Sep 23, 2011, 8:11 p.m.

Abbas stakes Palestinian claim to state at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the world body as a "theater of the absurd" and said only direct talks could deliver peace. Abbas handed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter requesting full U.N. membership, which the Security Council will discuss on Monday. The United States has vowed to support its Israeli ally and use its veto if a vote is held.

Israel PM: Peace impossible through U.N. resolutions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that he was reaching out to the Palestinian people but cautioned that peace could not be won with a U.N. resolution. "I extend my hand to the Palestinian people," he told the 193-nation assembly, shortly after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for full U.N. membership to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon despite Israeli and U.S. objections.

Yemeni forces attack main opposition camp

SANAA (Reuters) - The main opposition protest camp in Yemen's capital Sanaa came under heavy mortar and sniper attacks on Saturday, hours after President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned from a three-month absence, protesters and medical staff said. One witness said troops loyal to Saleh had carried out the assault and cleared thousands of protesters from the camp, the heart of an uprising calling for his overthrow. The report could not be verified.

Pakistan warns U.S.: "You will lose an ally"

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan warned the United States it risked losing an ally if it kept accusing Islamabad of playing a double game in the war against militancy, escalating the crisis in relations between the two countries. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was responding to comments by Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who said Pakistan's top spy agency supported attacks on the U.S. Embassy and other targets by the Haqqani network, the most violent and effective faction among Islamist Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Greece says not seeking new way out of crisis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece sought to play down reports on Friday that it was considering a solution to its debt crisis involving bigger losses for its banking creditors, while a fresh round of strikes gripped the country in protest against new austerity measures. Parliament is likely to approve the moves, which include unpopular new taxes, to secure the next tranche of the heavily indebted nation's EU and IMF bailout, avoiding a disorderly default that would rock the euro zone, political analysts said.

Japan finds rice needing thorough radiation test

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan found the first case of rice with radioactive materials far exceeding a government-set level for a preliminary test of pre-harvested crop, requiring thorough inspection of the rice to be harvested from the region, the farm ministry said late on Friday. The ministry said radioactive cesium of 500 becquerels per kg was found in a sample of the pre-harvested rice in Nihonmatsu city, in Fukushima Prefecture, 56 km (35 miles) east of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

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