Israel refuses to stop building in East Jerusalem

Israel said Monday it has no intention of halting construction of Jewish housing in hotly contested east Jerusalem, a first sign of trouble for newly launched U.S.-mediated peace talks.

Palestinians accused Israel of undermining trust and urged President Obama to intervene.

The comments on construction from Israeli Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser came a day after the White House praised Israel for agreeing to hold off construction of a major east Jerusalem housing project. It also spotlighted the delicate balancing act of an Israeli government seeking to please both the Obama administration and hard-line coalition partners.

An Associated Press investigation in April revealed Israel had imposed a de facto freeze on new Jewish construction in the part of Jerusalem the Palestinians claim for a future capital, presumably to pave the way for the U.S.-mediated, indirect peace talks that began last week.

No new housing has been approved since an embarrassing diplomatic row broke out between Israel and the U.S. in March, when an Israeli panel announced 1,600 new houses for east Jerusalem in the middle of a visit by Vice President Joe Biden.

MANILA, Philippines

Early tallies show Aquino winning presidential vote

Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino, whose mother helped oust former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was headed for victory in the country’s presidential elections Monday, according to early tallies of the votes.

Aquino, 50, had 8.96 million votes, or 41 percent of the ballots tallied in 57 percent of precincts late Monday night, the Commission on Elections said in Manila. More than 50 million Filipinos were registered for Monday’s election. Former President Joseph Estrada had 26 percent, and Senator Manuel Villar had 14 percent.

The winner gets to lead a country that captures less than a quarter of the foreign investment going to its neighbors, holding back economic growth and forcing more than a million Filipinos abroad every year to look for work. Decades of graft since Marcos took power in 1965 saw the Philippines slump from being Asia’s fourth-biggest economy to the 13th out of 17 tracked by Bloomberg.


Iranian TV says families may visit 3 imprisoned Americans

An Iranian state television channel said Monday that the families of three Americans arrested along the Iraqi border in July will be allowed to visit them in a Tehran prison.

The Americans’ families have been told before they would be granted visas to visit Iran only to find that they did not have the permission.

Iran has accused Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal of illegal border crossing, espionage and having links to U.S. intelligence.




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