Violence near capital interrupts air traffic
Fighting between rebels and government forces raged near the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, forcing an inbound commercial jet to turn back while the U.N. said it was withdrawing staff because of deteriorating security conditions.
Meanwhile, Lebanese security officials said Jihad Makdissi, a polished Foreign Ministry spokesman known for defending the regime of President Bashar Assad in fluent English, flew from Beirut to London. But it was not immediately clear whether he had defected.
William and Kate are expecting first child
Britain doesn’t have to wait any longer: Prince William’s wife, Kate, is pregnant.
St. James’s Palace made the announcement yesterday, saying that the Duchess of Cambridge – formerly Kate Middleton – has a severe form of morning sickness and is currently in a London hospital. William was at his wife’s side.
The news drew congratulations from around the world, with the hashtag “royalbaby” trending globally on Twitter.
The couple’s first child will be third in line to the throne – behind William and his father, Prince Charles – leapfrogging the gregarious Prince Harry and possibly setting up the first scenario in which a female heir could benefit from new succession gender rules.
CDC: U.S. flu season early, could be bad
Flu season in the U.S. is off to its earliest start in nearly a decade – and it could be a bad one.
Health officials yesterday said suspected flu cases have jumped in five Southern states, and the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types. It is particularly hard on the elderly.
More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine formulated for this year is well-matched to the strains of the virus seen so far, CDC officials said.
Pope joins tweeting masses with @Pontifex
Benedict XVI, the pope known for his hefty volumes of theology and lengthy encyclicals, is now trying brevity – spreading the faith through his own Twitter account.
The pontiff will tweet in eight languages starting Dec. 12 using his personal handle (at)Pontifex, responding live to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, the Vatican said yesterday.
Within 10 hours of the Vatican’s announcement, Benedict had already garnered nearly a quarter-million followers.
The Associated Press