MOSUL, Iraq -- In a festively bedecked dining hall, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld served Christmas Eve dinner to dozens of U.S. soldiers, then fed them his view -- with a mix of optimism, caution and emotion -- of why the war that has cost more than 2,150 U.S. lives must be won. Repeating a theme he struck throughout his visit, Rumsfeld cautioned against an early exit from Iraq. Rumsfeld was winding up a five-day trip that began in Pakistan and included stops in Afghanistan and Jordan.
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. -- He's missing a lot of hair, but a Siberian husky has a new name and a new life, thanks to a construction worker and police officer who rescued him from a railroad track minutes before a train arrived. Jeremy Majorowicz thought it was a little strange that the dog had been sitting on the track for an hour-and-a-half in the cold. Officer Tim Strand said the dog was "shivering unmercifully" when he arrived Monday and would not come to him, so he called animal control officer Al Heyde, who also couldn't get the dog to budge. "I lifted his tail and hindquarters, and saw he was literally frozen to the tracks," Strand said. Strand pulled hard on the dog's tail and was able to release him, but the dog lost a lot of hair. Just 10 minutes later, a train came down the track. The dog was taken to the Chippewa County Humane Association, where workers named him "Ice Train."
BAKU, Azerbaijan -- The failure of an Azerbaijani airliner's control system likely caused it to crash, killing all 23 people on board, an airline official said Saturday. But Ilham Amirov, the deputy chief of Azerbaijani Airlines, said it was too early to dismiss other possible causes, including a terrorist attack, of Friday night's crash. Friday's crash killed all 18 passengers and five crew members, said Rustam Usubov, Azerbaijan's first deputy prosecutor general. Emergency workers combed the wreckage Saturday for clues, and Usubov said they were still looking for the flight data and voice recorders.
CAIRO, Egypt -- Ayman Nour, runner-up in Egypt's last presidential election, was convicted Saturday of forging petition signatures and was sentenced to five years in prison. Nour, who finished a distant second to Mubarak in Egypt's first contested presidential election Sept. 7, had pleaded innocent to ordering forgeries of signatures on the petition used to register his Al-Ghad political party. The monthslong legal process generated widespread international criticism and strained Egypt's relations with Washington -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a visit to Egypt, apparently in disapproval of the government's treatment of Nour.
-- From wire reports