Wednesday, February 18, 2009


* Peres to consult parties on prime minister pick President Shimon Peres will begin consulting with all the parties on Wednesday on who should be the next prime minister.

* 'Syria building chemical weapons plant' Syria has been conducting extensive construction work on a chemical weapons facility in the country's northwest.

* IAEA: Iran, Syria must cooperate more International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Tuesday that Iran was still not cooperating enough.

* Obama to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he would send an additional 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer.

* Islam expert: Conflict seen as mainly religious Muslims view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's showdown with the West as essentially a religious conflict.

* Clerics urge new jihad over Gaza At a weekend meeting in Istanbul, 200 religious scholars and clerics met senior Hamas officials to plot a new jihad centred on Gaza.

* Analysis: Amman caught between Hamas and Fatah An expected move by Jordanian parliamentarians to file a petition with the International Criminal Court at The Hague accusing senior Israeli figures of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead does not reflect the kingdom's official position.

* Czech lower house passes EU treaty The Czech Republic took the first step toward ratification of the EU's new set of institutional rules on Wednesday (18 February).

* Syria urges better ties with US President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has urged the US in a newspaper interview to engage in talks with Damascus and restore full diplomatic ties.

* Clinton seeks to improve US image with Muslims Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is continuing the Obama administration's efforts to rehabilitate America's image abroad.

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