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Wednesday, Sep 17th

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Army: Settlers have crossed red line

Senior IDF officers on Thursday lambasted the legal system's inability to effectively crack down on radical West Bank settlers after a group of young far-right activists went on a rampage that culminated in an attack on an IDF position near Ramallah.

The IDF, one officer said, recently held a one-day conference together with the police to try to come up with ways to stop settler violence. According to the officer, in most cases the settlers involved in such clashes were either not apprehended or were released from police custody without being indicted.

"They have crossed a red line," one officer said. "The legal system needs to come up with ways to curb this unfortunate, growing phenomenon." 

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Venezuela's Chavez says US ambassador must leave

President Hugo Chavez ordered the U.S. ambassador to leave Venezuela in 72 hours and said he was immediately withdrawing his ambassador from Washington.

Chavez said Thursday night that U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy is no longer welcome, just as his close ally Bolivia expelled the American envoy from La Paz a day earlier.

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Israel asks U.S. for arms, air corridor to attack Iran

The security aid package the United States has refused to give Israel for the past few months out of concern that Israel would use it to attack nuclear facilities in Iran included a large number of "bunker-buster" bombs, permission to use an air corridor to Iran, an advanced technological system and refueling planes.

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Jewish West Bank settlers grab more land: report

Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank have annexed tens of thousands of acres of land, some of it privately owned by Palestinians, an Israeli human rights group said on Thursday.

A report issued by Israel's B'Tselem human rights organization said some settlements had grabbed land up to two and a half times greater than their own designated area either by fencing it off or by intimidation.

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French revolt over Edvige: Nicolas Sarkozy's Big Brother spy computer

President Nicolas Sarkozy faced an embarrassing split in his Cabinet today over a computer system that a new French internal intelligence service will use to spy on the private lives of millions of law-abiding citizens.

Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister, broke government ranks to side with a growing revolt against Edvige, an acronym for a police database that will store personal details including opinions, the social circle and even sexual preferences of more or less anyone who interests the State.

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Israeli Police Suggest Indicting Olmert

The Israeli police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on charges including bribe-taking, fraud and breach of trust.

The recommendation, which followed a corruption investigation that unfolded over several months, has no legal weight of its own. The decision whether to charge the prime minister lies with the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz. It is likely to come in a few weeks, after Mr. Olmert has been granted a hearing. Mr. Olmert’s lawyers immediately issued a statement that the police recommendation had “no meaning.”

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Hamid Karzai blames Britain for Taliban resurgence

Karzai claims Brown has threatened to withdraw British troops from Helmand province, where 31 of them have died this year, if the president reinstates two provincial governors sacked for alleged dealings in the heroin trade.

One of them is Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, the former governor of Helmand, who was forced out under British pressure two years ago after nine tons of opium and heroin were discovered in his basement. Karzai’s plan to reinstate the governors has alarmed western diplomats in Kabul and dismayed British officials.

However, the Taliban have made advances since Akhundzada’s departure and drug production has increased. Karzai believes Britain’s “interference” is to blame.

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