Livni’s comeback energizeselection for prime minister

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who appeared to be cruising to re-election a few weeks ago, suddenly appears vulnerable ahead of elections in January.

The political comeback of a popular former foreign minister on Tuesday, coupled with the ruling Likud Party’s selection of an especially hard-line slate of candidates, has suddenly raised questions about Netanyahu’s prospects. Eager to portray Netanyahu as an extremist, opposition parties see an opportunity to mount a formidable challenge.

Ousting Netanyahu remains a daunting task, but the return of Tzipi Livni, who served as Israel’s foreign minister and chief peace negotiator from 2006 to 2009, injected a high-profile name into what had been a lackluster race.


Syria bombs olive oil factory in latest attack on civilians

Syrian warplanes bombed an olive oil factory packed with farmers Tuesday in Idlib, killing at least 20 people in the latest regime strike to rip through a crowd of civilians, activists said.

The bombing comes as the civil war takes a devastating toll on an already beleaguered population. Human Rights Watch said it found “compelling evidence” that the regime used cluster bombs in an airstrike that killed at least 11 children earlier this week.

LA PAZ, Bolivia

Six more arrested in scheme to extort jailed New Yorker

Six more Bolivian government officials were arrested on Tuesday, including a top Interior Ministry official, for alleged roles in a scheme to rob and extort a New York businessman who has been jailed for 18 months on suspicion of money laundering.

The American, Jacob Ostreicher, has argued since shortly after his arrest that he has been the victim of corrupt Bolivian officials who conspired to keep him in jail so they could sell off the 18,000 metric tons of rice they confiscated from him and extort him in exchange for promises to obtain his release.


Poverty in Latin America, Caribbean drops markedly

The number of people living in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean has dropped to its lowest level in three decades due to higher wages, the U.N.’s regional economic body said on Tuesday.

Despite lower poverty levels overall, 167 million people in the region are still considered poor. That’s 1 million fewer than in 2011, and about 29 percent of the region’s population.

– From news service reports