Israeli leaders snub Carter during Mideast trip


Former President Jimmy Carter brokered the first Israeli-Arab peace deal, but he’s getting a cool reception in Israel during his latest visit to the Mideast.

Israeli leaders are shunning the globe-trotting peacemaker for planning to meet with Khaled Mashaal, the head of Israel’s archenemy Hamas, and comparing the Jewish state’s policies to apartheid.

A schedule released by the Atlanta-based Carter Center showed no plans for the former president to meet any of Israel’s key players: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni or Defense Minister Ehud Barak during this week’s visit, which began yesterday.

The only high-ranking official on Carter’s schedule was Israel’s ceremonial head of state, President Shimon Peres. The 83-year-old former U.S. leader held a closed meeting with Peres shortly after arriving yesterday.


Rowling going to court with Michigan publisher this week

Author J.K. Rowling is eager to tell a judge this week that one of her biggest fans is in fantasyland if he believes a “Harry Potter” encyclopedia he plans with a Michigan publisher does not violate her copyrights.

The showdown between Rowling and Steven Vander Ark is scheduled to last most of the week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Rowling brought the lawsuit last year against Vander Ark’s publisher, Muskegon, Mich.-based RDR Books, to stop publication of the “Harry Potter Lexicon.”

Rowling is scheduled to testify today in a trial that is sure to generate huge interest among Harry Potter fans and the public.


American Axle makes new offer to UAW members

Striking United Auto Workers union members are considering a new contract offer from American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. as bargaining continues through the weekend.

About 3,600 UAW members at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York went on strike Feb. 26 against the auto parts maker, which demanded steep pay cuts.

American Axle spokeswoman Renee Rogers says company bargainers gave the UAW a new contract proposal Saturday. She says bargainers were returning to the table yesterday.

The six-week strike has caused parts shortages that have closed or curtailed work at 29 General Motors Corp. factories, affecting about 39,000 hourly employees.


Olympic torch makes its lone stop in Africa

About 1,000 people cheered and marched with a team of 80 athletes and a Cabinet minister participating Sunday in the Tanzania leg of the Olympic torch relay, the flame’s only stop in Africa.

Officials have said that they do not expect any of the disruptions that have hit other torch runs in the world. Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, however, pulled out of the relay in Tanzania to protest China’s human rights record.

Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein lit the Olympic torch, passing it on to Cabinet minister Mohamed Seif Khatib, who led the relay team from the city’s main train station the main stadium.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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