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Top News Stories 2008-03-05 07:02:34

Front Page: No Return to Talks, China Increases Military, Kenya

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused yesterday to officially commit to restarting the suspended peace talks with Israel. Condoleezza Rice met with Abbas hoping to encourage a return to the table. Some Bush administration officials contend that his refusal gives Hamas, the militant Islamist organization, a victory by allowing it to stop Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. Meanwhile, fighting between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel continues. Palestinian medical officials said a girl less than a month old was killed in the crossfire.
  • China has increased its military budget by a substantial amount for the second time in as many years. The new budget is 17.6 percent higher than last year, at $59 billion. The Pentagon raised questions about the spike that came just weeks before a presidential election in Taiwan, the self-governed island where China claims sovereignty. A spokesman for the Chinese legislature said the build up does "not pose a threat to any country," but warned that the island of Taiwan would "surely pay a dear price" if they were to take steps China viewed as a declaration of independence.
  • More evidence has emerged linking the Kenyan government to the violence that erupted after December's elections. Kenya's current president, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe, met in his home with members of the banned Kikuyu militia. Witnesses spoke of non-Kikuyu homes being marked, apparently by the militia, then gangs with machetes attacked people who were from other ethnic groups. The Kenyan government is now trying to establish a coalition leadership to ease violence.
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