Yemeni forces strike al-Qaida hideouts, kill 30
SAN’A, Yemen — Backed by U.S. intelligence, Yemeni forces struck a series of suspected al-Qaida hideouts Thursday, including a meeting of senior leaders, killing at least 30 militants in the country’s stepped-up campaign against the terror network, the government said.
The airstrikes were Yemen’s second such major assault on al- Qaida in a week, at a time when the United States has dramatically increased its aid to the government to eliminate the expanding presence of the terror group. Washington fears that al-Qaida could turn fragmented, unstable Yemen into a new Afghanistan-like safe haven in a highly strategic location on the border with oil-rich U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia.
Probe into jet accident
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaican and U.S. authorities launched a probe Thursday examining whether the pilot of American Airlines Flight 331 could have avoided an accident that cracked open the plane and sent nearly 100 people to the hospital.
One alternative could have been to abort the landing and circle around for another attempt, Oscar Derby, director general of Jamaica’s Civil Aviation Authority, told The Associated Press.
The Boeing 737-800 skidded off the runway of Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport late Tuesday, lurching as it stopped at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The flight originated from Reagan National Airport in Washington and left Miami International Airport about an hour late.
The plane’s fuselage broke open, its left main landing gear collapsed, and its nose was crushed.
All 154 people aboard survived, with 92 taken to hospitals, but none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.
Muslims join Jews to give Christians a day off
DETROIT — Many Jews consider Christmas Day an opportunity to serve their community while Christian neighbors celebrate their holiday. This year, what’s also known as Mitzvah Day in southeast Michigan is getting an added boost from Muslims.
For the first time, about 40 Muslims are expected to join 900 Jews for what they call their largest annual day of volunteering. Leaders say it’s a small but significant step in defusing tensions and promoting good will between the religions — particularly on a day that is sacred to Christianity, the third Abrahamic faith.
Father makes plea 13 years after JonBenet’s death
BOULDER, Colo. — The father of JonBenet Ramsey is making a public plea for help in finding his daughter’s killer 13 years after she was found strangled in the basement of her family’s Colorado home.
John Ramsey said in a statement Wednesday that he is asking people to share any suspicions they had or recollections of people acting strangely around the time the 6-year-old girl died.
JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled Dec. 26, 1996.
Police continue to investigate the case.
JonBenet’s mother, Patsy Ramsey, died of cancer in 2006.
Group scoffs at apology
ATLANTA — A Jewish group is calling former President Jimmy Carter’s apology to the Jewish community a “publicity stunt.”
Bob Kunst of Shalom International said Thursday that Carter has sought to build “a global movement against Israel.” He said Carter’s “apologies are questionable and fall on deaf ears.”
Kunst’s Miami-based advocacy group fights anti-Semitism through protests and rallies.
Other Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, welcomed Carter’s apology. Carter offered an Al Het, a Hebrew plea for forgiveness, to the Jewish community this week for “any words or deeds” that may have stigmatized Israel.
Want Christmas pudding? Sign a waiver first
LONDON — A London restaurant has asked diners to sign away their right to sue before consuming Christmas pudding, a traditional Yuletide treat that sometimes contains coins or charms.
Neleen Strauss, the owner of High Timber in central London, acknowledged that the idea was a bit silly, but she said she would rather be safe than sorry.
Recipes for Christmas pudding — sometimes known as a plum pudding — are varied, but generally involve a rich boiled or steamed mixture larded with fruits and spices.
Traditionally, silver coins are hidden in the mix so that some portions have them and others don’t.
Finding one in your pudding is supposed to attract luck, but Strauss said she was told it could also bring chipped teeth — and lawsuits.