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U.N. chief to meet Congo factions

Tue., Nov. 4, 2008, midnight

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he will meet the leaders of Congo and Rwanda to help resolve the rebel conflict in eastern Congo.

Ban said Monday that Congo’s President Joseph Kabila and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said they are prepared to meet with him. The secretary-general said he expects the meeting to be this weekend or early next week and is prepared to travel to Africa if necessary.

Ban said he was encouraged that Kabila and Kagame have begun a high-level dialogue, though they haven’t met in person.

Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda went on the offensive Aug. 28 and brought his fighters to the edge of Goma last week before declaring a unilateral cease-fire.


Israel ends aid to settlements

Responding to a surge in violence by militant Jewish settlers, the Israeli government has announced that it will halt direct and indirect state funding of unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank.

The move, decided on at a Cabinet meeting Sunday, indicated that government money still was being directed to the unauthorized outposts, some of which have roads, electricity, water and public buildings that have been paid for by the state, contrary to government policy.

There are about 100 unauthorized outposts in the West Bank, many of them makeshift extensions of established settlements. Under the U.S.-backed “road map” peace plan, Israel is supposed to remove at least two dozen of them immediately.

The Cabinet also approved steps to reign in violent settlers who have attacked Palestinians and clashed with soldiers in recent weeks.


Another officer gunned down

A police commander was ambushed by gunmen as he left home early Monday, becoming the 12th officer slain in the central state of Mexico in five days.

The spate of killings has claimed state and municipal officers in half a dozen cities and towns since Thursday. State authorities said the attacks appeared to be the work of criminal gangs that have sought a foothold for drug trafficking and other illegal activities in Mexico state, which hugs Mexico City on three sides.

Early Monday, Nestor Pena Sanchez, a state police commander, was sprayed by gunfire as he left his home in Toluca, the state capital, according to Notimex, the government news agency.

Meanwhile, authorities in the northern border state of Sonora reported the assassination of the state’s second-ranking police official.

Sonora officials said Monday that Juan Manuel Pavon Felix died after attackers fired guns and tossed two fragmentation grenades at a hotel where he was staying in the border city of Nogales the previous night.

From wire reports


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