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Mayor denies housing freeze in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON

MAYOR DENIES HOUSING FREEZE IN JERUSALEM

Jerusalem's mayor is denying there has been any freeze in housing construction in the traditionally Arab eastern part of the city. His comments may complicate the Obama administration's attempts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.Mayor Nir Barkat told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that reports of a de facto halt to building Jewish homes in East Jerusalem were wrong. He said construction will continue after a short slowdown in approvals caused by Israeli shock at U.S. criticism of plans for new homes announced last month during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Jerusalem. Barkat's comments came a day after some local officials in Jerusalem said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had effectively frozen new Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.

AUSTRIA

Chechen leader cited in slaying

Austrian investigators have concluded that Chechnya's president, Ramzan Kadyrov, ordered the kidnapping of one of his critics and former bodyguards in Vienna and that the man was shot to death there when the abduction went awry, the Vienna public prosecutor's office said Tuesday. Umar Israilov, 27, was gunned down Jan. 13, 2009. Three Chechen men are being detained in Austria as suspects in the case.

Elsewhere:

New York: The only man ever to admit involvement in the assassination of Malcolm X, Thomas Hagan, was freed on parole Tuesday, 45 years after he helped gun down the civil rights leader.

Washington: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he is willing to bring up climate change legislation ahead of an immigration bill, the first step toward resolving a dispute with Republicans that threatened to derail a bipartisan effort on the climate measure.

Washington: The House voted 402-15 on Tuesday to deny its members an automatic cost-of-living raise in 2011, depriving them of an estimated $1,600 increase and keeping their salaries at $174,000 a year. The Senate took identical action five days earlier.

Kyrgyzstan: The nation's new authorities have charged former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev with mass murder for his role in the deaths of scores of antigovernment protesters this month, an official said Tuesday.

Norway: Norway and Russia agreed Tuesday to evenly divide a long-disputed area in the Barents Sea, an oil and gas region in the arctic made more accessible by global warming.

China: The government said today it has scrapped a 20-year travel ban that barred people with HIV and AIDS from entering the country, just days ahead of the opening of the Shanghai Expo.

Times wires

Mayor denies housing freeze in Jerusalem 04/28/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:28am]

    

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