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State Dept. Rebukes Israel Over Settlement Construction

State Dept. Rebukes Israel Over Settlement Construction
Meanwhile, the Israeli’s government’s plan to build a new settlement inside the West Bank has drawn rare criticism from the Bush administration. On Wednesday, the State Department said the new settlement would violate existing agreements and harm future peace negotiations. Israeli officials say the settlement will house up to one-hundred families who lived in the Gaza Strip until Israel’s withdrew settlements there last year. Israel had pledged to freeze new settlement activity under the US-backed road map. Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad criticized Israel’s recent pledge to resume strikes inside the Gaza Strip.

    Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad: "We think that the threats of the prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert come as a constant policy for the Israeli government to continue their aggression against our people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but I confer that there is an agreement, it is an agreement for a ceasefire, it was approved by all Palestinian factions, and also by the government and we still believe that this agreement is alive and both sides should respect this agreement because it is interest for our people, and also we have approved as a Palestinian faction that we should work together and when we want to react we will react together."

Argentine Supreme Court Orders Repayment of Bank Accounts
In Argentina, the Supreme Court has ordered banks to repay the life savings of thousands of people locked out during Argentina’s economic collapse of five years ago. At the time, the Argentine government froze US dollar accounts and forcibly converted them to devalued pesos. On Wednesday, the Court upheld the government’s right to freeze the accounts but said account holders must be payed back at the current exchange-rate.

Ex-Interior Secretary to Work for Shell
Back in the United States, months after her resignation from Bush administration, former Interior Secretary Gayle Norton has taken a new job with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell. Norton resigned in March shortly after her department was linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. She will serve as a key legal advisor to Shell’s operations on public lands in the western United States. Norton’s Interior Department routinely dealt with Shell on issues including drilling in environmentally sensitive areas.

John Edwards Enters 2008 Presidential Race
Former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards has entered the 2008 presidential race -- one day earlier than he intended. On Wednesday, Edwards’ campaign inadvertently posted the news of his candidacy during a test-run on its website. Edwards had intended to make the announcement today during a speech in the 9th Ward district of New Orleans.

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