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US Doctor Rescued From Taliban; Hanukkah Starts; Mom Gives Birth at Zoo

By: AP
By: AP

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The U.S.-led military coalition says an American doctor abducted by the Taliban five days ago has been rescued in eastern Afghanistan.
Dr. Dilip Joseph was captured by Taliban insurgents Wednesday outside the Afghan capital, in the Sarobi district of Kabul province.
According to a statement, he was rescued Sunday in an early morning operation ordered after intelligence showed that the doctor was in imminent danger of injury or possible death.
Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says American and Afghan forces planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted the operation. Allen says "Thanks to them, Dr. Joseph will soon be rejoining his family and loved ones."
The statement did not say where Joseph is from, or whether he was harmed in captivity.
No other details of the rescue operation are immediately available.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Jews around the world are ushering in the eight-day Hanukkah festival this evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression.
In Israel, families gathered after sundown for the lighting, eating traditional snacks of potato pancakes and doughnuts and exchanging gifts.
Local officials lit candles set up in public places, while families displayed the nine-candle menorahs in their windows or in special windproof glass boxes outside.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.
Also known as the festival of lights, the holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.

MERCER, Pa. (AP) -- Authorities say a 7-year-old boy was shot to death when a gun accidentally went off as his father was getting into his truck outside a western Pennsylvania gun store.
The boy was shot Saturday morning at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh. Store owner Leonard Mohney says it happened in the parking lot.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the boy was shot when his father's handgun went off as the man got into the truck while holding the gun.
Police say 44-year-old Joseph V. Loughrey told them he had emptied the magazine but didn't realize a bullet was still in the chamber. Seven-year-old Craig Allen Loughrey was shot in the chest and died at the scene.
State police are investigating the shooting as an accident.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- An upstate New York zoo got a surprise visit from the stork.
A woman gave birth on a wildlife path at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse on Friday, delivering her baby girl with the help of zookeepers not far from the bear exhibit.
Zoo educator Liz Schmidt tells The Post-Standard (http://bit.ly/VuZLHv ) that she rushed over from the reindeer pen to find the 21-year-old woman pushing out the baby.
Other zoo workers arrived with blankets to keep mom and baby warm.
The zoo's elephant expert herded away curious zoo patrons.
An ambulance soon arrived to take the newborn to a hospital. Zoo Director Ted Fox says the zoo plans to send a gift to the family.

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- The decaying carcass of a whale that washed onto a California beach has been towed out to sea.
Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Brian Riley says a tugboat hired by a homeowners' association towed the carcass of the huge whale about 20 miles from shore Saturday.
The 40-foot-long whale washed ashore Monday, creating a big stink and attracting onlookers to the narrow beach in Malibu. The homes of movie stars and millionaires line the cliffs high above the beach.
No government agency took action to remove the dead whale, and it appeared the job would be left to Mother Nature.
The fire department's lifeguards patrol beaches in Malibu, but Riley says the homeowners did not take up the lifeguards' offer to help with the towing.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's governor will hold an extraordinary session to push for approval of a resolution urging U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama to honor the results of a recent referendum that would change the island's political status.
Luis Fortuno says Puerto Rico embraced statehood and rejected the current U.S. commonwealth status during a Nov. 6 referendum. He said Saturday that Congress and Obama pledged to respect the results of the two-part referendum.
In the first question, more than 900,000 voters, or 54 percent, said they were not content with the current status.
On the second question, only about 1.3 million voters made a choice. Of those, nearly 800,000, or 61 percent, chose statehood. Some 437,000 backed sovereign free association and 72,560 chose independence. Nearly 500,000, however, left that question blank.


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