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Former U.S. Congressman, Bob Barr, assisting Duvalier

Bob BarrA former U.S. congressman was among a group of American attorneys accompanying former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier as he spoke in the country's capital Friday.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr said he is not serving as Duvalier's attorney, but is in Port-au-Prince to consult, assist and be Duvalier's voice to the international community. Barr represented Georgia's 7th District in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and was the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 2008. He currently practices law and runs a consulting firm based in Atlanta.


UN chief: Settlements are illegal, hamper peace efforts

Ban Ki-moonUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed Israel's refusal to halt West Bank settlement building, saying that this refusal seriously hampered peace talks with the Palestinians, AFP reported on Friday.

"Settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law, contravene the Road Map obligations of Israel, undermine confidence, prejudge the outcome of the permanent status negotiations and hamper efforts at bringing the parties back to the negotiating table," he told a UN committee dealing with Palestinian issues on Friday.


Medvedev: As we did in 1988, Russia still recognizes an independent Palestine

Russia recognizes Palestinian stateRussian President Dmitry Medvedev endorsed a Palestinian state on Tuesday, saying Moscow had recognized independence in 1988 and was not changing the position adopted by the former Soviet Union.

Making his first visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Russian head of state, Medvedev stopped short of issuing a ringing declaration of recognition of Palestinian statehood by the modern Russian Federation which he represents.


Israel destroys East Jerusalem hotel for settlements

Hotel demolished in E. JerusalemIsraeli bulldozers have demolished part of a hotel in East Jerusalem to make way for 20 homes for Jewish settlers. The destruction of the Shepherd Hotel has angered Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian leadership said Israel was destroying any chance of returning to peace. The US called the demolition a "disturbing development". Israel says it has a right to build homes in any part of the city.


IDF says it regrets killing civilian in Hebron raid, but defends operation

Wife of Palestinian man killed by IDF - AFP - Jan 5 2011 	  The wife of Amr Qawasme, the 65-year-old Palestinian killed by IDF troopThe Israel Defense Forces said on Friday that it regrets the killing of a Palestinian man who was shot during a raid on a Hamas cell in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Amr Qawasme, a 65-year-old Hebron resident, was killed early Friday during an IDF raid during which six Hamas members were re-arrested after being released by the Palestinian Authority the previous day. Medical sources said Qawasme, who was unarmed at the time, was brought dead to hospital with several bullet wounds to the upper part of his body. They said the man had been shot in a building the soldiers had raided to arrest one of the Hamas members.


WikiLeaks: Israel charged bribes for Gaza access

GazaA U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks on Thursday quoted American officials as saying a key Israeli cargo crossing for goods entering the Gaza Strip was rife with corruption.

The June 14, 2006, cable, published Thursday by Norway's Aftenposten daily, says major American companies told U.S. diplomats they were forced to pay hefty bribes to get goods into Gaza. It was unclear whether the practice still continues.


Eyewitnesses recall Shock and Awe in Gaza

Shock and Awe in Gaza: EyewitnessesMany Gaza residents who were interviewed for this report recall Saturday morning, December 27, 2008, as being sunny and tranquil, with clear skies. The lack of clouds was unusual, following a week of stormy weather, when winds ripped tiles off decrepit rooftops in refugee camps and rains left large mud puddles throughout the Strip.

Many felt there would be a lull in the fighting that had begun several weeks earlier. But this hope was shattered at 11:30 in the morning, when missiles and bombs began shrieking through the air. Today, two years later, it seems that understanding the opening act of the Cast Lead operation is key to grasping the operation as a whole, and to a certain extent, the actions of the IDF since that campaign.


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