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Obama warns of new U.S. tactical spats with Israel

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama warned that new “tactical” disagreements loomed between Israel and Washington, but vowed to leverage his administration’s “creative powers” in the cause of peace. Obama, who has had a testy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke at length on the stalled peace process at…

US court upholds freeze on Arizona immigration law

PHOENIX, Arizona — A US federal court upheld the suspension of key parts of a controversial Arizona immigration law which came into force last year. Arizona’s governor slammed the ruling — and vowed to appeal to the US Supreme Court if necessary — but the Mexican government and rights groups…

US warns banks on Libya transfers

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department has warned US banks to be vigilant of transfers linked to Libya’s political leaders, as the international community moves to slap sanctions on top government officials. The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network told banks to be aware of “the potential increased movement of assets that…

US backs off calls for West Bank settlement freeze

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday suspended its demand for Israel to renew a freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank, throwing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks into deeper disarray. President Barack Obama presided over the relaunch of direct negotiations in Washington in September, only to see them bog…

Jewish settlers ‘building 600 new homes’

Israel has started building at least 600 homes since the end of a construction freeze, watchdog Peace Now said on Thursday, in a move which the Palestinians slammed as “a flagrant act of defiance”. “In our estimation, building has started on between 600 and 700 new housing units in less…

Israel angers Palestinians with new settlement plan

Israeli plans to build 238 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, as reported in Friday’s press, provoked a furious response from the Palestinians who said Israel was bent on “killing” peace talks. The plans for new housing units in the settlement neighbourhoods of Pisgat Zeev and Ramot were approved on…

US government ‘likely’ to unveil new drilling freeze

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s administration was “likely” later Monday to issue a reconfigured moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling, after a previous six-month freeze was blocked by a judge. The announcement, which officials had previously said was imminent, was expected to be made by the Department of the…

Krugman: Obama spending freeze ‘appalling on every level’

Liberal economist Paul Krugman, one of the Obama administration’s supporters on healthcare reform and an advocate of the progressive economic policy embraced by Obama while he was running for office, is dialing it back. Last week, he said he’d “almost given up” on the president after his pullback from the…

Obama to seek three year domestic spending freeze

Facing voter anger over mounting budget deficits, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to freeze spending for some domestic programs for three years beginning in 2011, administration officials said Monday. Separately, Obama unveiled plans to help a middle class “under assault” pay its bills, save for retirement and care for…

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