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Saturday Briefing

December 16, 2006

EDITORS' CHOICE: It's giving season on Wall Street. When Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack checks his stocking, he'll find a $40 million Christmas bonus in stocks and options. And no lumps of coal at Goldman Sachs -- employees there will earn an average of $622,000. BUSINESS, C1.

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The World

Iraq schools now caught in the fight

Once touted as examples of Iraq rebuilding and returning to normal, Baghdad schools are increasingly caught in the crossfire of the country's developing civil war. Page A1

Hamas accusations

Amid new West Bank clashes, Hamas officials accuse the rival Fatah party of trying to kill Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Page A3

Call for atonement

The pope's official pastor calls incidents of sexual abuse by priests "abominations" and says a deep atonement such as fasting and penance is necessary. Page A3

The Nation

Rumsfeld issues a farewell warning

The departing Defense secretary warns against weakening American will over the Iraq conflict. He says troop withdrawal would be short-term relief from casualties but long-term trouble. Page A19

Iowa still No. 1

Democrats have moved to diminish Iowa's oversized import in picking presidential candidates, with minimal effect. Iowa is back and so are the candidates. Page A1

Seattle battered

Some of the strongest winds ever recorded in the Seattle area close roads and bridges and knock out power to a million homes and businesses. Page A13

California

Lethal injections curtailed by court

A federal judge rules that California's lethal injection death penalty procedure violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Page A1

Infants infected

White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles has closed its neonatal and pediatric intensive care units after one baby died, possibly infected with a virulent bacterium. Page A1

Sparked by hit list

The arrests of 57 people allegedly tied to a white supremacist gang were sparked by a hit list with the names of an O.C. prosecutor and five police officers, an investigator says. Page B1

Business

U.S. wants China to budge on trade

A high-powered U.S. trade delegation includes seven Cabinet officers. But it's apparently not impressive enough to exact significant concessions from the Chinese government. Page C1

Longer shopping

Christmas shoppers and the retail folks eager to ring them up will have an extra weekend to shop and sell -- and procrastinate -- this year. Page C1

Synthetic fuel test

Faced with soaring fuel costs, Air Force officials at Edwards Air Force Base (below) successfully test-fly a B-52 bomber for hours with all eight engines using a synthetic fuel. Page C1

Sports

A big night

for Bryant

Kobe Bryant scores 53 points and the Lakers rally from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets in double overtime, 112-101. Page D1

Clippers tumble

Despite shooting almost 60% from the field, the Clippers lose at Portland, 109-99, and fall into last place in the Pacific Division with a 10-12 record. Page D1

Nader plays guard

Now here are two unlikely mates in the same paragraph: David Stern and Ralph Nader. They're both talking about the NBA's new, and now defunct, synthetic basketball. Nader tells Stern, the NBA commissioner, that there are occupational hazard issues for the multimillionaire players. Stern says he missed the letter and calls the case closed. Page D1

Calendar

Thin can be good, also dangerous

The public concern over thin women -- and, in particular, thin models -- isn't new. Think Twiggy. But the cause is taking on new urgency on several continents. Page E1

Ciara chills

A quasi-spiritual uplift and can-do attitude helped rocket the Atlanta-based R&B sensation Ciara to the top of the hip-hop/R&B charts inside of three years. "A lot of times," says the 21-year-old singer, "we chase dreams and end up making the process much longer because we're fighting what's really in us." Page E1

Clowns are great

Little kids are the best judges of clowns, who bring out the child in all of us. Judging by the squeals emanating from UCLA's Royce Hall, "Slava's Snowshow" is great. Page E1

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