahead with its barbaric scheme of Gaza’s “glorious destruction, according to an Israeli military spokesman, “gloriously destroying the hope of …

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Call for an immediate Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

NEW YORK: Every effort to protect innocent people in Gaza from being killed or injured must be made, and the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians must stop. An immediate ceasefire should be entered into with an international, multinational monitoring presence dispatched to ensure compliance. Even more humanitarian aid must flow to those Palestinians who are …

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Bush's Dying Days in Gaza

PARIS: During a visit to the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned that enemies of the United States should not use the power vacuum there to try to alter the status quo or to undermine the new American president’s objectives. But the major challenge in this respect is now coming, ironically enough, from …

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Somali pirates free Saudi supertanker

MOGADISHU: Somali pirates freed a Saudi supertanker seized in the world s biggest ship hijacking for a $3 million ransom on Friday, an associate of the gang said. The capture of the Sirius Star and its $100 million cargo of crude in November drew attention to a surge in piracy off Somalia that has brought …

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Egyptian women break new ground at the mosque

CAIRO: Amira Khairy is mobbed by housewives kissing her cheeks in greeting as she arrives to give a lesson on reciting the Quran to women at the Al-Sedeeq mosque in Heliopolis. Students set up chairs for the class, and soon the hum of chanting female voices fills one of the building s larger chambers. Up …

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Oil slips below $41 after US unemployment data

LONDON: Oil prices slipped below $41 a barrel on Friday as data showing a big rise in US unemployment deepened gloom over the outlook for the world s biggest oil consumer. US employers slashed payrolls by 524,000 in December, driving the national unemployment rate to its highest level in almost 16 years, a government report …

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Carter: Fighting in Gaza could renew peace talks

ATLANTA: Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that Israel’s assault on Gaza has been destructive and disproportionate to rocket attacks on Israel but could result in new efforts for a long-term Middle East peace plan. Carter, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, said although animosity toward Israel in the Arab world “has probably …

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Video games inspired by TV, movies, board games

Like so many American creations – baseball, comic books, rock n roll – the video game is a mongrel art form. Literature, music, art and film all get jumbled together in this relatively new medium, but even that isn t enough: Designers have to figure out how to make the whole package interactive as well. …

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What Happens Next?

It’s been interesting to hear the different stories generated by the rumor mill, and read them in various newspapers regarding the situation in the Middle East. How much financial trouble is Dubai in? Is Abu Dhabi bailing them out? Are Emirates and Etihad merging? Are Emaar and Aldar in talks? The speculation will go on …

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Goldman, UniCredit best '08 oil price forecasters, says poll

LONDON: Goldman Sachs and UniCredit were the most accurate forecasters for average 2008 oil prices at the start of the year according to the Reuters oil poll. Last year was uniquely difficult for forecasters, with the largest oil price swing ever and high volatility across financial markets. Oil started the year by hitting $100 for …

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Egypt, Iran spar over media 'incitement' ad

CAIRO: Egypt is demanding Iran bring to justice the authors of an advertisement calling on Iranians to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak. The advertisement was published by the Iranian Fars News agency on Sunday by a student group. The announcement was in Persian and offered a reward of $1 million to whoever would carry out the …

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Mohamed Al-Bosaty's "Hunger"

Mohamed Al-Bosaty is an Egyptian novelist from the 60s generation who has been criticized for working in Naguib Mahfouz’s shadow. Highly critical of Egyptian cultural/literary power centers, Al-Bosaty was never officially recognized by his home country, despite his popularity and the wide critical acclaim his works have often received. His new novel “El-Gou’ (Hunger) chronicles …

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The scenario neither side wanted

In the Lebanon war, we were informed about the objectives of the operation and knew they were impractical. Now we are not told, so we have to guess. Is this about destroying Hamas? Apparently not. Beyond the nausea that this expression conveys, there is also apparently no such animal. After all, we are talking about …

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US Jews, Muslims need new playbook

CHICAGO: The Council of Islamic Relations calls the Israeli attack on Gaza a “disproportionate and counterproductive … massacre . Its homepage features a photo of a bombed out building in Gaza with a panicked official ushering civilians to safety. The American Jewish Committee’s homepage has a picture of Palestinian militants in ski masks holding guns …

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Oil edges upward after plunging on US report

VIENNA, Austria: Oil prices crept higher Thursday, but aftershocks from an unexpectedly high increase in US inventories kept the market subdued after a 12 percent plunge overnight. More dismal economic and corporate news from the US also suggested demand is slowing and helped keep a lid on prices. Light, sweet crude for February delivery rose …

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HRW calls on Egypt to open Rafah border

CAIRO: In a press statement issued Thursday, Human Rights Watch called on Egypt and Israel to open their borders to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza and permit civilians to seek refuge from the conflict. “There is no place safe for civilians in Gaza at this time, said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at HRW. …

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Oil dips as traders weigh weak demand, Middle East violence

Oil prices dipped to near $48 a barrel Wednesday as investors weighed tensions in the Middle East and more bad US economic news suggesting crude demand is slowing. By mid-afternoon in Europe, light, sweet crude for February delivery was down 43 cents to $48.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. …

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