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Obama: First president to admit role in '53 Iran coup

President Obama Thursday became the first president to acknowledge responsibility for the 1953 CIA-led coup that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh.

"In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government," Mr. Obama said, alluding to the 1953 coup. Funded and egged on by the CIA, Iranian monarchists removed Mr. Mossadegh - who had nationalized a British-owned oil company. The coup reinstalled Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, an autocratic ruler who was subsequently overthrown in a popular revolution in 1979.

Until Thursday, the most senior U.S. official to express regret for the coup was Madeleine Albright in 2000 when she was secretary of State.

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Iran's Ahmadinejad wants to debate Obama at UN

His offer of to debate Obama could also be campaign posturing before the June 12 vote. But it does put Ahmadinejad on record as supporting a potentially groundbreaking encounter following Obama's offer for dialogue.

Ahmadinejad said that, if re-elected, he would be open to "debate global issues as well as world peace and security" during the U.N. General Assembly in September.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington.

On the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad ruled out talks with the U.S. He said Iran's stand is "crystal clear" and Tehran would only discuss the subject within the framework of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Israeli PM says Jerusalem will never be divided

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Jerusalem would "never be divided" and would remain the capital of the Jewish state, drawing an angry response from the Palestinians.

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Israeli troops kill U.N. truck driver at Gaza crossing

Israeli soldiers opened fire Thursday on a truck attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip, killing one United Nations-contracted driver and seriously wounding another, U.N. officials said.

The shooting occurred at the Erez checkpoint, the main entrance used by relief agencies to funnel badly needed food and medical supplies into Gaza, where Israel is waging a devastating, 13-day-long military campaign against the militant Islamic group Hamas.

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Blair awarded $1m prize for international relations work

Over the two years he has spent as Middle East envoy, Blair's optimism about the chance of bringing peace has run up against the old, familiar challenges of Middle East peacemaking. Shortly after taking the job he spoke of a "moment of opportunity." Since then peace talks have restarted and then halted, a new right-wing government has come into power in Israel while Palestinian factions have deepened their divisions, and the conflict has claimed hundreds more lives.

TVNL Comment: Is "prize" Hebrew for "payoff?"

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Israel begins new settlement, despite U.S. opposition

Israel has moved ahead with a plan to build a new settlement in the northern West Bank for the first time in 26 years, pursuing a project the United States has already condemned as an obstacle to peace efforts.

The initiative began three years ago, under the auspices of then-defense minister Amir Peretz, who promised to transform a former army outpost into a permanent settlement for evacuees from the Gaza Strip. The move was then frozen due to American insistence.

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U.S. Will Pay $2.6 Million to Train Chinese Prostitutes to Drink Responsibly on the Job

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job.

TVNL Comment: No comment!!!

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