World Briefs / Israel PM blasts Palestine policy

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JERUSALEM -- Israel's prime minister on Sunday accused the international community of being too soft on the Palestinians, saying the world must understand that peace is a "two-way street."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his comments in the wake of heavy international criticism for plans to build thousands of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

He said that it was time for the world to turn a critical eye on the Palestinians, claiming the world had ignored Palestinian incitement and a refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

On Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu's cabinet also approved the reappointment of ultra-nationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister. Mr. Lieberman was acquitted last week on fraud and breach of trust charges.

President to stay past term

MALE, Maldives -- The president of the Maldives said he will stay in office even though his term ended at midnight Sunday in order to avert a constitutional void that could have arisen due to the postponement of a presidential runoff election.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan said his intention was to oversee the runoff now scheduled for Nov. 16.

The first democratically elected president of the country and the brother of a former autocratic ruler have qualified for the runoff based on the results of Saturday's election.

However, the Supreme Court postponed the runoff scheduled for Sunday, the latest in a series of obstacles in electing a president.

Frictions in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistan army on Sunday condemned a prominent Islamic political leader who called the Pakistani Taliban chief killed by a U.S. drone strike a martyr.

Syed Munawar Hasan, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, told a Pakistani TV station earlier this month that he thought slain Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was a martyr.

The army condemned Mr. Hasan's comments in a statement posted on its website, demanding he apologize.

Gaza hires spokeswoman

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- The Hamas government of the Gaza Strip has for the first time appointed a woman to represent it to the world.

The hiring of Isra Almodallal as a spokeswoman for the territory's conservative Islamist rulers is part of a long-running push by the group, which has at times sought to curb women's freedoms, to present a newer friendlier face both to its own citizens and internationally.

The change in policy began six months ago when a new head of the government media department, Ihab Ghussein, took over.

1 dead in strike, protests

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Opposition activists clashed with police and ruling party members Sunday on the first day of a four-day general strike amid concerns by businesses that the country will suffer terribly if the ongoing chaos does not stop.

At least one man died and scores were injured across the country as the opposition enforced the strike to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to quit and form a caretaker government made up of people from outside of mainstream political parties to oversee an election next year.

The latest spate of violence came after at least 18 people died during similar protests over the last two weeks as the opposition enforced shutdowns totaling 120 hours.


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