India's financial hub on alert over terrorism plot

MUMBAI, India

City on alert over fears of terrorist plot

Mumbai, India's financial capital, was on high alert Friday after authorities said four terrorists had entered the country and were plotting attacks to be carried out during the holidays. Mumbai police officials said late Thursday that they suspected that the men belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani group that Indian and U.S. officials say carried out the November 2008 attacks in this city that killed more than 163 people. The police released a sketch of one of the men, identified as Waleed Jinnah, and asked the public to call the police if they saw him or had any information about the suspects.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.

First lady helps kids track Santa

Some kids who call the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa-tracking program hang up as soon as a volunteer answers the phone — probably because they expected a recording and not a real person, veteran Santa trackers say. There were some especially awed kids Friday, when one of the people answering the phone was first lady Michelle Obama. A telephone link from Hawaii, where the Obamas are on vacation, allowed her to pitch in with volunteers answering calls and e-mails at Peterson Air Force Base. The White House said she took calls for 40 minutes and spoke with children from at least a dozen families. It's believed to be the first time in the 55-year history of the event that a first lady joined in, said Jamie Graybeal, NORAD'S deputy chief of staff for communications.

CHICAGO

Emanuel cleared for mayoral run

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor although he spent much of the last two years living in Washington while working for President Barack Obama, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled Thursday. The board's unanimous decision to put Emanuel's name on the Feb. 22 ballot didn't resolve the matter completely, with one of the objectors' lawyers saying he would immediately appeal the ruling and fight Emanuel's candidacy all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, if necessary.

SEOUL, South Korea

S. Korea wraps up military exercises

The South Korean military on Friday wrapped up three days of land and sea exercises as tensions on the peninsula remained high. Northern artillery shelled the South's Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, killing four people, and South Korea followed with two live-fire training exercises despite threats from North Korea that it could retaliate if it felt threatened. A report released Friday predicted that the North could carry out a third nuclear test as early as next year, adding to the growing unease. North Korea carried out tests in 2006 and 2009.

Elsewhere

Minsk, Belarus: President Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian leader of Belarus, was on Friday declared the winner of an election condemned by international monitors and his challengers. Police, meanwhile, rounded up carol-singing protesters near the prison where most of the challengers are held.

Quito, Ecuador: Rescue workers said a bus ran off a foggy, rainy mountain road in the western province of Manabi and plunged about 1,100 feet, killing at least 34 people and injuring 23 others on Friday.

Times wires

India's financial hub on alert over terrorism plot 12/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 24, 2010 8:36pm]

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