WASHINGTON

Bush: 10 months is ‘plenty of time’ for Mideast peace deal

With only 10 months left in his term and Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed over renewed violence, President Bush said yesterday there is “plenty of time” to get a Mideast peace deal before he leaves.

“This is a process that always has two steps forward and one step back,” Bush said after meeting at the White House with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. “We just need to make sure that it’s just one step back.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in the region this week trying to rescue peace negotiations from a low point.

With housing market slipping, Bernanke urges more loan relief

Battling a dangerous wave of home foreclosures, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called yesterday for additional relief and urged lenders to help distressed owners by lowering the amount of their loans.

“This situation calls for a vigorous response,” Bernanke said in a speech to a banking group meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Even with some relief efforts under way by industry and government, foreclosures and late payments on home mortgages are likely to rise “for a while longer,” Bernanke warned.

Rising foreclosures threaten to worsen the problems in the housing market and for the national economy, which many fear is on the verge of a recession or in one already.

DETROIT

GM, UAW get OK to form union-run trust for retired workers

A federal judge in Detroit has given preliminary approval to a settlement between General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers that would set up a union-run trust for retiree health care.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland made his decision yesterday after a brief hearing.

Cleland says the settlement is very impressive and praises the cooperation between GM and the union.

GM and the UAW agreed to form the trust as part of contract negotiations last fall, but needed court approval for it to take effect.

Workers and retirees will be given details of the settlement by March 28.

BAGHDAD

Military helicopter crash kills 8

An Iraqi military helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, killing an American soldier and seven other people, the U.S. military said yesterday.

The announcement came on a day that recorded little violence in Iraq. The country’s president announced he would visit neighboring Turkey, and the prime minister called for the release of a kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop.

The Russian-made M-17 helicopter was found Tuesday south of Beiji, about 90 miles south of Mosul, a day after it was reported missing. The Iraqi Defense Ministry said the aircraft got caught in bad weather.

All eight people on board the helicopter died, including the U.S. soldier, said military spokesman Lt. Michael Street.

An Iraqi air force official said six Iraqis and two foreigners were on board. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information, did not give the nationality of the other foreigner. Street said he was unaware that another foreigner was aboard the helicopter.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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