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Digest

Pressure builds on Israeli leader to step down

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 2, 2007


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JERUSALEM

A mutiny was brewing within Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's party on Tuesday, with a senior official planning to call for Olmert's resignation in the wake of a damning report about his performance in last summer's war against Hezbollah. Avigdor Itzhaki, the chairman of the Kadima Party's representatives in Parliament, called several party lawmakers to gauge their positions. Uri Maimon, the chairman's aide, confirmed that Itzhaki planned to call on Olmert to resign at a meeting Thursday. Itzhaki is believed to be working on behalf of those who support Tzipi Livni, now the foreign minister. Olmert's aides say that Kadima and the governing coalition it leads are holding together, and that there is no unanimity on a rival or a successor. Opinion polls in the Israeli media show a large majority favoring the immediate resignation of Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

SANGIN VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN

Villagers return to Afghan valley

Villagers trickled back to their damaged farms Tuesday after a NATO operation in their valley killed some 75 suspected Taliban fighters. The latest salvo in the alliance's campaign to win control of southern Afghanistan chalked up a clear military victory. But the outcome of the tougher battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Afghans remained unclear. Maj. Dominic Biddick, who led a company of British troops, told the Associated Press that some of those killed Monday were local men whose deaths could turn their relatives against troops. Biddick said NATO troops also captured several militants and discovered an arms cache among the valley's walled compounds and opium poppy fields.

WASHINGTON

Rice sees progress against terrorism

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed "considerable progress" in the global fight against terrorism as she prepared Tuesday to ask skeptical Arab governments to underwrite democracy in Iraq. "There's been some real progress on some fronts and in other places the terrorists have continued to challenge democratic governments, " Rice said when asked about a State Department report showing terrorist attacks worldwide shot up more than 25 percent last year.

ELSEWHERE

Monrovia, Liberia: Liberia's president opened 10 diamond screening offices Tuesday, marking the first step following a six-year ban by the United Nations. The ban was imposed in 2001 when so-called "blood diamonds" fueled civil wars.

Tunis, Tunisia: A stampede at an open-air concert by stars of the Arab version of American Idol killed seven young people and injured 32 in southern Tunisia, an official said Tuesday.

Bogota, Colombia: The Colombian navy said Tuesday that a cache of cocaine found along the Pacific coast was smaller than believed and not the largest drug haul in the nation's history, as officials claimed.

London: Prince Charles said Tuesday that urgent action is needed to fight climate change, likening the struggle to Britain's battle against Nazi Germany.

Nassau, Bahamas: Anna Nicole Smith's ex-boyfriend slipped out of the Bahamas with their 7-month-old daughter Tuesday. The chartered plane carrying Larry Birkhead and baby Dannielynn stopped in Fort Lauderdale before departing for Louisville, Ky., Access Hollywood reported.

[Last modified May 2, 2007, 02:17:49]


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