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TOP STORIES

Foes of Egypt's Islamist president spurn dialogue offer

CAIRO - Egyptian opposition leaders reject a national

dialogue that the Islamist president has proposed as a way out

of a crisis that has polarised the nation and provoked deadly

street clashes. (EGYPT-POLITICS/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), expect

by 1630 GMT/1130 AM ET, by Edmund Blair, 900 words)

+ See also:

- EGYPT POLITICS/COST (PICTURE), moved, by Tom Perry and

Edmund Blair, 1,200 words

- EGYPT-POLITICS/OBAMA (UPDATE 1), moved, 185 words

Rebels circle Damascus airport but no "endgame" in sight

BEIRUT - Rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar

al-Assad declare Damascus International Airport a battle zone,

warning civilians and airlines they will approach it "at their

own risk". (SYRIA-CRISIS/(WRAPUP 2, PICTURE, TV, GRAPHIC),

expect by 1600 GMT/1100 AM ET, by Erika Solomon, 1,000 words)

+ See also:

- SYRIA-CRISIS/UN (UPDATE 1), moved, by Hamdi Istanbullu,

250 words

- LEBANON-TRIPOLI/ (PICTURE, TV), moved, by Oliver Holmes

and Nazih Siddiq, 930 words

Hamas leader ends long exile, visits Gaza Strip

GAZA - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal ends decades of exile

from Palestinian land with a triumphal first ever visit to the

Gaza Strip that underscores the Islamist group's growing

confidence following its latest conflict with Israel.

(PALESTINIANS-HAMAS/ (UPDATE , PICTURE, TV), expect by 1600

GMT/1100 AM ET, by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Marwa Awad, 1,000

words)

+ See also:

- PALESTINIANS-MESHAAL/GAZA (NEWSMAKER, UPDATE 1, PICTURE,

TV), moved, by Samia Nakhoul, 1,600 words

Flag riots mar Hillary Clinton's visit to Belfast

DUBLIN - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns a

wave of street violence in Northern Ireland, saying it shows the

peace process she has long supported in the British province is

not yet complete. (USA-IRISH/CLINTON (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), moved,

by Ian Graham and David Brunnstrom, 800 words)

UNITED STATES

US 'Fiscal cliff' talks down to Obama and Republican Boehner

WASHINGTON - With about three weeks left before America's

"fiscal cliff" deadline, the task of avoiding the steep tax

hikes and spending cuts is coming down was down to talks between

Republican House Speaker Boehner and President Obama.

(USA-FISCAL/ (WRAPUP 1, PICTURE), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by

John Whitesides, 700 words)

US job growth quickens, jobless rate at 7.7 pct

WASHINGTON - U.S. employment grew faster than expected in

November as the hit from superstorm Sandy on payrolls was less

forceful than many feared. The jobless rate fell to a near

four-year low, largely because so many Americans gave up the

hunt for work. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 4), moving shortly, by

Lucia Mutikani, 700 words)

AMERICAS

Venezuela's Chavez back from Cuba medical treatment

CARACAS - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez makes a

theatrical return home after medical treatment in Cuba, walking

and joking in a first public appearance for three weeks that

quash rumors he may have been at death's door.(VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/

(UPDATE 4, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Diego Ore and Efrain Otero,

350 words)

Amnesty sought for Venezuela's jailed, exiled Chavez

opponents

CARACAS - Venezuela's opposition is pressing President Hugo

Chavez for a Christmas amnesty for scores of his foes in jail

and exile over their roles in the many political conflicts of

his 14-year rule. (VENEZUELA-AMNESTY/, moved, by Diego Ore, 600

words)

+ See also:

- VENEZUELA-AMNESTY/CASES (FACTBOX), moved, 660 words

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. likely to extend Iran sanction waivers-sources

WASHINGTON - The United States is likely to exempt India,

South Korea, Turkey and others from Iranian financial sanctions

for another six months as a reward for reducing crude purchases

from the Islamic republic, two U.S. government sources say.

(USA-IRANSANCTIONS/ (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 3), moved, by Timothy

Gardner, 900 words)

AFRICA

Ghana votes in close-call test of stable democracy

ACCRA - Ghanaians wait in long lines to vote in presidential

elections they hope will entrench the country's reputation for

stable democracy in a part of the world better known for civil

wars, coups and corruption.(GHANA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 2, PICUTRE,

TV), moved, by Kwasi Kpodo and Richard Valdmanis, 800 words)

ASIA

Strong quake hits off Japan near Fukushima disaster zone

TOKYO - A strong quake centred off northeastern Japan shook

buildings as far away as Tokyo and triggers a one-metre tsunami

in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster, but

there are no immediate reports of deaths or serious damage.

(JAPAN-QUAKE/ (UPDATE 5, TV, PICTURE, GRAPHIC), moved, by Antoni

Slodkowski, 700 words)

Philippines buries dead, typhoon toll hits 418

NEW BATAAN, Philippines - Residents in the southern

Philippines bury their dead even as rescue workers continue

scouring remote areas for survivors of Typhoon Bopha, the

nation's strongest storm this year, which killed 418 people and

left nearly as many missing.(PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON/(UPDATE 1,

PICTURE, TV), moved, by Erik de Castro, 540 words)

China's Xi hits nationalist note with talk of 'revival'

SHANGHAI - In his first three weeks as China's Communist

Party boss, Xi Jinping has shown himself to be more confident,

direct and relaxed than his predecessor - but also quick to

invoke nationalistic themes to win public support and

legitimacy. (CHINA-XI/ (PICTURE), moved, by John Ruwitch, 825

words)

EUROPE

Historic Spanish hotels start two-day strike

MADRID - Workers at Spain's state-owned chain of luxury

parador hotels, often housed in historic castles and palaces,

start a two-day strike in protest at job cuts and threats to

close seven hotels. (SPAIN-HOTELS/, expect by 1200 GMT/7 AM ET,

by Sonya Dowsett, 500 words)

CLIMATE

Climate talks risk failure over aid row, lack of emissions

goals

DOHA - Wrangling over aid to the developing world and the

failure of rich countries to set tougher goals for fighting

global warming threaten to torpedo U.N. talks among 200 nations

on the final day. (CLIMATE-TALKS/ (UPDATE 1, TV, PICTURE),

moved, by Regan Doherty and Daniel Fineren, 600 words)

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