USA

At its biennial convention in San Diego, the Union for Reform Judaism, North America's largest Jewish group, announced that it's entering into joint dialogues with the Islamic Society of North America in a first-of-its-kind arrangement. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the union's president, explained that when Jews and Muslims are killing one another "in the name of God, sensible religious people have an obligation to do something about it."

The union representing striking Hollywood writers said Saturday it's willing to negotiate individually with studios and production companies in to break an impasse. Already, Worldwide Pants, the company that produces the "Late Show with David Letterman," has indicated its interest in brokering a deal to put new shows on the air. The strike began Nov. 5.

Road crews dealt with a foot or more of snow Sunday in parts of the Northeast, between the Great Lakes and Maine, even as Boston officials continued to review the aftermath of a snowstorm late last week that turned half-hour commutes into 5-to-7-hour marathons.

Two influential newspapers, whose coverage of lead-off presidential primaries is closely watched in Iowa and New Hampshire, endorsed Sen. John McCain of Arizona as the Republican nominee Saturday. Although McCain (above with son Jack) has trailed in various polls, The Des Moines Register and The Boston Globe both consider him a straight talker with a solid knowledge of national security and foreign policy. Among Democratic candidates, the Register favors Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Globe Sen. Barack Obama.

Tens of thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners in Louisiana and Mississippi who've elevated their homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita are eligible for some reimbursement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said of a change in policy. Normally, FEMA requires written approval before work begins, but it will assist homeowners who rebuilt faster than the bureaucracy worked.

The number of Muslim girls playing sports in the US while wearing the faith's traditional head scarves is growing, according to an Associated Press report. Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council says girls "take it for granted they can play in competitive sports ... and work out the clothing issues at the same time." Above, hijab-wearing Muslim basketball players take the court at Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich.

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