Middle Orient

MPs receive 1st post-Saddam charter

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraq’s first post-Saddam Hussein draft constitution was presented to parliament Monday under intense US pressure, just minutes before a new deadline ran out, but with a number of issues still unresolved. Parliament Speaker Hajim Hasani said MPs received the draft constitution on time Monday, after tortuous negotiations, …

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Israeli army, settlers battle to dominate public opinion

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — As Israeli soldiers dragged Jewish settlers from their homes, one settler walked in front of about a dozen television cameras and wailed: “How could they do this? This the land of Israel.” When the cameras were turned off, he stopped crying and walked away. Another family invited …

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Mauritanians’ shifting allegiance

NOUAKCHOTT — After 20 years of oppression under the previous regime, the people of Mauritania have welcomed the arrival of their new leader after a bloodless coup in the country. Nouakchott is bleached by the Saharan sun and smothered in the desert sands on a daily basis. It is a …

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Clergy choose new patriarch for Holy Land

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) — The Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land elected a new patriarch on Monday to succeed their ousted leader, who fell from grace over a controversial East Jerusalem land deal. The church’s Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Theofilos in a 14-0 vote. Church rebels had dismissed Patriarch …

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Egypt examines possibility of Islamist party

CAIRO — Nearly 10 years ago, Abul-Ela Madi was jailed when he first proposed creating an Islamist party in Egypt. Now, he seems closer than ever to achieving his dream — and if he does, it will further alter his country’s already changing political landscape. If Madi’s Al Wasat Party …

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Powerful blast rocks north Beirut suburb

BEIRUT (AP) — A powerful explosion late Monday rocked a shopping centre and hotel in the Zalka neighbourhood in north Beirut, injuring at least three people and causing extensive damage, security officials said. Heavily armed Lebanese soldiers cordoned off the area, punching and hitting journalists to keep them back. Two …

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Last settlers leave Gaza

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The last Jewish settlers were evacuated yesterday from the Gaza Strip as attention shifted to four small settlements in the northern West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, talked of creating a “culture of peace,” while Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed to continue building in the …

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Impasse on Iraq constitution as new deadline looms

BAGHDAD (AP) — A day before the deadline for the new constitution, Sunni Arabs appealed Sunday to the United States to prevent Shiites and Kurds from pushing a draft through parliament with their consent, warning it would only worsen the crisis in Iraq. Leaders of the Sunni Arabs, Shiite and …

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Israeli bulldozers reduce Gaza settler homes to rubble

PEAT SADE, Gaza Strip — “The world turns. A while ago we were destroying Palestinian homes, and now we’re destroying Jewish homes,” remarked an Israeli soldier on Sunday as he watched bulldozers smash into the homes of settlers evicted from the Gaza Strip. The modest homes in the tiny settlement …

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Somali president rules out disarmament by force

NAIROBI — Somalia’s president vowed on Sunday to use persuasion rather than force to disarm its many militias, saying warlords and businessmen should realise it was in their interests to demobilise the gunmen they control. In a Reuters interview, Abdullahi Yusuf, whose government is beset by wrangling about where it …

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