Friday, May 20, 2011


* Middle East: Obama and Netanyahu hold Washington talks Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived for talks at the White House with US President Barack Obama amid sharp differences on the way forward for the Middle East peace process.

* Obama and Netanyahu, Distrustful Allies, Meet As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel heads to the White House on Friday for the seventh meeting since President Obama took office, the two men are facing a turning point in a relationship that has never been warm.

* Religion – the overlooked motive behind Syria’s uprising Throughout the Syrian uprising of the last two months, the dominant media narrative has followed the now-familiar arc of a freedom-seeking populace mustering the courage to finally confront an autocratic, anti-democratic regime.

* What rankled Netanyahu in the Obama speech In 2004, US President George Bush, in exchange for then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, wrote a letter saying in any future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians it would be “unrealistic" to expect a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice lines.

* NATO airstrikes cap week of rising pressure on Libya NATO aircraft struck eight Libyan warships overnight Thursday, just hours after President Obama capped a week of increasing international pressure with a vow that Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi would fall from power.

* PA to Pay Terrorists in Israeli Prisons Salaries The Palestinian Authority passed a law last month granting all PA residents and Israeli Arabs imprisoned by Israel for terror crimes a monthly salary.

* US takes EU line on final borders in Israel US President Barack Obama has said future Israeli-Palestinian borders should be based on lines established before the 1967 war.

* IMF head: Europe to make 'common choice' soon Germany's finance minister says Europe will decide soon on a common candidate as its choice to lead the IMF.

* Vatican protocol favours Van Rompuy, snubs Barroso The Vatican snubbed EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso at a ceremony for the late Pope John Paul II earlier this month in favour of EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy.

* EU institutions to create new cyber defence unit EU institutions are setting up a joint team of internet security experts some three months after the European Commission was hacked in a bid to get sensitive data on external relations and monetary issues.