Citing monopoly, Huntsman urges probe of oil industry

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says federal officials must investigate what he calls a monopoly of the oil industry.

Huntsman won’t blame specific companies but compares the situation to media company domination in the 1970s that required government intervention. He wants the Federal Trade Commission and Senate Judiciary Committee to launch a  review of the oil industry.

Ending the monopoly is among the priorities for an energy policy that the former Utah governor outlined at the University of New Hampshire on Tuesday afternoon. He calls for more oil drilling in Alaska and elsewhere, less government regulation and investment in new technologies.


Syrian troops plant mines along border with Lebanon

Syria has planted land mines along parts of its border with Lebanon, further sealing itself off from the world and showing how shaken Bashar Assad’s regime has become since an uprising began March 15.

Although Assad’s hold on power is firm, he is taking increasingly desperate measures to safeguard his grip on the country of 22 million people. A Syrian official confirmed to The Associated Press that troops were laying the mines, saying they were aimed at stopping arms smuggling into Syria during the uprising.

Witnesses on the Lebanese side also said they’ve seen Syrian soldiers planting the mines in recent days.


Retaliating for U.N. moves, Israel plans more housing

Following a successful Palestinian bid to join the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, Israel said Tuesday it would retaliate by issuing tenders for about 2,000 new housing units on land it seized during the 1967 Mideast War.

The government also temporarily suspended payment this month to the Palestinian Authority of about $100 million in tax transfers that Israel collects on behalf of Palestinians.