Poll shows Bush's rating has risen

LOS ANGELES - George W. Bush is proving that absence, indeed, makes the heart grow fonder. According to a Gallup poll released Monday, the ex-president has an approval rating of 47 percent, about double his rating during his final year in office.

In his first outing in the poll's ranking of former commanders in chief, Bush is still near the bottom, handily defeating perennial basement dweller Richard Nixon. But compared with approval polls while he was in office, he's rising with a bullet, statistically tied with Lyndon Johnson and closing in on Jimmy Carter.

Bush, whose memoirs were published recently, still is in negative territory. About 51 percent said they disapproved of him as president, again joining Nixon as the only two former leaders to be more disliked than liked.

The poll of 1,037 adults was conducted by telephone Nov. 19-21. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. - Los Angeles Times

Germany boosting aid to Nazi victims

NEW YORK - The German government has agreed to double, to 110 million euros ($146 million) worldwide for 2011, the money it provides for the at-home care of aging Holocaust victims, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced Monday.

Germany initially shared the decision privately with the New York-based conference a week after the Nov. 9 announcement that 17 people had been indicted in a massive Holocaust fraud targeting German funds. The conference saw some of its own employees charged in the purported $42 million scheme.

The conference, which provides services and reparations to Holocaust victims around the world, has long relied in part on the sale of properties that had been seized from Jews in the years surrounding World War II. But those funds have dwindled in recent years.

The money for 2011 is expected to raise the number of financially needy survivors receiving subsidized care from 58,000 to roughly 70,000. - AP

Homeless man held in Fla. killing

CELEBRATION, Fla. - A homeless man was charged Monday with beating and strangling a man in what was the first homicide in Celebration, Disney's master-planned central Florida community.

Detectives arrested David-Israel Murillo, 28, and charged him with first-degree murder in the Thanksgiving weekend slaying of Matteo Giovanditto, 58, Osceola County Sheriff's spokeswoman Twis H. Lizasuain said.

She said the two men had known each other for about a year. Murillo's photo was found on Giovanditto's computer and his fingerprints were found in the man's condo, Lizasuain said. Murillo was being held without bond pending a Tuesday hearing. - AP