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September 23, 2009 | Paul Richter and Christi Parsons
Urging that Middle East peace talks must move beyond a familiar pattern of taking "tentative steps forward and then stepping back," President Obama entered a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this afternoon with a series of handshakes and a call for "flexibility." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas clasped one another's hands for a lengthy handshake, as television cameras captured the first few moments of their three-way meeting with Obama.
September 20, 2009 | Christi Parsons and Richard Boudreaux
Palestinian and Israeli leaders have agreed to meet with President Obama on Tuesday in New York, a three-way encounter the administration has been trying for weeks to broker, the White House announced Saturday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Obama on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement. Each will also meet one-on-one with Obama.
September 3, 2009 | Richard Boudreaux
In a limited thaw of a frosty relationship, Israeli and Palestinian officials held their first high-level meeting in months today and discussed ways to bolster a promising economic recovery in the West Bank. The encounter was part of a shift by the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which had previously shunned contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government. That position was out of step with the Obama administration, which is seeking a compromise formula for bringing the sides together for a new effort to end decades of conflict.
August 12, 2009 | Richard Boudreaux
For nearly five years Mahmoud Abbas had moved timidly in the shadow of his charismatic predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat. His demeanor matched his somber dark suits, his rambling speeches lulled audiences to sleep, and his indecision led the Palestinians' preeminent political movement to defeat and disarray. Over the last week, however, a more forceful Abbas stepped forward. After cajoling the aging leaders of his Fatah movement to hold its first convention in two decades and put their jobs on the line, he fended off an assault by younger activists on his own record.
August 9, 2009 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was re-elected to lead his Fatah movement at its first convention in two decades, giving him a new mandate for peace talks with Israel, if he can also mend divisions among his people. Abbas, who succeeded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after his death in 2004, was elected unopposed, but the movement itself has lost its shine in the last five years. Its old guard has been accused of rampant corruption and nepotism and it has suffered military humiliation at the hands of rival Hamas.
August 5, 2009 | Richard Boudreaux
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opened his Fatah movement's first congress in 20 years Tuesday with a call to step up nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and to keep faith in peace talks despite years of setbacks to the dream of statehood. But he stopped short of renouncing a clause of Fatah's founding charter that prescribes "armed revolution" against the Jewish state.
May 29, 2009 | Paul Richter, Christi Parsons
President Obama and top Israeli officials staked out sharply opposing positions over the explosive issue of Jewish settlements Thursday, propelling a rare dispute between the two close allies into full public view just days before the U.S. leader is due to deliver a long-awaited address in Egypt to the world's Muslims.
May 20, 2009 | Richard Boudreaux and Maher Abukhater
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reappointed his Western-backed prime minister Tuesday, a move that aims to shore up Abbas' stature in Washington but dims the chances of reuniting the Palestinian territories and rebuilding the Gaza Strip.
March 24, 2009 | Robert Hilburn
Did ABBA ever make a bad record? For fans of the Swedish group's nearly two dozen U.S. hits, including ear candy like "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia," it's probably hard to imagine anything not being close to irresistible. Sure enough: a new, nine-disc retrospective from Polar Music lets us hear 90 ABBA recordings and almost 80 have at least some trace of the group's trademark effervescence. That's a success ratio level that few musicians can match.
February 8, 2009 | Catrina Stewart and David Nowak, Stewart and Nowak write for the Associated Press.
A British-based ABBA tribute band said Friday that the Kremlin whisked it away to perform a private concert for Vladimir Putin -- offering a rare glimpse into the private life of the secretive Russian prime minister. The four-member Bjorn Again band said it traveled 200 miles north of Moscow for the Jan. 22 gig on the shores of Lake Valdai to perform before an exclusive audience of eight people -- Putin, a woman and six other men in tuxedos. Putin's spokesman denied that the prime minister attended any such concert, but band members gave plenty of details and said they recognized Putin at the show.
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