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International

Britain's queen launches YouTube site

By DPA

London : Britain's Queen Elizabeth II launched a channel on the popular video-sharing website YouTube Sunday, British press reports said, citing Buckingham Palace.

Known as The Royal Channel, the online video service plans to feature the queen's 50th traditional Christmas Day message for the first time this year, Sunday's Observer weekly reported.

The queen, who did not use a personal computer until two years ago, was told of the YouTube phenomenon by her grandchildren, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Observer reported.

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Winter storm leaves at least 5 dead

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, United States, December 23, SPA - A winter storm packing heavy snow walloped the central United States, causing at least 5 deaths and dozens of injuries as multi-car pileups forced authorities to close parts of several major highways.
The storm Saturday blew heavy snow from Texas to Minnesota. Much of the region was still recovering from a severe ice storm early last week that knocked out electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

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Chavez says he has 'formula' for receiving Colombian hostages

By IANS

Cienfuegos (Cuba) : Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he has already worked out a formula for receiving three hostages being freed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

"I've already come up with a formula to receive them," Chavez told reporters Friday after the conclusion of Caribbean oil summit here, Spain's EFE news agency reported.

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Bolivia's president accuses opposition of plotting to oust him

By IANS

La Paz : Bolivian President Evo Morales, faced with a strong demand for autonomy in the eastern states of the country, turned down the demand by the rightist ruled states and accused them of plotting to overthrow him.

"If conservatives want me out of office, they will have to take me out dead from Government Palace," Morales said, accusing the opposition leaders of planning to overthrow him, Spain's EFE news agency quoted Morales as saying Sunday.

Morales was addressing hundreds of miners in the town of Llallagua in the Andean province of Potosi Saturday.

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German railways, drivers' union in confrontation mode

By DPA

Berlin : Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state-owned railway, has prepared itself for an all-out strike by the main train drivers' union, a railway board member said in an interview published Sunday.

DB would do all in its power to resolve the eight-month dispute by Jan 7, when the union says it intends to call its 15,000 drivers out on an indefinite strike, Georg Brunnhuber told the Sunday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

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At least five killed in car pileups in US

By Xinhua

Washington : At least five people were killed and dozens injured in car accidents in central US after a severe snowstorm hit the region Saturday.

The snowstorm was blamed for numerous car pileups on highways that killed three people in Minnesota, one in Kansas and one in Texas. Stretches of several major highways were closed.

More than 50 vehicles piled up as snow and fog reduced visibility to practically nil in Texas. At least 18 people were injured, and two of them were in critical condition, the police said.

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Thailand restores democracy and perhaps an ousted premier

By DPA

Bangkok : Millions of Thais voted Sunday in a general election restoring democracy to the country after last year's coup that ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra whose shadow looms large over the polls.

Voting at 85,000 polling stations nationwide opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 3 p.m. Unofficial results were expected to be announced before midnight.

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Britain's queen launches YouTube site

London, December 23, SPA -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II launched a channel on the popular video-sharing website YouTube Sunday, British press reports said, citing Buckingham Palace.

Known as The Royal Channel, the online video service plans to feature the queen's 50th traditional Christmas Day message for the first time this year, Sunday's Observer weekly reported.

The queen, who did not use a personal computer until two years ago, was told of the YouTube phenomenon by her grandchildren, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Observer reported.

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FBI Develops Most World Biometric Tests

Washington, (Prensa Latina) The US Federal Bureau of Investigations is developing the world largest data base about people's physical appearance, The Washington Post daily revealed on Saturday.

The newspaper said its objective is to allow the government identifying individuals easily in and out of this country.

As part of the project, valued at $1 billion, the FBI started to gather "digital images of faces, finger prints, and hand palm patterns in its systems," the daily said.

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Withdraw of another 350 British Soldiers from Iraq

London, (Prensa Latina) Another 350 British soldiers of the UK occupation forces in Iraq will leave this country in January to reduce the military contingent to 4,000 soldiers in Iraqi territory, it was announced here Saturday.

A report of British network BBC said the new group would withdraw from Iraq and return to its base in Germany, four months before scheduled.

Official sources said the reduction obeys to a plan for application after the output of the British soldiers from the Iraqi city of Basra last Sunday.

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