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Israel delays vote on some outposts

By wire services
Published March 14, 2005

JERUSALEM - Israel's Cabinet on Sunday affirmed it will dismantle 24 illegal West Bank settlement outposts but did not say when they will be removed and evaded a decision on the fate of 81 other such enclaves.

The decision fell short of U.S. and Palestinian demands for a speedy dismantling of all outposts, but Cabinet ministers said their removal must wait until after a planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this summer.

In their weekly meeting, the ministers discussed a highly critical report that blamed the government for helping to set up and expand a total of 105 such outposts in the past decade.

According to the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, Israel must remove all the outposts created since March 2001 - 24 according to the outpost report. Seventy-one outposts were built before that date, and it was not clear when 10 were set up.

U.S. lawmakers snub Sinn Fein

DUBLIN, Ireland - One of Sinn Fein's leading supporters in the U.S. Congress called Sunday for the Irish Republican Army to disband because it was standing in the way of peace in Northern Ireland.

In a major departure, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who for more than two decades has been an ardent supporter of the Sinn Fein-IRA movement, accused the outlawed IRA of making a string of bad decisions that have fueled hostility among Irish-Americans.

His comments came as Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said he would not meet with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on St. Patrick's Day - the first time the two have not met on the traditional Irish holiday since the Good Friday peace pact was signed seven years ago.

Kennedy's spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner cited "the IRA's ongoing criminal activity and contempt for the rule of law" as the reason for Kennedy's decision.

China passes anti-Taiwan law

BEIJING - China's national legislature today approved a law authorizing a military attack to stop Taiwan from pursuing formal independence.

The measure was approved by a vote of 2,896 to zero, with two abstentions at the closing session of the National People's Congress' annual session. On Sunday, President Hu Jintao told the 2.5-million-member People's Liberation Army to be prepared for war.

"We shall step up preparations for possible military struggle and enhance our capabilities to cope with crises, safeguard peace, prevent wars and win the wars if any," Hu said.

AIDS VACCINE: China has begun testing a new AIDS vaccine on a group of volunteers after they were given physical exams and signed waivers, the government said. A total of 49 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 50 will be part of the three-stage tests, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing Chen Jie, director of the disease control agency in southern China's Guangxi region.


GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: A federal judge in Washington has blocked the government from transferring 13 Yemenis from the U.S. detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until a hearing is held on concerns the detainees may be mistreated in another country. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer's ruling Saturday temporarily blocks any plans by the government to transfer the detainees to prisons in other countries.

SAUDI RAID: Saudi police killed an alleged Islamic militant and arrested three others Sunday in a shootout at a suspected terror cell hideout in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, the Interior Ministry said.

[Last modified March 14, 2005, 01:29:07]

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