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Thursday, Mar 05th

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Report: Bolivia follows neighboring countries in recognition of Palestinian state

Evo Morales announces recognition of Palestinian state

Bolivia joined Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay by announcing it recognized Palestine as a sovereign state within the 1967 borders, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday.

Bolivian President Evo Morales made the announcement during the South American trade block Mercosur's summit which took place in Brazil. Morales was quoted as saying that Bolivia recognized the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with Israel.

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Israel shoots down 'balloon' near nuclear site

Israel's nuclear facility in DimonaIsrael says one of its fighter planes has shot down what appeared to be an unmanned balloon which had flown over a top-secret nuclear facility.

A military spokeswoman said an investigation had been launched into the incident. Israel has designated airspace above the Dimona site in the southern Negev desert a no-fly zone.

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Nigeria: Halliburton plans plea bargain in Cheney corruption case

Halliburton plea bargains Cheney bribery caseHalliburton is planning to make a plea bargain in former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's corruption case, Nigerian officials told GlobalPost. Nigeria's anti-corruption agency charged Cheney as the head of Halliburton when its engineering subsidiary, KBR, allegedly paid bribes totaling $180 million to secure contracts worth $6 billion.

KBR has admitted to bribing officials. Last year the company pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court to paying the bribes to Nigerian officials prior to 2007, when it was a subsidiary of Halliburton. KBR, which is now independent from Halliburton, agreed to pay $597 million in fines, according to the Associated Press.

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Ex-intelligence official blast lobbying to free Israeli spy

Jonathan PollardJonathan Pollard’s ex-wife Anne and her father were settled in Israel by the government there this week, the latest chapter in a renewed campaign to free the confessed spy. Israel has angled periodically for Pollard’s release since 1998, when it admitted, after 13 years of denials, that the former naval intelligence analyst was not a rogue agent but an officially sanctioned spy.

Last September Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu relit the fires under the case when, according to Israeli Army Radio, he asked the Obama administration to release Pollard in exchange for a temporary halt in Israel's construction of Jewish settlements.

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Tony Blair recalled to Chilcot inquiry into Iraq war

Tony BlairTony Blair has been recalled to give extra evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. The former prime minister will answer further questions about Britain's involvement in the conflict at a public session early next year, the inquiry team said in a statement.

Ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw will also appear as a witness again and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith has been asked to provide further written evidence.

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Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators

Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun EducatorsWith China’s debut in international standardized testing, students in Shanghai have surprised experts by outscoring their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of a respected exam. American officials and Europeans involved in administering the test in about 65 countries acknowledged that the scores from Shanghai — an industrial powerhouse with some 20 million residents and scores of modern universities that is a magnet for the best students in the country — are by no means representative of all of China.

About 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai were chosen as a representative cross-section of students in that city. In the United States, a similar number of students from across the country were selected as a representative sample for the test.

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Top rabbis move to forbid renting homes to Arabs, say 'Israel belongs to Jews'

Arab neighborhood in IsraelA numbr of leading rabbis who signed on to a religious ruling to forbid renting homes to gentiles – a move particularly aimed against Arabs – defended their decision on Tuesday with the declaration that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.

Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis signed on to the ruling, which comes just months after the chief rabbi of Safed initiated a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

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