World Briefs

A train on a narrow-gauge railway line makes its way through the winter landscape Saturday near Wernigerode, northern Germany. Parts of Europe were hit hard by heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Enlarge photo

Jens Schlueter/Associated Press

A train on a narrow-gauge railway line makes its way through the winter landscape Saturday near Wernigerode, northern Germany. Parts of Europe were hit hard by heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

Italy’s Monti says he plans to quit over crisis

ROME – Italian Premier Mario Monti has told the country’s president that he intends to resign since Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support for the year-old government of technocrats and intends to quit as soon as Parliament passes critical budget legislation.

President Giorgio Napolitano’s office announced Monti’s plan after the chief of state met with Monti for nearly two hours Saturday night at the presidential palace in Rome. Berlusconi announced hours earlier he is running to regain the premiership in elections in early 2013.

Mandela in hospital for tests, Zuma says

JOHANNESBURG – South African President Jacob Zuma says former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests.

Zuma issued a statement Saturday saying Mandela is “doing well, and there is no cause for alarm.”

Mandela, 94, is in frail health and has not made public appearances for a few years.

Thousands in Gaza rally with exiled Hamas chief

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas vowed Saturday to continue fighting Israel, as hundreds of thousands of flag-waving Gazans turned out to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Khaled Mashaal’s visit to the Palestinian territory – a first in his lifetime of exile – underscores Hamas’ rising clout and regional acceptance since its eight-day conflict with Israel last month.

Candle lighting marks start of Hanukkah

JERUSALEM – Jews around the world ushered in the eight-day Hanukkah festival Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.

Deadly storm again threatens Philippines

NEW BATAAN, Philippines – A typhoon that left the Philippines after killing about 600 people and leaving hundreds missing in the south has made a U-turn and now is threatening the country’s northwest, officials said Saturday.

The weather bureau raised storm warnings over parts of the main northern island of Luzon after Typhoon Bopha veered northeast. There was a strong possibility the disastrous storm would make a second landfall today, but it might also make a loop and remain in the South China Sea, forecasters said. In either case, it was moving close to shore and disaster officials warned of heavy rains and winds and possible landslides in the mountainous region.

Associated Press