Top Stories: Worldwide

The following are the day's top general news stories:

1. Bernard Madoff's Son Takes Own Life on Anniversary of His Father's Arrest 2. Holbrooke's Artery Tear Likely Was Life-Threatening, Painful, Doctors Say 3. Airlines Cancel 1,400 Flights From Chicago as Snowfall Covers U.S. Midwest 4. Oprah Pats Koala, Arrives in Sydney in $3 Million Push for U.S. Tourists 5. Tottenham, Chelsea Tie 1-1 in Premier League; Bolton Wanderers, Wolves Win

1. Bernard Madoff's Son Takes Own Life on Anniversary of His Father's Arrest

Mark Madoff, the elder son of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff, committed suicide yesterday, two years to the day after his father´s arrest. Madoff, 46, was found at 7:30 a.m. hanging from a dog leash attached to a pipe in the living room of his Manhattan apartment, while his 2-year-old son slept in an adjoining bedroom, said Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department. Mark Madoff and his brother, Andrew, were under investigation but hadn´t faced any criminal charges in the Ponzi scheme that led to their father´s jailing. The sons, along with Bernard Madoff´s brother and five directors of the U.K. arm of Bernard Madoff´s investment firm, were sued Dec. 8 by Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee recovering assets for Madoff´s victims. "This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy," Martin Flumenbaum of law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison said in a statement yesterday. "Mark was an innocent victim of his father´s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo."

2. Holbrooke's Artery Tear Likely Was Life-Threatening, Painful, Doctors Say

A tear in the aorta, the largest artery leading from the heart, likely was painful and life- threatening for Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan who underwent two days of surgery to have the blood vessel repaired, doctors said. Holbrooke, 69, spent about 20 hours in surgery yesterday at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, and seven today, family friends said. The length of the surgery suggests the damage was extensive, said James Willerson, chief medical officer of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. About 2,000 cases of torn aortas occur yearly in the U.S., and 90 percent of untreated patients die within two days, said Duke Cameron, chief of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The follow up was needed after the first operation was slowed by the failure of his blood to clot, according to friends, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The object of surgery is to repair the site of the tear with a background graft" that eases pressure which can cause further ruptures in other parts of the heart, Willerson said in a phone interview yesterday. "They may have needed to reattach some critical blood vessels that were blocked by the tear."

3. Airlines Cancel 1,400 Flights From Chicago as Snowfall Covers U.S. Midwest

Airlines including American, Delta, Southwest and United canceled more than 1,400 flights from Chicago as a snowstorm slammed the U.S. Midwest. The storm, which dumped as much as 21.5 inches (55 centimeters) of snow in Minnesota, caused the collapse of the roof of Minneapolis´s Metrodome today and the relocating of the National Football League game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants to Ford Field in Detroit tomorrow. Wind and rain caused flight cancelations from Boston to Washington. About 1,200 flights out of Chicago O´Hare International Airport and 250 out of Chicago´s Midway International Airport were canceled as of 2 p.m. local time, with more expected to be canceled throughout the day, the Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement. "This winter storm is obviously causing havoc with air travel through the upper Midwest," Mary Frances Fagan, a spokeswoman for AMR Corp., operator of American, said in a telephone interview from Chicago on the cancellations that began yesterday. "As a result, hundreds of flights have to be canceled for safety reasons."

4. Oprah Pats Koala, Arrives in Sydney in $3 Million Push for U.S. Tourists

Billionaire talk-show host Oprah Winfrey brings her daytime program to the Sydney Opera House this week as part of a promotion Tourism Australia hopes will reverse a decline in U.S. visitors. Winfrey´s taping of two shows on Dec. 14 is part of an eight-day trip to Australia that will feature in the 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Australia is spending A$3 million ($3 million) on the project to boost tourism. With the Australian dollar up almost 10 percent this year, the number of U.S. visitors fell 16 percent in October from a year earlier. "$3 million, is that all?" Ross Sotiropoulos, a 62-year- old Sydney resident, said yesterday as he stood outside the iconic Opera House on the edge of Sydney Harbor. "Americans hardly know Australia. They think kangaroos are jumping all over the main streets, so I think this will be a big boost." Australia´s staging of the Oprah Winfrey Show is the latest effort to stop a slide in the country´s A$12.1 billion tourism industry, the fifth-largest export earner. The government has run four campaign slogans in five years while the currency has risen to its highest since the end of exchange controls in 1983.

5. Tottenham, Chelsea Tie 1-1 in Premier League; Bolton Wanderers, Wolves Win

Chelsea tied 1-1 at Tottenham in English soccer´s Premier League as Didier Drogba saw his injury- time penalty kick saved by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. Roman Pavlyuchenko opened the scoring for Spurs in the 15th minute. Drogba tied it in the 70th minute for the defending champion, then had a chance to return his team to the top of the standings from the penalty spot. Gomes, whose foul conceded the kick, redeemed himself by saving. Chelsea has now gone five games without a league win. "We deserved to win," Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "We didn´t, but we are now on the right way." Ten-man Bolton Wanderers beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 while Wolves had a 1-0 victory over Birmingham.

-0- Dec/13/2010 00:35 GMT

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