Around the World

Around the World

Friday, February 13, 2009

THE VATICAN

Pope Reaches Out to Jews

The Vatican said Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI would make his first visit to Israel in May, and the pontiff told Jewish leaders that denying the Holocaust is not acceptable, in a message aimed at easing rancor over a British bishop's claim that the Nazis did not kill 6 million Jews.

The pope met with about 60 American Jewish leaders at the Vatican on Thursday and assured them the Catholic Church was "profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism."

MIDDLE EAST

Hamas Predicts Gaza Truce

An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas will probably be announced in the next three days, according to Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

"Most of the obstacles that prevented us from reaching an agreement were resolved," Taher al-Nono, a member of Hamas's negotiating team in Cairo, said. Israeli officials had no immediate comment.

Livni's Party Holds Lead in Final Tally

Final results in Israel's general election show the centrist Kadima party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni with one more seat in the new parliament than Binyamin Netanyahu's hawkish Likud. Kadima won 28 seats and Likud 27 in the 120-seat Knesset.

Wildfire Suspect Charged in Australia

Police charged a man Friday in connection with one of the deadly wildfires in southern Australia, which have killed more than 180 people and left about 7,000 homeless. Police did not release any details about the suspect, but the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said the man was charged on three counts, including arson causing death in what police call the Churchill fire. At least 21 people died in that fire, one of hundreds in Victoria state.

Mexican Drug Turf Battles Reach Capital

Drug cartels that have waged bloody turf battles in Mexico's border region have brought their fight to the outskirts of Mexico City, federal police said in announcing the arrest Wednesday of 10 alleged members of a hit squad. Police said the eight men and two women had been hired by the Sinaloa-based Beltran Leyva cartel to attack the rival La Familia cartel, from nearby Michoacan state.

Britain Bars Anti-Islamic Lawmaker

Britain prevented a Dutch lawmaker from entering the country because of his anti-Islamic views, touching off a debate in the country about the limits of free speech. Geert Wilders was invited to Britain by a member of the House of Lords to show his 15-minute film, "Fitna," which juxtaposes lines from the Koran with images of violence by Muslim extremists and urges Muslims to "tear out the hateful verses."

Bulgarian Nominated for Top NATO Post

Bulgaria nominated former foreign minister Solomon Passy as the next head of NATO, seeking to win the alliance's top job for an Eastern European for the first time. Passy joins Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski as the only declared candidates so far to replace Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer when his term ends in July.

From News Services


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