Friday, March 12, 2010

FP morning post 3/12

Israel seals off West Bank

Top story: Israeli authorities have sealed off the West Bank for 48 hours, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel, over fears of unrest. The government is concerned about violence this weekend in reaction to Israel's announcement that it will build 1,600 new settler homes in disputed East Jerusalem.

There have also been clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian worshippers and mosques in Jerusalem in recent weeks. Israeli police have also barred men under 50 from attending Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque. The order went into effect at midnight on Thursday and will last until midnight on Saturday.

In response to Israel's construction announcement, the Arab League withdrew its support for indirect talks between the two sides. U.S. envoy George Mitchell called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to urge him to go ahead with talks, but Abbas reportedly demanded a freeze on the new settlement project before the Palestinians would return to the table.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left Israel yesterday after a visit that was supposed to reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties, but ended up straining them further. Netanyahu apologized on Thursday for the timing of the East Jerusalem construction announcement.

Whale wars: The Japanese Coast Guard arrested an anti-whaling activist who boarded a whaling ship in the Southern Antarctic last month.

Asia and Pacific
  • At least 39 people were killed when suicide bombers struck a crowded marketplace in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • 32 asylum speakers were rescued off the Australian coast.
  • Thousands were evacuated after two dams burst in Kazakhstan, causing massive flooding.
Middle East
  • Parties are claiming fraud as early results show a tight race in Iraq.
  • An American man suspected of being an al Qaeda member allegedly went on a shooting spree at a hospital in Yemen over the weekend.
  • Two Israeli soldiers were indicted for using a Palestinian boy as a human shield during the Gaza War.
  • The Pope met with the Archbishop of Germany to discuss a spiraling child abuse scandal.
  • French President Nicholas Sarkozy is holding separate meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron today.
  • The trial began for four British legislators accused of theft by false accounting.
  • Mogadishu's mayor warned residents to flee as fighting between government forces and Shabaab rebels continued.
  • The Red Cross says Zimbabwe is on the brink of another food crisis.
  • Gambia's opposition is protesting a wave of arrests of high-ranking officials.
  • Three strong earthquakes shook Chile yesterday as new president Sebastian Pinera was sworn in.
  • Mexico City's began marrying gay couples yesterday after legalizing same-sex marriage last December.
  • The European Parliament voted to condemn Cuba for the death hunger striker Orlando Tamayo.
-By Joshua Keating


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