NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are coming off of two big gains on this final trading day of the week. The Dow industrials had their biggest surge in three years yesterday. It was the second-straight triple-digit gain for the Dow, after the Federal Reserve's reassurance that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. So far today, European markets have been largely subdued, after Asian markets advanced. But one stock that suffered in Asia was Sony. Shares dropped as the hacking scandal rocked its American movies unit.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials say its military has launched an assault on militants following this week's Taliban attack on a school that killed 148 people, mostly children. The military says its warplanes and ground forces have killed at least 77 militants since last night. Also, the Pakistani army chief has signed the death warrants of six people the army calls "hard core terrorists." They were convicted and sentenced to death by military courts.
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says it is relaxing travel restrictions for Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Christmas holiday season. The military says it has granted permits to 700 Christians from Gaza to travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. It is also allowing Christians from the West Bank to travel to Israel, and permitting 500 West Bank Christians to visit their families in the Gaza Strip, subject to security checks.
BERNE, N.Y. (AP) — New York police investigating the death of a 5-year-old boy say a caretaker's initial report that he was abducted from an Albany-area home is false. The 19-year-old daughter of the boy's legal guardian told police two men wearing black ski masks entered a house yesterday, pinned her to the floor and took the child. But the Albany County sheriff tells a radio station (WGY) that the story is false and detectives are interviewing "a person of interest." The boy's body was found overnight.
NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Stephen Collins says he's not a pedophile and says he's inappropriately touched a minor only once. In an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric posted online today, the "7th Heaven" star says he suffers from "exhibitionistic urges" and "big boundary issues."