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Jordan pushes Palestinian state

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Amman, Jordan Jordan urged the United States and its diplomatic partners on Sunday to help resume talks aimed at achieving Palestinian statehood now that Israel has pulled Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation.

Jordanian premier Adnan Badran told Alvaro de Soto, the senior U.N. envoy for the Mideast peace process, that Palestinian leaders need the international community’s support for the next step in their quest for statehood.

Badran said the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – the so-called diplomatic quartet – can influence Palestinians and Israelis to resume talks toward a final settlement based on the group’s “road map” that envisions a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.

German candidates meet in TV debate

Berlin Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reminded Germans of his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and his challenger Angela Merkel focused on unemployment as the two squared off Sunday in a key televised debate two weeks ahead of elections.

The 90-minute debate, broadcast live during prime time, offered Schroeder an opportunity to showcase his television skills as polls give Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats a double-digit advantage over his Social Democrats. Polls found that the media-savvy Schroeder performed better – an outcome that had been widely predicted.

Vision problem lands Chirac in hospital

Paris President Jacques Chirac, hospitalized after suffering a small blood vessel problem that hindered his vision, is in good condition, walking and discussing the issues of the day, the French prime minister said Sunday.

The president’s hospitalization came as his party held its annual summer meeting, with the party leader, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, pressing ahead with his quest to succeed the 72-year-old president. But Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said any speculation that health problems could stop Chirac from seeking a third term in 2007 is “irrelevant.”

Climber retrieves remains of brother

Islamabad, Pakistan A famed Italian mountaineer retrieved his brother’s lost remains from Pakistan’s perilous Nanga Parbat mountain, 35 years after their conquest of the peak ended in tragedy.

Fellow members of the 1970 expedition have accused Reinhold Messner of having abandoned his younger brother Gunther, then 24, after reaching the summit of the world’s ninth highest peak, when Gunther was suffering altitude sickness.

The climb was to prove a turning point in Messner’s career. The Italian went on to make a solo ascent of Mt. Everest, and became the only man to scale the world’s 14 tallest peaks without using bottled oxygen.

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