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France offers help with nuclear energy

France’s president offered Saudi Arabia help in exploring a possible civilian nuclear energy program as the French leader began a visit to the oil-rich kingdom on Sunday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and King Abdullah also signed agreements on oil and gas and political cooperation at the start of the visit. Sarkozy also intended to press the leader of the world’s top oil producer for lower prices of crude, which reached a record high of $100 a barrel this month, according to a French diplomat.

Sarkozy offered the king the services of France’s Atomic Energy Commission to explore the possibilities of a civil nuclear energy program in Saudi Arabia, the president’s office said.


Olmert criticizes existence of camps

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday declared it a “disgrace” that dozens of unauthorized West Bank settlements were standing four years after Israel promised to dismantle them, following pointed criticism from President Bush.

In a meeting with political allies, Olmert used the harsh word “disgrace” to show his determination to implement his obligations under the “road map,” the 2003 plan that serves as the basis for renewed peace negotiations, according to a participant who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Sunday, Israeli aircraft blasted a car in Gaza City, killing two militants, one from a group linked to Hamas and the other to Fatah, Palestinians said. The Israeli military said the two targeted militants were involved in rocket fire at Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that negotiating teams would begin tackling the “core issues,” including borders, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, at their meeting today.


Soldiers shoot, kill teen at checkpoint

Soldiers opened fire on a pickup that failed to stop at a checkpoint in western Mexico, killing a male 17-year-old, officials said Sunday.

The victim, identified as Victor de la Paz, was behind the wheel Friday when troops fired at his vehicle in the Michoacan state town of Huetamo, the Defense Department said in a statement.

A 19-year-old passenger was taken into custody.

Human rights groups have alleged abuses by soldiers deployed for more than a year as part of President Felipe Calderon’s nationwide anti-drug offensive.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.