Pales­tini­ans, Is­raeli troops clash in teens search

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

BAGH­DAD (AP) — With the coun­try in tur­moil, ri­vals of Iraq’s Shi­ite prime min­is­ter are mount­ing a cam­paign to force him out of of­fice, with some angling for sup­port from Western back­ers and re­gional heavy­weights.

On Thurs­day, their ef­fort re­ceived a mas­sive boost from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

The U.S. leader stopped short of call­ing for Nouri al-Ma­liki to re­sign, say­ing “it’s not our job to choose Iraq’s lead­ers.” But, his care­fully worded com­ments did all but that.

“Only lead­ers that can gov­ern with an in­clu­sive agenda are go­ing to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people to­gether and help them through this cri­sis,” Obama de­clared at the White House.

“We’ve said pub­licly, that whether he (al-Ma­liki) is prime min­is­ter or any other leader as­pires to lead the coun­try, that there has to be an agenda in which Sunni, Shi­ite and Kurd all feel that they have the op­por­tu­nity to ad­vance their in­ter­est through the po­lit­i­cal process,” the pres­i­dent said.

An “in­clu­sive agenda” has not been high on the pri­or­i­ties of al-Ma­liki, whose cred­i­bil­ity as an able leader suf­fered a se­ri­ous set­back when Sunni mil­i­tants of the al-Qaida-in­spired Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant launched a light­ning of­fen­sive last week that swal­lowed up a large chunk of north­ern Iraq, to­gether with the na­tion’s sec­ond city, Mo­sul.

Al-Ma­liki, who rose from rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity to of­fice in 2006, when Iraq’s sec­tar­ian blood­let­ting be­gan to spi­ral out of con­trol, quickly be­came known for a tough hand, work­ing in al­liance with Amer­i­can forces in the coun­try since the 2003 in­va­sion that top­pled Sad­dam Hus­sein.

Over the years that fol­lowed, Sunni tribes backed by the Amer­i­cans rose up to fight al-Qaida-linked mil­i­tants, while al-Ma­liki showed a readi­ness to rein in Shi­ite mili­ti­a­men — and by 2008, the vi­o­lence had eased.

Since the with­drawal of Amer­i­can forces in late 2011, how­ever, it has swelled again, stoked in part by al-Ma­liki him­self.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Is­raeli soldiers clashed with Pales­tini­ans dur­ing an ar­rest raid early Thurs­day in the most vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion so far in the week­long search for three miss­ing Is­raeli teens be­lieved to have been ab­ducted in the West Bank.

The mil­i­tary said about 300 Pales­tini­ans took to the streets when the soldiers en­tered the West Bank town of Jenin overnight. Some opened fire while oth­ers threw ex­plo­sive de­vices or rocks at the soldiers, who re­sponded with live fire, it said. There were no se­ri­ous in­juries re­ported on ei­ther side. Is­rael has blamed the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group Ha­mas for the ap­par­ent ab­duc­tions, with­out pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence, and has launched a wide­spread crack­down on the group, ar­rest­ing scores of mem­bers while con­duct­ing a fever­ish man­hunt for the miss­ing youths.

Ha­mas has praised the ab­duc­tion of the teenagers, but has not claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for it.

The cri­sis has es­ca­lated al­ready height­ened ten­sions be­tween Is­rael and the new Pales­tinian govern­ment, which is headed by Western-backed Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas but sup­ported by Ha­mas. Is­rael along with the West, con­sid­ers Ha­mas a ter­ror­ist group be­cause of its long his­tory of at­tacks on Is­raeli civil­ians. Ha­mas has ab­ducted Is­raelis be­fore.

NEW DELHI (AP) — For the past two weeks, the top civil ser­vants in In­dia’s labyrinthine bu­reau­cracy have been sent back to school.

Grad­u­ate de­grees are com­mon­place in this crowd. Plenty have diplo­mas from Ox­ford, Cam­bridge or Har­vard, and most were raised speak­ing English — the lan­guage used in most of­fi­cial documents and cor­re­spon­dence in In­dia.

But these days, they are spend­ing their evenings fran­ti­cally look­ing up words af­ter new Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi de­clared that all of­fi­cial documents must be writ­ten in Hindi, spo­ken by hun­dreds of mil­lions across north­ern In­dia. While many bu­reau­crats speak the lan­guage, few know the for­mal phrases needed for of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“It’s un­be­liev­able how much time I spend ri­fling through the Hindi dic­tio­nary,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named for fear be­ing seen as crit­i­ciz­ing the new govern­ment. “A sim­ple let­ter now takes me ages.”

Modi’s cam­paign prom­ises in­cluded a vow to crack the whip on Delhi’s gar­gan­tuan and slow-mov­ing bu­reau­cracy, but the lan­guage shift is also clearly part of an out­sider’s at­tempt to etch his own im­print on the po­lit­i­cal cul­ture of the In­dian cap­i­tal.

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