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Saturday, Apr 19th

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Blair awarded $1m prize for international relations work

Over the two years he has spent as Middle East envoy, Blair's optimism about the chance of bringing peace has run up against the old, familiar challenges of Middle East peacemaking. Shortly after taking the job he spoke of a "moment of opportunity." Since then peace talks have restarted and then halted, a new right-wing government has come into power in Israel while Palestinian factions have deepened their divisions, and the conflict has claimed hundreds more lives.

TVNL Comment: Is "prize" Hebrew for "payoff?"

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Israel begins new settlement, despite U.S. opposition

Israel has moved ahead with a plan to build a new settlement in the northern West Bank for the first time in 26 years, pursuing a project the United States has already condemned as an obstacle to peace efforts.

The initiative began three years ago, under the auspices of then-defense minister Amir Peretz, who promised to transform a former army outpost into a permanent settlement for evacuees from the Gaza Strip. The move was then frozen due to American insistence.

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U.S. Will Pay $2.6 Million to Train Chinese Prostitutes to Drink Responsibly on the Job

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job.

TVNL Comment: No comment!!!

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Obama to Travel to Egypt, Give Speech to Muslim World

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Egypt next month to give a speech to the Muslim world.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that Egypt is the country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world. He said the trip will be an opportunity for the president to discuss U.S. relations with the Muslim world.  Gibbs said Mr. Obama will also visit Germany and France during his trip.

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IDF bans Palestinians from hosting pope next to West Bank fence

A Palestinian official says the Palestinian Authority has scrapped plans to host Pope Benedict XVI next week on a stage near the West Bank separation fence.

Palestinian say they had hoped that receiving the pope next to a towering cement wall and military watchtower inside the Aida refugee camp would highlight their suffering under Israeli occupation.

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Israel's secret plan for West Bank expansion

Israel has taken a step towards expanding the largest settlement in the West Bank, a move Palestinians warn will leave their future state unviable and further isolate its future capital, East Jerusalem.

The Israeli Peace Now group, which monitors settlement growth, said it had obtained plans drawn up by experts that the interior ministry had commissioned which call for expanding the sprawling Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem southward by 1200 hectares, placing what is now the separate smaller settlement of Kedar within Maale Adumim's boundaries.

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Irish reject e-voting, go back to paper

File this in the "exporting democracy" category, or not: a recent report from Europe serves as a reminder that serious problems with e-voting aren't just an American malady, although it's much easier to move back to paper ballots if your country is fairly small.

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