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Thursday, Oct 23rd

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Israel to Approve Flurry of West Bank Building

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of hundreds of new housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank in the coming days as a prelude to a building freeze of six to nine months aimed at restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, senior Israeli officials said on Friday.

The plan is an attempt to ease pressure on Mr. Netanyahu from within his own Likud Party, which wants settlements to continue unimpeded, and from Washington, the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Arab world, which want a total halt to such construction.

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India leader's helicopter missing

A helicopter carrying a powerful Indian politician has disappeared during a flight over a Maoist rebel stronghold in the south, officials say.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy's helicopter took off from Hyderabad on Wednesday morning.

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Pinochet purges arrests ordered

A Chilean judge has issued arrest warrants for 129 people for allegedly helping to purge critics of former ruler General Augusto Pinochet.

The suspects - the largest group so far to face arrest warrants - all worked for the secret police agency, Dina. They are accused of taking part in killings and disappearances of dozens of leftists and opposition activists.

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How settlements in the West Bank are creating a new reality, brick by brick

Today it is a city of more than 30,000 people, with red-roofed apartment blocks, shopping malls, a public swimming pool and ancient olive trees sitting on neat roundabouts.

The rise of Ma'ale Adumim captures the success of Israel's vast settlement project and the extent of the challenge posed to any future Palestinian state by the settlements and the often overlooked infrastructure of Israel's occupation.

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Christine Grahame: Al-Megrahi is home. And he is innocent

The release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber was long overdue, for the case against him was politically driven

I became involved with Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi quite by accident. Like many people I had been suffering from Lockerbie fatigue. For me, and for you, I suppose, life had moved on from that horrendous crime over 20 years ago and the imprisonment of the Libyan murderer. That was that. At least it was, until I agreed, by chance, to sponsor the showing of a Dutch documentary about the Lockerbie bombing at Parliament.

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Mexico Decriminalizes Small-Scale Drug Possession

Mexico enacted a controversial law Thursday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs while encouraging free government treatment for drug dependency.

The law sets out maximum ''personal use'' amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities will no longer face criminal prosecution when the law goes into effect Friday.

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U.S. blasts Israeli restrictions on American travelers in West Bank

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday criticized Israeli restrictions placed on foreign nationals entering the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge, calling the new regulations 'unacceptable'.

"We have repeatedly told the Government of Israel that the United States expects that all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship," a statement issued by the State Department said Wednesday. The statement added "we have let the government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact Palestinian and Arab American travelers and are not acceptable."

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