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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wound up her Middle East mission Monday, declaring that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are "moving in the right direction." But Israel's government appeared to ignore her warning that progress could be upset by new housing activity on land the Palestinians claim for their future state. After her departure, plans were announced for construction of 1,400 new houses and apartments in eastern Jerusalem and in the West Bank settlement of Betar Illit. Both are areas that Israel expects to keep under a final peace agreement.

By unanimous vote, Turkey's Constitutional Court agreed to consider whether the ruling party should be shut down for allegedly plotting to turn the nation into an Islamist theocracy. Such a finding could result in banning Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and other party leaders from politics for five years. The Muslim-based Justice and Development Party has presided over strong economic growth since taking power in 2002. But it's also locked in a feud with powerful guardians of secular society, led by military commanders. Above, a court official (foreground) briefs journalists on the decision to hear the case.


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