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U.S., Israel disagree on settlements

Washington

U.S., Israel disagree on settlements

The Obama administration and Israel gave no ground Wednesday in their opposing views on settlements in Palestinian territory. After talks in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held to long-standing positions ahead of a meeting next week between U.S. special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The settlement question is expected to dominate those talks.

Clinton said that the U.S. "commitment to Israel's security is and will remain a cornerstone of our foreign policy" but that the United States wants a halt to settlement activity in the West Bank.

Lieberman held firm to Netanyahu's stance that settlements must be allowed to grow to accommodate population trends, a formulation known as "natural growth." He also said Israel wants settlement understandings reached with former President George W. Bush to remain in place.

Peshawar, Pakistan

Fear of terrorist strike shuts down airport

The international airport was shut down Wednesday after an intelligence report warned of a possible terrorist attack against civilian aircraft by a militant group, officials said. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority reportedly cabled all national and international carriers Tuesday night to stop their flights to Peshawar International Airport effective Wednesday.

• Police on Wednesday arrested Mohammed Zubair, a member of the Punjabi Taliban, in the March attack on a Sri Lankan cricket team. Seven players were wounded and six policemen killed when the team was attacked on the streets of Lahore.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Air France plane may have broken up in sky

Autopsies have revealed fractures in the legs, hips and arms of Air France Flight 447 victims, injuries that — coupled with the large pieces of wreckage pulled from the Atlantic — suggest the plane broke up in the air, a spokesman for Brazilian medical examiners said Wednesday. Frank Ciacco, a former forensic expert at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said, "If you see intact bodies and multiple fractures — arm, leg, hip fractures — it's a good indicator of a midflight break up." Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, D.C., said most passengers would have died long before they hit water.

Moscow

North Korea urged to resume negotiations

Russia and China urged North Korea on Wednesday to return to the negotiating table on the fate of its rogue nuclear programs — an unusual joint appeal from two Security Council members who have resisted more punitive U.S. measures against Pyongyang. The appeal, which also expressed "serious concern" about tensions on the Korean peninsula, came hours after North Korea warned of a "thousand-fold" military retaliation against the U.S. and its allies if provoked. In Vienna, at talks at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, lead U.S. envoy Geoffrey Pyatt said, "We believe it is in North Korea's own best interests to return to serious negotiations."

Elsewhere

Madrid: The United States has asked Spain to accept four prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorism suspects, Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Wednesday. Spain will respond when it has studied the legal consequences, he said.

Vienna: An Austrian court has convicted a man of glorifying Nazi ideology and sentenced him to two years in prison. The court in the southern city of Klagenfurt found the 85-year-old man, who was not identified, guilty Wednesday of "re-engaging" in Nazi-era beliefs.

Times wires

U.S., Israel disagree on settlements 06/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:37pm]

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