Tuesday, March 31, 2009

03/31/09

* Netanyahu sworn in as Israeli PM Israel's parliament has sworn in Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and approved the new right-leaning coalition cabinet by 69 votes to 45.

* Nicolas Sarkozy's threat to walk out of global summit President Sarkozy yesterday threatened to wreck the London summit if France’s demands for tougher financial regulation are not met.

* Russia, China cooperate on new currency proposals: Russia and China are coordinating proposals on a new global currency that could replace the US dollar as a reserve currency to prevent a repeat of the global economic crisis.

* Financial crisis dominates G-20 agenda This week's London Summit brings together the leaders of the world's 20 largest economic powers, known as the Group of 20.

* Gadhafi storms out of Arab summit in Qatar Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi stormed out of an Arab summit on Monday after denouncing the Saudi king for his long ties to the West.

* Obama team drops "war on terror" rhetoric U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the Obama administration had dropped "war on terror" from its lexicon.

* Clinton doesn't rule out Iran talks at Afghanistan conference Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was coy Monday about whether she would meet Iranian delegates at an international conference on Afghanistan.

* Sudan leader thanks Arab summit for support Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir asked Arab leaders meeting in Qatar on Monday to strongly reject an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

* Abbas to Arab summit: Israel chose settlement instead of peace "Our experience in the aftermath of the Annapolis conference has proven that Israel is still a ways off from abandoning its settlement policy and choosing the path of peace."

* NATO reaches out to online audience Four days ahead of its 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has launched a web campaign aimed at raising awareness among young people.

Monday, March 30, 2009

03/30/09

* Arab States to Issue Israel an Ultimatum The Arab League is formulating an ultimatum to be issued Monday warning Israel that it must accept the League's terms for an Arab-Israel agreement.

* Great expectations ahead of G20 summit World leaders from the Group of 20 industrial nations will gather in London to discuss ways to deal with the financial crisis.

* No halt to Gaza arms smuggling The flow of explosives and weapons smuggled into Gaza has continued since Israel's military operation, a senior Israeli intelligence official has said.

* Obama Pressed to End Cast Lead, Wants Syrian Pact President Obama, before he took office, pressured outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to put a quick end to the Cast Lead counterterrorist operation against Hamas.

* Medvedev hopeful ahead of meeting with Obama Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama meet in London on Wednesday to try to "reset" thorny Russia-U.S. ties.

* Gaddafi storms out of Arab League Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has stormed out of the Arab League summit in Qatar having denounced the Saudi king for his ties with the West.

* France, Germany remain cool on EU enlargement EU foreign ministers meeting on Saturday sought to reassure western Balkan countries on their EU future.

* Hezbollah's Mexican-US Drug Connection The Hezbollah terrorist organization is making money by using long-standing drug smuggling routes from Mexico to the United States.

* EU Pressure on Netanyahu to Accept Arab State Inside Israel The EU has resorted to making vague threats against Israel’s Prime Minister-designate, Binyamin Netanyahu, to pressure him to support the "the two-state solution".

* Hard-line Saudi Arabian interior minister moves closer to throne The Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince who last week made headlines for saying that there was no need for female members of parliament in Saudi Arabia, has been promoted to second deputy prime minister.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

03/28/09

* Israel's commitment to peace in doubt, Erekat says In op-ed published by Washington Post, chief Palestinian negotiator says 'peace is not a word that sits comfortably with the Israeli right, which will dominate Israel's new government.'

* EU warns Israel on two-state issue The European Union once again sent strong warning messages to Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

* Plan would narrow goals in Afghan war President Barack Obama's plan to widen U.S. involvement in Afghanistan came after an internal debate in which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned against getting into a political and military quagmire.

* Egypt to skip key Arab summit on unity Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will not be attending a key Arab League summit.

* Egypt, Saudis bend over backwards to extricate Syria from Iranian grip When the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt last had Syria's president alone in a room, earlier this month, it was classic good cop-bad cop.

* European NATO members at odds over strategic priorities NATO is increasingly lacking solidarity and unity of vision over future strategic options.

* Earth Hour May Prompt 1 Billion to Turn Off Lights Earth Hour, an event created in Sydney two years ago by environmentalists keen to cut energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, started today.

* Facebook users wage condom campaign against Pope Critics took to the social networking site Facebook to voice their fury over Pope Benedict's remark that condoms do not prevent HIV.

* G20 demonstrators march in London Tens of thousands of people have marched through London demanding action on poverty, climate change and jobs, ahead of next week's G20 summit.

* Obama sets Qaeda defeat as top goal in Afghanistan President Barack Obama unveiled a new war strategy for Afghanistan on Friday with a key goal -- to crush al Qaeda militants there and in Pakistan.

Friday, March 27, 2009

03/27/09

* Sudan: No proof IAF attacked convoy The Sudani Foreign Ministry said Friday there was no proof that Israel attacked a Hamas-bound arms convoy in the country two months ago.

* Russian 'Arctic military' plan Russia has announced plans to set up a military force to protect its interests in the Arctic.

* Japan to 'destroy' N Korea rocket Japan says it is deploying missile interceptors to destroy any parts of a North Korean rocket that might fall on its territory.

* Obama: Safety of world at stake in Afghanistan President Obama, saying "the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks are in Pakistan and Afghanistan," announced a new strategy Friday to confront the growing threat in the two countries.

* 'Iron Dome' Passes the Test The Defense Ministry reported Thursday that the Iron Dome rocket protection system recently passed a series of tests.

* Erdogan says Turkey ready to resume Israel-Syria mediation Turkey is ready to resume mediation between Israel and Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying.

* Iranian leader assures Assad of Muslim victory Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, on Friday that Israel and the US were "weakening with God's help".

* Olmert: Not much time left for peace To seal an agreement with the Palestinians, future Israeli leaders would have to offer them "more than what Ehud Barak offered at Camp David."

* ANALYSIS / Sudan has become playground for terror groups Did the truck convoy making its way from Port Sudan to Egypt carry weapons from Iran, China or Russia - Sudan's three major arms suppliers?

* Is it Time for the IMF to Change? As the only Arab country that is a member of the G-20 and thus invited to next week's summit on the global economy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a heavy responsibility to speak for those other Arab peoples who are not represented there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

03/26/09

* While Israel celebrates, Egypt stays quiet The Foreign Ministry, as well as local academic and cultural institutions, have planned a number of events this week to commemorate three decades of peace between Egypt and Israel.

* 30 years at peace There was something melancholy about our story this week that Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Yasser Reda would be marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.

* China fury at US military report Beijing has reacted angrily to a Pentagon report on China's military power, which claimed it was altering the military balance in Asia.

* Barkat: Jerusalem must stay united Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told American Jewish leaders in New York on Wednesday that he believes Jerusalem must remain united for pragmatic reasons as much as for emotional ones.

* Czech government defeat raises major Lisbon concerns The presidents of both the European Commission and the European Parliament on Wednesday (25 March) urged the Czech Republic to proceed with the ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

* 'IAF planes bombed Gaza-bound weapons convoy' As Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen during Operation Cast Lead in an attempt to end the rocket threat to southern Israel, IAF warplanes conducted a mission with similar objectives far from the front in the Gaza Strip.

* Geithner 'open' to China proposal Geithner, at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. is "open" to a headline-grabbing proposal by the governor of the China's central bank.

* N Korea 'places missile on pad' North Korea has placed what is thought to be a long-range missile on a launch pad.

* Islam helps shape coming Indonesian elections Islamic parties in Indonesia will not get enough votes in the coming election to nominate a presidential candidate, according to polls.

* Egyptians ponder 30-year peace with Israel In Cairo, the 30th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is seen by many as a moment for regret, not celebration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

03/25/09

* Netanyahu 'will be peace partner' Israel's next prime minister, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, has said his incoming government will be a "partner for peace" with the Palestinians.

* Hamas says no date set for signing unity deal The Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday denied reports that rival Palestinian factions will sign a reconciliation and unity deal next month.

* Egypt-Israel: An unfinished peace On March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty on the White House lawn. It was an intensely emotional moment.

* Czech government falls, putting EU presidency at risk The Czech parliament on Tuesday (24 March) by a razor-thin majority voted down the government led by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who currently holds the EU presidency.

* Joint Darfur aid warning issued More than a million people in Darfur will go without food rations by May unless new aid agencies are deployed.

* The End of the Global War on Terror The end of the Global War on Terror -- or at least the use of that phrase -- has been codified at the Pentagon.

* Atlantic Eye: Sarkozy's European voice In little more than a week, European leaders will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Strasbourg, France.

* EU Presidency: Obama Plans 'a Way to Hell' A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as "a way to hell."

* Brown calls on EU to lead the way out of financial 'hurricane' In an unusually pro-European speech on Tuesday (24 March) UK prime minister Gordon Brown insisted that Britain was one of the EU's key players.

* The sheikh and the Shoah Etgar Lefkovits asks if the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is whitewashing the grand mufti's biography on-line.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

03/24/09

* China calls for new reserve currency China's central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

* At G20, Kremlin to Pitch New Currency The Kremlin published its priorities Monday for an upcoming meeting of the G20, calling for the creation of a supranational reserve currency.

* 'Iranian missile threat exaggerated' A candidate for a top nonproliferation post in the Obama administration played down on Monday the threat from Iran's long-range missile program.

* New status in Africa empowers an ever-eccentric Qaddafi Forty years after he seized power in a bloodless coup d'├ętat, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader once called the mad dog of the Middle East by President Ronald Reagan, has achieved the international status he always craved, as chairman of the African Union.

* Barak 'agrees to Likud coalition' Israel's Labour leader Ehud Barak has reached a provisional deal with PM-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on forming a coalition.

* Israelis Track the Case of the Exploding Star and the Black Hole Scientists from the Rehovot-based Weizmann Institute have participated in the first-ever study of the world’s largest exploding star.

* Sunni fighters, key to stability, grow restive The American military marked another milestone the other day in the initiative perhaps most responsible for taming the violence in Iraq.

* Serbia marks bombing anniversary Air raid sirens have sounded and church bells have rung across Serbia as the country marks 10 years since the start of Nato's bombing campaign.

* After years of plenty, Russia returns to earth After years of coasting on high commodity prices, the Russian government is now acknowledging it will need to get by on a much diminished revenue stream for the foreseeable future.

* A religious war within the Israeli Army The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war.

Monday, March 23, 2009

03/23/09

* Iran targets the US The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority.

* Ultra-Orthodox party joins Netanyahu's coalition Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought a nationalist religious party into what is shaping up to be a narrow, hawkish coalition.

* Turkish president visits Baghdad Turkey's President Abdullah Gul is on a visit to Iraq, the first by a Turkish head of state for more than 30 years.

* Obama ponders Afghan exit plan President Obama said the US must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan, even as Washington sends more troops to fight Taleban militants.

* With counterterror program, Saudis have turned the tide Near the guard tower outside this country's main counterterrorism training center, some of the concrete barriers are still scarred with shrapnel.

* Egypt won't boycott peace anniversary The Egyptian ambassador will attend a Foreign Ministry reception marking three decades of peace between the two countries, ending speculation as to whether Egypt would forgo this week's celebrations.

* Clean up banks to tackle dire world crisis The world is in a dire economic crisis, but no recovery is possible until the financial sector is cleaned up.

* Obama met Gorbachev in run-up to Medvedev talks President Obama has held talks with Mikhail Gorbachev in the latest sign of Washington's efforts to "press the reset button" on ties with Russia.

* EU expanding its sphere of influence The Eastern Partnership is an EU attempt to expand its "sphere of influence" in the quest for hydrocarbons, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said.

* IDF most moral army in world "I can say that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, with high values," Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

03/21/09

* Iran's supreme leader Khamenei dismisses Obama overtures Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday dismissed overtures from US President Barack Obama, saying Teheran does not see any change in American policy toward its government.

* Police acts to foil PA festival in J'lem Police prevented several gatherings in east Jerusalem from breaking out on Saturday afternoon, in an effort to stifle the Palestinian Authority's intention of announcing Jerusalem a cultural capital of the Arabs, Israel Radio reported.

* Assad in Jordan for first time since '05 The Syrian president and the king of Jordan agreed on Friday that Arabs must achieve a unified stance in the face of regional challenges, according to a statement from the palace in Amman.

* Israel's Netanyahu gets more time Benjamin Netanyahu, the man expected to be Israel's next prime minister, has been given another two weeks to form a new government.

* UPDATE 2-Iran leader says world can't stop nuclear progress Iran has shown world powers they cannot block its nuclear progress, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday, but he made no mention of a new message by U.S. President Barack Obama to his country.

* Pope condemns sorcery, urges Angolans to convert Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the Catholics of Angola on Saturday to reach out to and convert believers in witchcraft who feel threatened by "spirits" and "evil powers" of sorcery.

* First Western tour group since 2003 visits Iraq Ancient ruins aside, two weeks of touring Iraq haven't been as satisfying as Tina Townsend Greaves had hoped.

* 'Hamas may decide to nab more troops' In June 2006, Hamas kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit because Israel refused to open the border crossing to the Gaza Strip, and now that Israel is refusing to release Palestinians in Israeli jails as part of a prisoner swap deal, the organization may have to resort to more kidnappings in order to get what it wants, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told an Australian paper in a report published on Friday.

* Peres offers New Year wishes to Iranians President Shimon Peres issued an audio greeting to the Iranian people, urging them to shake off the rule of "an oppressive and fanatical regime" and return to relations of peace and harmony with Israel, which, he recalled, the two countries enjoyed when the Shah was in power, until 1979. He called on the "noble Iranian people" to eschew the rhetoric of hate and even offered a greeting for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in Persian.

* Space station unfurls solar wings Ten years after its construction began, the International Space Station now has full power capability.

Friday, March 20, 2009

03/20/09

* UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crime of greatest magnitude A UN human rights investigator said Israel's offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the "greatest magnitude."

* Iranian tipped US on Syrian facility A top-ranked Iranian defector told the US that Iran was financing North Korean moves to make Syria into a nuclear weapons power, leading to an Israeli air strike that destroyed a secret reactor.

* Iran's first satellite 'completes mission' Western powers nervous about potentially military technical know-how

* Obama offers Iran new beginning in diplomacy US President Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to Iran on Friday offering a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement.

* PA Plans Sovereignty Strut for Arab Jerusalem Day The Palestinian Authority has created an Arab version of the annual Israeli celebration of Jerusalem Day.

* UN panel says world should ditch dollar A UN panel will recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies.

* I am not Jewish but... Over the years, some of my wildest critics seem to have assumed I am Jewish.

* Russian planes again fly over US Navy ships Russian military aircraft flew just 500 feet over two US Navy ships this week as the ships participated in a joint military exercise with South Korea in the Sea of Japan.

* Netanyahu to ask for continuance on coalition mandate Prime minister-designate expected to ask Peres for more time to form government; Barak to suggest Labor enter formal coalition talks with Likud

* EU defends recovery plan The recovery plan agreed by the EU last year is sufficient to fight the economic crisis despite what its critics say.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

03/19/09

* Israel downplays S-300 sale to Iran Israeli officials downplayed reports in the Russian media Wednesday that Moscow signed a deal two years ago to sell S-300 air defense missiles to Iran.

* Global crisis 'to strike by 2030' Growing world population will cause a "perfect storm" of food, energy and water shortages by 2030.

* IDF to U.S.: Israel Closing In on Taking Military Aim at Iran IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi gave United States officials fresh intelligence information on an Iranian nuclear facility during his “working visit” this week.

* Assad: Olmert okayed Golan deal before Gaza op In what appears to be a concerted effort to improve Syria's image abroad, Syrian President Bashar Assad granted his third newspaper interview in 10 days.

* U.S. may widen strikes in Pakistan President Barack Obama and his national security advisers are considering expanding the American covert war in Pakistan far beyond the unruly tribal areas to strike at a different center of Taliban power in Baluchistan.

* Palestinian unity talks break down Talks between rival Hamas and Fatah factions in Cairo ended on Thursday without a deal on a national unity government.

* 4,000-year-old 'Abraham's Gate' reopens The nearly 4,000 year-old "Abraham's Gate" at Tel Dan in northern Israel has been reopened to the public after a decade-long restoration project.

* Cairo: US, Europe should deal with any gov't Palestinians agree on Egypt has been urging Europe and the US to deal with whatever government is agreed on by the rival Palestinian factions negotiating in Cairo.

* EU leaders to discuss response to economic crisis EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss the best ways to get out of the economic crisis.

* China 'to step up naval patrols' China plans to step up naval patrols in disputed waters in the South China Sea to protect its interests.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

03/18/09

* Bin Laden calls for infiltration of Jordan as way to 'liberate al-Aksa' Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's latest audio message has targeted Jordan for the first time, calling on his supporters to infiltrate the country in order to "liberate al-Aksa."

* Russia announces rearmament plan Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow will begin a comprehensive military rearmament from 2011.

* 'Israel could attack Iran with missiles' A new report has assessed that Israel could use ballistic missiles to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, rather than air power.

* At G20, Kremlin to Pitch New Currency The Kremlin published its priorities Monday for an upcoming meeting of the G20, calling for the creation of a supranational reserve currency.

* Lebanon establishes embassy in Syria A Lebanese parliamentarian praised the opening of his county's first-ever embassy in Syria.

* Smallest known North American dinosaur found Canadian researchers say they have discovered the smallest known North American dinosaur.

* Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms Pope Benedict XVI refused Wednesday to soften the Vatican's ban on condom use as he arrived in Africa for his first visit to the continent as pope.

* U.S. blames Sudan's president for Darfur 'catastrophe' The U.S. State Department threw aside diplomatic language Tuesday, attacking Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

* Medvedev Pushes Plan to Remake Russian Military President Dmitry Medvedev vowed Tuesday to press ahead with an ambitious overhaul of Russia's armed forces.

* Top UN official accuses US of demonizing Iran The outspoken U.N. General Assembly president on Tuesday accused the United States of demonizing Iran's president.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

03/17/09

* Scholar Claims Dead Sea Scrolls 'Authors' Never Existed Biblical scholars have long argued that the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of an ascetic and celibate Jewish community known as the Essenes, which flourished in the 1st century A.D.

* IDF chief: Strike on Iran a concrete option IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, who is on an official visit to the United States, told his American colleagues Monday that the Iranian threat could still be handled via sanctions.

* Solana: Don't drop 2-state solution The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned on Monday that the bloc may reevaluate its ties with Israel.

* Egypt talks to Europe, US on Palestinian unity Egypt has dispatched two of its top officials to convince the Americans and the Europeans to accept a weaker commitment by the militant Hamas group to peace with Israel.

* Downturn 'risks Africa conflict' African leaders have warned that parts of the continent could be plunged back into conflict if they are not helped to recover from the global downturn.

* Pakistan turns onto a new and uncertain path It was a signal moment in Pakistan's political development: A huge demonstration forced the restoration of a dismissed chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

* Drones are weapons of choice in fighting Qaeda A missile fired by an American drone killed at least four people late Sunday at the house of a militant commander in northwest Pakistan.

* China likely to be stronger after crisis The global economic downturn, and efforts to reverse it, will probably make China an even stronger economic competitor than it was before the crisis.

* Abbas: Hamas-Fatah talks doomed to fail The Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks between the rival Palestinian factions appear to be on the brink of collapse.

* Netanyahu asks Peres to weigh in on coalition talks Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Shimon Peres Monday and asked him to facilitate the formation of a national unity government which would include the Labor and Kadima parties.

Monday, March 16, 2009

03/16/09

* The jury's out on the future of Europe The financial crisis is likely to create fundamental changes in the EU.

* EU warns Netanyahu on hawkish government The EU urged PM-designate Netanyahu to craft a government that embraces the long-standing goal of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.

* Iran should stay out of Arab disputes Iran's top diplomat made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia attempting to improve relations amid rising tensions between the Islamic Republic and the Arab world.

* G20 summit critical for economy The upcoming G20 meeting is critical if the world wishes to avoid the economic turbulence seen in the 1930s.

* Israelis think Gaza op ended too early Two-thirds of Israelis believe that Operation Cast Lead against Hamas terrorists in Gaza finished too early, according to a new poll.

* Khatami reportedly withdraws presidential bid Former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami announced his withdrawal from the country's presidential elections.

* Likud and Israel Beiteinu sign deal Likud signed its first coalition deal with Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu.

* Iraqis more upbeat about future Violence and insecurity are no longer the main concern of most Iraqis, for the first time since the 2003 US-led invasion.

* Sudan to expel all aid groups Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir says he wants all international aid groups out of the country within a year.

* Egypt concerned about future Israeli govt Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul Gheit voiced concern for Middle East peace hopes after an ultra-nationalist party signed up to be part of Israel's new government.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

03/14/09

* Obama: I'll forge new ties with Muslims In phone conversations with the leaders of Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines on Friday, US President Barack Obama discussed his commitment to forging a new relationship with Islamic countries.

* Likud-Kadima coalition talks resumed The secret talks between the Likud and Kadima parties have been resumed recently in a bid to form a joint coalition.

* Bin Laden: Gaza offensive a 'holocaust' Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called Israel's operation in Gaza a "holocaust".

* Obama aide: Talk to Hamas Economic Recovery Adviser Paul A. Volcker and nine former senior American officials have urged President Barack Obama to engage in dialogue with Hamas leaders.

* 'Ahmadinejad to attend Sharm summit' There will soon be a "real positive change" in ties between Arab countries and Iran.

* Rabbis after pope meeting: Crisis over "The Jewish people, who were chosen as the elected people, communicate to the whole human family knowledge of and fidelity to the one, unique and true God."

* Palestinian unity negotiations near collapse Hamas and Fatah negotiators said on Thursday they are having difficulty reaching an agreement over the makeup and political program of a Palestinian unity government.

* Nasrallah vows to never recognize Israel In a recorded speech aired Friday evening in Beirut in honor of Prophet Muhammad's birthday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah reportedly rejected a preliminary US condition for talks.

* ANALYSIS / Fatah-Hamas unity would pose major dilemma for Israel If the understandings reached on Thursday in Cairo between Fatah and Hamas remain valid even after the representatives from both sides return home, they are likely to expedite the release of Gilad Shalit.

* 'Outside interference' in Lisbon treaty campaign, Irish minister says Irish Europe minister Dick Roche has said there was "serious external interference" in the run-up to the country's referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Friday, March 13, 2009

03/13/09

* Turkey says willing to continue Syria mediation "In the neighborhood we live in – Israel could not find a better friend than Turkey," Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, said on Thursday evening.

* Ashkenazi to focus on Iran in US visit Iran will be the focus of talks IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi is to hold in Washington this weekend.

* Chairman of Joint Chiefs: Iran Can Develop Nukes Iran is at the point where it can develop nuclear weapons said Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

* Islamic states: Criminalize defamation of Islam The Islamic states circulated a new resolution at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

* Shari'a making inroads in the West Pakistan recently gave in to the pressure of Islamist militants.

* Israel-Turkey ties critical to region, says Ankara The relationship between Israel and Turkey is of "regional and global importance," according to Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan.

* PA unity negotiations near collapse Hamas and Fatah negotiators said on Thursday they are having difficulty reaching an agreement over the makeup and political program of a Palestinian unity government.

* China 'can boost stimulus plan' China is ready to introduce new economic stimulus measures "at any time", Premier Wen Jiabao has said.

* Swiss action sparks talk of 'currency war' The Swiss National Bank moved to weaken the Swiss franc on Thursday.

* Friedmann praises Ne'eman appointment Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann issued a statement Friday congratulating Prof. Yaacov Ne'eman on his appointment as the new government's justice minister.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

03/12/09

* Egypt urges Palestinian unity agreement Egyptian moderators want a power-sharing agreement between the various Palestinian factions by Saturday.

* Arab leaders 'clear the air' in Riyadh Saudi Arabia hosted the leaders of Egypt and Syria on Wednesday, in an effort to persuade Damascus to move away from Iran.

* Has the Arab-Israeli Conflict Morphed into the Arab-Israeli-Persian Conflict? Is the Arab-Israeli peace process salvageable? That question was raised Tuesday at a luncheon discussion hosted by the Nixon Center in Washington.

* 'PA gov't must take Quartet benchmarks' A Palestinian unity government that does not recognize Israel, renounce terrorism or accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements is one the US will not be able to accept.

* Artificial life 'could be created within five years' Prof David Deamer, from California University, said although building a new lifeform from scratch is a daunting task he is confident it can happen in five to 10 years.

* Gates: More preemptive strikes unlikely Any future US president will likely be more cautious about launching a preemptive strike against another country following the failure to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

* Increased Number Think Global Warming Is "Exaggerated" Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated.

* Central Asia's Complex Geopolitics U.S./NATO supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan have come under increasing attack.

* Sarkozy announces France's return to NATO French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday (11 March) announced the return of his country to the military structures of NATO.

* China demands end of US Navy surveillance China's Defense Ministry has demanded that the US Navy end surveillance missions off the country's southern coast.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

03/11/09

* Russia Reconsidering Missile Deal With Iran Russia may not deliver the S-300 air defence systems to Iran, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

* Mubarak and Assad will seek to repair rift at Saudi summit In another effort at inter-Arab reconciliation, the leaders of Egypt and Syria will visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to meet with King Abdullah.

* Saudis and Syrians cement detente Saudi Arabia says King Abdullah is to hold talks with the Syrian leader in Riyadh on Wednesday.

* UN demands answers on Iran arms ship Iran and Syria have until next week to explain to a United Nations sanctions committee how they were involved with a ship detained off Cyprus in January found to be loaded with explosives believed to be bound for Gaza.

* Stem cell go-ahead puts Obama at odds with pope President Barack Obama's lifting of restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research puts him at odds with Pope Benedict and the American Roman Catholic Church.

* 'It will be difficult to stop Iran' It would be difficult to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and hard to tell which combination of carrots and sticks might convince Iran's leaders to abandon that goal.

* As U.S. weighs Taliban negotiations, Afghans are already talking Even as President Barack Obama floated the idea of negotiating with moderate elements of the Taliban, Afghan and foreign officials here said that preliminary discussions with the Taliban leadership were already under way.

* Egyptian cleric blasts Starbucks for 'Queen Esther' logo As Jews around the world are celebrating Purim, one Egyptian cleric has used the holiday to launch an attack against Starbucks.

* 40,000 Israelis expected to attend papal mass Some 40,000 people are expected to attend the mass the pope will lead on his scheduled visit to Israel in May.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

03/10/09

* 'Dozens dead' in Baghdad bombing At least 33 people, including a local army chief, have died and 46 have been injured in a suicide attack on the western edge of Baghdad.

* 'Arabs can help with Iran nuke threat' Solving the Iranian nuclear threat requires the help of Arab countries neighboring the Islamic republic.

* America becoming less Christian, survey finds America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether.

* 'Netanyahu to focus first on PA' Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu has no intention of sidelining the Palestinian track in favor of a Syrian one.

* EU set for bruising G20 encounter with US A new policy divide appears to be opening up between the EU and the US over the extent stimulus spending programs should be used to combat the current global recession.

* Palestinians launch unity talks Rival Palestinian factions are to meet in Cairo, at the start of a process they hope will pave the way for a national unity government.

* Poll: Hamas beats PA in W. Bank, Gaza If elections were held today in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would defeat Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

* Security forces on high alert for Purim Thousands of police, fire fighters, and ambulance crews are deployed throughout Israel in the defense establishment's effort to ensure safety and security at Purim parades.

* IMF predicts a global recession The world economy is likely to shrink for the first time in decades this year, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.

* Syria leader: Site hit by Israel built over The Syrian president denounced US claims that a Syrian site bombed by Israel two years ago was a nearly finished nuclear reactor.

Monday, March 09, 2009

03/09/09

* Iran crossed nuclear tech threshold Israel acknowledged for the first time that Teheran had mastered the technology to make a nuclear bomb.

* N Korea warning over satellite North Korea has warned that any attempt to shoot down a satellite it says it plans to launch will result in war.

* US says 12,000 troops to leave Iraq by September About 12,000 U.S. soldiers will leave Iraq by September, officials said.

* Israeli demolitions fuel conflict, EU diplomats say Israel is damaging the prospects for peace with Palestinians by grabbing land and violating civil liberties in East Jerusalem.

* EU ministers draft finance chapter of spring summit EU finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to prepare a number of key policy documents.

* Illinois pastor deflected gunshot with Bible A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman's four rounds with a Bible.

* World Bank offers dire forecast for world economy In a bleaker assessment than those of most private forecasters, the World Bank predicted Sunday that the global economy would shrink in 2009 for the first time since World War II.

* Obama bid to turn to moderate Taliban 'will fail' Co-opting fighters unlikely to succeed, say critics

* Pope confirms Israel visit in early May Pope Benedict XVI will visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories between May 8 and 15, the leader of the Catholic church confirmed during Sunday's mass at St. Peter's in the Vatican.

* US envoy finds 'common ground' in Syria A top US diplomat called his talks in Damascus on Saturday "very constructive."