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Peace Process in Shambles As 22 Israelis & Palestinians Die

The Israel-Palestinians peace process took another major blow yesterday as Hamas carried out two suicide bombings killing 15 and Israeli forces killed at least seven Palestinians. The day of violence began in Hebron where Israeli forces killed three including a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by a tank. Later in the day a pair of suicide bombs went off five hours apart. One hit at a crowded bus stop near a Tel Aviv military based. Eight Israelis died. The other exploded outside a late night café in Jerusalem killing seven. Dozens were wounded in the attacks. Among those killed in Jerusalem was a doctor who headed the emergency room where many of the wounded were taken. The doctor David Appelbaum, was in the café with his daughter Nava, on the eve of her wedding. They both died.

The violence continued this morning when Israeli warplanes destroyed the home of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar. While he survived the assassination attempt, his son and bodyguard died in the attack. The Associated Press reports the bombing marked the first time Israeli forces attacked a Hamas leader in his home.

After the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut short his trip to India to return. The Israeli cabinet is meeting today to decide whether to launch a major invasion of Gaza or to expel Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat.

Dean & Lieberman Clash Over U.S.-Israeli Relations And last night at a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Conn. Senator Joseph Lieberman clashed over Dean’s recent comment that the U.S. should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dean backed his statement up last night saying it is the only way for the U.S. to be a "credible negotiator" in the peace talks. Lieberman lashed back saying "Howard Dean’s statements, break a 50-year record in which presidents, Republican and Democrat, members of Congress of both parties, have supported our relationship with Israel based on shared values and common strategic interests." In response to Lieberman’s criticism, Dean responded, "It doesn’t help, Joe, to demagogue this issue."

Dean had been previously criticized by some for taking a hardline stance on Israel. When asked by the Forward, a Jewish weekly in New York whether his views were closer to the group Americans For Peace Now or the pro-Sharon American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Dean said "my view is closer to AIPAC’s view." In addition, in August Dean named the former head of AIPAC, Steven Grossman, to a top campaign post.

Senators Grill Wolfowitz & Myers Over Iraq During four hours of intense questioning from Senators, Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and General Richard Myers, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, yesterday admitted they could not say how long U.S. troops would have to remain in Iraq or when international troops would arrive to relieve the U.S. forces.

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia reiterated his opposition to the war saying "This is a war we should never have fought.’" On the request for $78 billion Byrd said "Congress is not an ATM."

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan added, "This huge sum is a bitter pill for the American people to swallow."

Republican Sen. Charles Hagel of Nebraska criticized the lack of postwar planning and raised the possibility that Bush should fire some of the high-profile war planners. Hagel said "This business is all about accountability. Cabinet members are accountable."

The questioning came on the same day that a car bomb exploded outside a U.S. intelligence office in Northern Iraq killing three Iraqis and injuring almost 50 people including six Americans. And near Baghdad a U.S. soldier died last night after a bomb exploded near his vehicle. The death was the first reported by the U.S. military in eight days.

House Approves D.C. Voucher Plan By a one vote margin, the Republican-led House of Representatives last night approved a school voucher program for Washington D.C. If approved by the Senate it would become the nation’s first federally funded program to give students public grants to attend private schools.

Judge: Airlines Can Be Sued Over 9/11 A federal judge ruled yesterday that victims of the Sept. 11 attacks can sue the airlines, the landlord of the World Trade Center and the aircraft maker involved.

Also yesterday a group of insurers announced they would file a $500 billion suit against Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and dozens of individuals and organizations that they claim are responsible for Sept. 11 attacks.

Catholic Church To Pay $85M in Sex Abuse Scandal In Boston, the Catholic Church has agreed to pay out $85 million in a settlement to victims of sexually abuse by priests.

Ueberroth Drops Out of California Recall Race This news from the California recall: Peter Ueberroth, the former baseball commissioner, has dropped out of the race.

Edward Teller, 'Father of the H-Bomb,' Dies at 95 The Hungarian-born physicist Edward Teller who was known as the father of hydrogen bomb has died at the age of 95.

Court: Italy Can Ban Genetically Modified Food Europe’s highest court yesterday held up the right of Italy to ban genetically modified food until proper testing could determine the food’s safety.

Four Aid Workers Killed in Afghanistan In Afghanistan, four workers with the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees died yesterday after being ambushed. Some said the Taliban carried out the attack.

Thousands Protest IMF in Argentina Argentina yesterday announced that it has defaulted on a $3 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund. The default comes after the Argentine President Nestor Kirchner refused demands of the IMF to compensate banks for the collapse of the value of the peso and to give utility firms the ability to raise prices. The BBC reports the demands were hugely unpopular among citizens who saw it as the IMF attempting to help out big business at the expense of the poor. Thousands of unemployed Argentines demonstrated yesterday against the IMF. One said, "Instead of paying the IMF, we should pay to improve our public health system, boost teachers’ salaries and end hunger in our devastated country."


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