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Online Poker News Archives - December 25, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

December 25, 2005

A look at Christmas events worldwide

Christmas-related events around the world:

-Bethlehem, West Bank: Thousands of tourists and pilgrims gathered in Bethlehem, Jesus' historic birthplace, in festivities that capped the most peaceful year since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in September 2000.

-Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI offered a Christmas prayer for peace in the Holy Land and made a special mention of children, including the unborn, as he led his first midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. "On this night, when we look toward Bethlehem, let us pray in a special way for the birthplace of our Redeemer and for the men and women who live and suffer there," he said.

-Baghdad, Iraq: For members of the 126th Armor Battalion, there was holly on the mess hall tables and a miniature Christmas tree in the barracks. The military was planning a Christmas Day dinner of turkey and ham. "These guys are calling me a Grinch because I'm not in the Christmas spirit. My mind-set is, 'We're here to do a job,'" said Lt. Micah Bell, 29, from Valparaiso, Ind.

-Britain: Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury used his annual Christmas sermon to praise two families who showed forgiveness to violent criminals who attacked their loved ones, saying they demonstrate "that miraculous love is possible."

-United States: President Bush called nine U.S. service members deployed from Japan to the Persian Gulf to recognize their service to the nation and wish them holiday cheer.

-Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez praised Jesus Christ as a revolutionary hero during a Christmas Eve visit to a homeless shelter. "For me, Christmas is Christ. The rebel Christ, the revolutionary Christ, the socialist Christ," he said during a televised speech from the shelter.

-Indonesia: Bomb squads checked churches and hotel security guards in Santa Claus costumes searched cars after police warned that al-Qaida-linked militants might be plotting Christmas terror attacks in this predominantly Muslim nation. Christmas Eve services and other festivities proceeded without incident.

-Bangladesh: Bangladesh, also a predominantly Muslim nation, tightened security at churches across the country, following a recent spate of deadly bombings.

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