Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Paid in Full

Britain today was expected to make its final payment — on World War II loans from the U.S. and Canada. This country extended $4 billion in credit in 1945. And Canada granted a loan — of more than $1 billion. The money helped Britain stave off bankruptcy after fighting the Nazis. The British have been paying back the loan ever since. Today's final payment to the U.S. treasury is $84 million.

Recruiting Muslims

Speaking of wars — the U.S. is trying to enlist more Muslim Americans — in the War on Terror. The Christian Science Monitor reports — Muslim prayer rooms have been opened at West Point — and other service academies. Muslim clerics serve as chaplains at several military bases. And some Muslim Marines have been stationed in major American cities to advise military recruiters.
The Pentagon estimates — there are 3,400 Muslims — now serving in the armed forces.

Missing Files

The FBI is said to be missing almost a quarter of its files on investigations into recent leaks of classified information. The New York Sun reports — the Bureau says it has conducted 94 leak investigations since 2001 — and that the files for 22 of those cases — cannot be found.
The FBI has been trying—unsuccessfully — to computerize its records for a decade.

Baby "Siege"

And hospitals in Germany are bracing — for what's being called a "siege" on New Year's Day — of women having babies. That's because pregnant women are trying to delay giving birth until Monday — when a new government family incentive program kicks in.

The German effort to encourage bigger families — can be worth more than $33,000 per child. Doctors are recommending avoiding red wine, stress, and physical activity to delay labor this week.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume