NEW YORK

Clinton gets ready to run for White House in 2008

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton met yesterday with New York’s Democratic governor-elect, Eliot Spitzer, to solicit his support for her likely White House bid, the latest indication she is stepping up plans to join a growing field of potential contenders for 2008.

One rival, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, announced yesterday he was establishing an exploratory committee to raise money for a possible presidential run. He expects to decide over the Christmas holidays whether to seek the Democratic party’s nomination.

A top aide to Clinton said he did not know when the former first lady would decide about pursuing the presidency or set up an exploratory committee. Clinton aides, however, have begun interviewing possible campaign staffers in recent weeks, Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson said.

HAVANA

Castro skips military parade

Fidel Castro was a no-show Saturday at a major military parade that doubled as his 80th birthday celebration, raising questions about whether the ailing leader will ever return to power as his public absence begins taking on a tone of permanence.

Many Cubans had hoped for at least a glimpse of Castro before dozens of olive-camouflaged tanks rumbled through the Plaza of the Revolution and jet fighters soared above the capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Castro hasn’t been seen in public since July 26, before he underwent secretive intestinal surgery and temporarily ceded power to his younger brother, Raul. He delayed his 80th birthday celebration from Aug. 13 to this week in order to give himself time to recover, and speculation had been rife whether he would appear.

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Hezbollah loyalists call for ouster of Lebanese leaders

Thousands of Hezbollah supporters set up camp in the heart of Beirut on Saturday, starting an open-ended sit-in with a carnival atmosphere intended to pressure the U.S.-backed government of Fuad Saniora into resigning.

The political crisis, which has disrupted life in the capital’s commercial district and raised fears of violence between the country’s pro- and anti-Syria forces, showed no sign of easing.

Holed up in his office only about 50 yards from some of the protesters, Saniora made clear he had no intention of stepping down and urged Hezbollah to abandon its protests.

PADANG, Philippines

More than 300 dead in swamped Philippine villages

Rescuers scouring mountain villages buried under mud and boulders loosened by a powerful typhoon discovered more bodies Saturday, raising the death total to more than 300, with another 300 missing.

Officials fear the number of those killed by Typhoon Durian will rise as rescue operations continue in devastated villages on the slopes of the Mayon volcano, 210 miles southeast of Manila in the northern Philippines.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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