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King Abdullah of Jordan’s ultimatum: peace now or it’s war next year
From The Times
May 11, 2009
Richard Beeston and Michael Binyon in Amman
America is putting the final touches to a hugely ambitious peace plan for the Middle East, aimed at ending more than 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Arabs, according to Jordan’s King Abdullah, who is helping to bring the parties together.
The Obama Administration is pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include settling Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, King Abdullah II told The Times. Failure to reach agreement at this critical juncture would draw the world into a new Middle East war next year. “If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months,” the King said.
Details of the plan are likely to be thrashed out in a series of diplomatic moves this month. Chief among them is President Obama’s meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, in Washington a week today.
Pakistani civilians flee Swat valley as major ground offensive draws closer
• Army orders residents to leave during lull in fighting
• Exodus prompts warning of humanitarian crisis
Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Sana ul Haq in Mingora
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 10 May 2009 23.03 BST
The Pakistani army ordered residents to flee the Swat Valley during a lull in fighting , triggering a further exodus of frightened people and raising expectations of a significant ground offensive against the Taliban.
Miles of traffic jams snaked out of the war-torn valley as tens of thousands of people fled using all available means, from donkey-drawn carts to rickshaws.
In the battlezone the army said it had killed another 200 militants, most of them in a strike on a training camp in Shangla district and 55 in Swat. The fight is being closely watched from the US.
Health Groups Vow Cost Control
$2 Trillion in Savings Offered Over Decade, White House Says
By Michael A. Fletcher and Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, May 11, 2009
Volunteering to “do our part” to tackle runaway health costs, leading groups in the health-care industry have offered to squeeze $2 trillion in savings from projected increases over the next decade, White House officials said yesterday.
The pledge comes amid a debate over how, or whether, to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, and Obama administration officials predicted that it will significantly increase momentum for passing such changes this year.
The groups aim to achieve the proposed savings by using new efficiencies to trim the rise in health-care costs by 1.5 percent a year, the officials said. That would carry huge implications for the national economy and the federal budget, both of which are significantly affected by health-care expenses.