Iraqi shoe-tosser has new book out

BEIRUT, Lebanon - The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush says he is suing Iraq's prime minister in a Swiss court for his detention and alleged torture during the nine months he spent in custody.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi spoke Tuesday during the signing in Beirut of his new book, The Last Salute to President Bush. The book also tells the story of Iraqi suffering, starting with the 1991 Gulf War.

The book is a journal chronicling the moments leading up to the famous Baghdad news conference Dec. 14, 2008, when Zeidi shot to fame after hurling his shoe at Bush and calling him a dog.

The signing was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the shoe-throwing incident, which became one of the iconic images of the Iraq war. - AP

Spain to extend air emergency

MADRID, Spain - The Spanish government has asked parliament to extend an airport emergency measure that will keep the country's air traffic control under military control over the busy Christmas holiday period.

Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Tuesday the government wanted Parliament to approve an extension of a previous decree until Jan. 15.

The measure first came into force Dec. 4, after air traffic controllers staged a 24-hour wildcat strike that forced the closure of Spain's airports and left 600,000 travelers stranded.

The measure put the military in charge of air traffic control and ordered controllers back to work or face possible jail.

- AP

Chavez seeks special powers

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday asked legislators to grant him special powers to enact laws by decree for one year, just before a new legislature takes office with a larger contingent of opposition lawmakers.

The measure would give the president the ability to bypass the National Assembly for the fourth time since he was first elected almost 12 years ago.

Vice President Elias Jaua made the request on Chavez's behalf, saying the president would use the authorization to ensure fast-track approval of laws aimed at helping the nation recover from severe flooding and mudslides that left thousands homeless and in government shelters. It is expected to win easy approval.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Roadside bombs struck crowds of Iraqi pilgrims Tuesday as they prepared to mark the year's most solemn Shiite religious ceremony, killing three people and wounding at least 31, police said. The two explosions went off in the late afternoon in Sunni Muslim areas in the capital.

A senior U.S. diplomat said that the release of secret diplomatic memos by WikiLeaks had not hurt critical ties with Yemen's government and that security aid to the antiterror ally was being coordinated with the country's leaders. The United States is set to double its military aid to Yemen to $250 million next year to help fight an al-Qaeda offshoot.