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OND is a community feature  on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

OND Editors  consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir and ScottyUrb, guest editor  and annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains

BBC:Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition


Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti is to lead a coalition of centre parties going into a parliamentary election in February.

Speaking to reporters after four hours of talks with centrist politicians, he said he was willing to be "named leader of the coalition".

He resigned after 13 months as prime minister when predecessor Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support.

The Vatican newspaper backs Mr Monti's bid to return as prime minister.

The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says that Mr Monti clearly threw his hat into the political ring at a news conference on Friday evening.


BBC:Greek ex-minister expelled for 'protecting relatives'

Greek ex-minister expelled for 'protecting relatives'

The Greek socialist party, Pasok, has expelled the former Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou, over allegations he deleted the names of relatives from a list of Greeks who held Swiss bank accounts.

The list is being used to investigate possible tax evasion by Greece's elite.

It was taken from HSBC bank and handed to the then French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde.

Pasok said Mr Papaconstantinou "handled the list in the worst possible way".


BBC:Magnitsky case: Putin signs Russian ban on US adoptions

Magnitsky case: Putin signs Russian ban on US adoptions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a ban on Americans adopting Russian orphans.

The law is a reaction to the US Magnitsky Act, which blacklists Russian officials accused of rights abuses.

The death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 became a symbol of the fight against corruption in Russia, and soured relations between Russia and the US.

The US state department says it "deeply regrets" the passing of the law.


BBC:Central African Republic to hold talks with rebels

Central African Republic to hold talks with rebels

The government of the Central African Republic and rebels have agreed to hold talks after weeks of clashes.

A regional delegation said no pre-conditions had been set for the talks which will be held in Libreville, capital of neighbouring Gabon.

The announcement comes after government troops and rebel fighters clashed in the central town of Bambari on Friday.

Rapid gains by the Seleka rebels have raised fears that CAR's capital Bangui could fall within a few days.


BBC:China approves tighter rules on internet access

China approves tighter rules on internet access

China has tightened its rules on internet usage to enforce a previous requirement that users fully identify themselves to service providers.

The move is part of a package of measures which state-run Xinhua news agency said would protect personal information.

But critics believe the government is trying to limit freedom of speech.

The announcement will be seen as evidence China's new leadership views the internet as a threat.


BBC:Afghanistan Kunduz victim families file Germany claim

Afghanistan Kunduz victim families file Germany claim

Families of dozens of Afghan civilians killed in a 2009 air strike have sued the German government for 3.3m euros (£2.7m; $4.3m) in damages.

A Germany army commander ordered the attack on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban because he said they posed a threat to his troops.

The army said 91 people died in the attack in Kunduz province but lawyers for the families say 137 were killed.

Many of the victims were women and children trying to siphon fuel.


Reuters:Deal reached to avert U.S. port strike for now

Deal reached to avert U.S. port strike for now

(Reuters) - The union representing nearly 15,000 dockworkers at U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast seaports stretching from Boston to Corpus Christi, Texas, reached a tentative contract deal with shipping companies on Friday, averting a strike that threatened to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.

The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance clinched a deal in federally-mediated talks less than two days before a strike deadline set by the union to coincide with expiration of the contract on Sunday.

The threatened walkout would have brought container cargo operations to a halt at 15 ports along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast, marking the first such work stoppage in 35 years. Friday's announcement came hours after the White House urged the parties to settle their dispute.

Under Friday's deal, the two sides agreed to extend the terms of their expiring labor pact for 30 more days while negotiators finalize details of their settlement, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said in a statement.


Reuters:Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation

Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation

(Reuters) - Syria's opposition leader has rejected an invitation from Russia for peace talks, dealing another blow to international hopes that diplomacy can be resurrected to end a 21-month civil war.

Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's main international protector, said on Friday it had sent an invitation for a visit to Moaz Alkhatib, whose six-week-old National Coalition opposition group has been recognized by most Western and Arab states as the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.

But in an interview on Al Jazeera television, Alkhatib said he had already ruled out such a trip and wanted an apology from Moscow for its support for Assad.

"We have clearly said we will not go to Moscow. We could meet in an Arab country if there was a clear agenda," he said.


Reuters:Senate approves $60.4 billion Superstorm Sandy aid bill

Senate approves $60.4 billion Superstorm Sandy aid bill

(Reuters) - The Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion aid package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm Sandy, after defeating Republican efforts to trim the bill's cost.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to quickly take up the bill.

Both chambers have to agreed on a package by Jan 2, when the current term of Congress is expected to end, or restart the process of crafting legislation in 2013.

"We beat back all of the crippling amendments," said Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, which suffered the largest monetary damage in the storm.


Reuters:Insight: Under siege, Japan central bank wakes up to political reality

Insight: Under siege, Japan central bank wakes up to political reality

(Reuters) - Within a day of Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party sweeping to power in elections this month, elite bureaucrats in Japan's central bank rushed to ready what amounted to a surrender offer.

Abe had run his campaign with a relentless focus on economic policy and had called on the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to take drastic steps to end the nation's long bout of deflation, or else face a radical makeover at the hands of parliament.

The vote had become an unexpected referendum on the BOJ itself, and the bank had lost.

Senior officials concluded that to preserve the BOJ's scope to act in a future crisis, it needed to move quickly to show it recognized reality, according to people familiar with the hurried deliberations. Abe had won a mandate for more forceful monetary easing, and Japanese taxpayers were frustrated with an economy slipping back into its third recession in five years.


Reuters:U.S. judge approves Toyota's $1.1 billion acceleration deal

U.S. judge approves Toyota's $1.1 billion acceleration deal

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge granted preliminary approval on Friday to Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) $1.1 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by consumers who lost value on their cars due to sudden, unintended acceleration.

U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, California, scheduled a hearing in June for final approval of the deal, which was announced this week. It provides $500 million in cash for plaintiffs, plus installation of break override systems and a customer support program valued at about $600 million combined.

"Settlement will likely serve the interests of the class members better than litigation," Selna wrote.

Plaintiff lawyer Steve Berman said he was pleased with the favorable comments in Selna's order. Toyota spokeswoman Julie Hamp said the company was gratified by Selna's approval of the settlement, "which will provide value to our customers and provides an extra measure of confidence in their vehicles."


Reuters:China tightens loophole on hiring temporary workers

China tightens loophole on hiring temporary workers

(Reuters) - China amended its labor law on Friday to ensure that workers hired through contracting agents are offered the same conditions as full employees, a move meant to tighten a loophole used by many employers to maintain flexible staffing.

Contracting agencies have taken off since China implemented the Labor Contract Law in 2008, which stipulates employers must pay workers' health insurance and social security benefits and makes firing very difficult.

"Hiring via labor contracting agents should be arranged only for temporary, supplementary and backup jobs," the amendment reads, according to the Xinhua news agency. It takes effect on July 1, 2013.

Contracted laborers now make up about a third of the workforce at many Chinese and multinational factories, and in some cases account for well over half.


US News:Health Buzz: NYU Langone Medical Center Reopens for Surgery

Health Buzz: NYU Langone Medical Center Reopens for Surgery

Sandy-Damaged New York Hospital Reopens for Surgery

NYU Langone Medical Center in New York reopened its inpatient services and surgical units yesterday, as it continues recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. In late October, the hurricane knocked out the medical center's power, and when the backup generators failed, its staff evacuated 322 patients, according to the Associated Press. More than 15 million gallons of water were pumped from the medical buildings on First Avenue, between 30th and 34th streets, reports AP, and total damage topped $1 billion. Outpatient facilities and many physicians' offices reopened in November, while the emergency room remains closed and has been replaced with an urgent care center. Specialty units, like those for maternity and pediatric care, are expected to reopen in mid-January. In the last two months, many surgical operations had to be farmed out to other hospitals or postponed, so opening the doors to surgical patients is a major step. "I think it's a little bit of a miracle on 34th Street that this happened so quickly," Senator Charles Schumer of New York told The New York Times.

 
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