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Clinton: Israel must do more for peace

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Israel must do more to advance peace with the Palestinians or risk emboldening militant groups such as Hamas, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

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Clinton urged Israeli and Palestinian officials to do more to make tough choices and said the United States won't impose a peace accord on them, Haaretz reported Friday.

"We know that we cannot force a solution," she said. "The parties themselves must resolve their differences."

For Israel, the best weapons against extremists are taking part in the peace process and "bottoms-up institution building," Clinton said Thursday at the opening of a Washington think tank, the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.

Failure to lead will benefit "Iran's anti-Semitic president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and extremists like Hamas and Hezbollah," she said.

Palestinians also should work harder to promote peace by ending incitement, curbing corruption and backing off from incendiary rhetoric, Clinton said.

"Israelis and Palestinians alike must confront the reality that the status quo has not produced long-term security or served their interests, and accept their share of responsibility for reaching a comprehensive peace that will benefit both sides," she said.

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Iceland volcano could erupt for months

MELBOURNE, April 16 (UPI) -- The Icelandic volcano closing airports across Europe could erupt for months, a geologist says.

The volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted continuously for about six months two centuries ago, University of Melbourne earth sciences Associate Professor David Phillips told The Age.

That eruption, in 1823, caused a fatal glacial lake outburst flood.

The 5,466-foot-high, ice-capped volcano hadn't erupted again until March 20, scientists say. That eruption was relatively minor.

But a new vent under the central crater opened late Tuesday and began spewing ash, the Nordic Volcanological Center in Reykjavik, Iceland, which monitors volcanic activity in the region, reported.

This latest eruption sent a vast, high-altitude plume of ash across northern and central Europe, forcing the authorities to close airspace and ground airplanes to forestall potentially dangerous damage to jet engines.

The volcano is generating so much ash because it's surrounded by ice and water, Phillips told the newspaper.

"When you have hot lava interacting with that, it leads to more explosive eruptions," he said.

"Basically these sort of explosive eruptions generate a lot of steam and a lot of volcanic gases, a lot of very fine fragments, rocks and solidified lava. Airlines are very, very careful about flying around volcanic ash because they can severely damage an aircraft."

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Once the glacial ice around the volcano melts, the amount of ash emitted into the air will likely drop, Phillips said.

The ash cloud would probably dissipate within a few days once the eruption ceases, he told the newspaper.

An expedition team returning from Eyjafjallajokull found the eruption still going strong, with massive billows of ash thrust into the air, Oli Aranson, a meteorologist at Iceland's national meteorological office, told The Wall Street Journal.

He said the wind would continue to flow toward the British Isles until the middle of next week, although the ash could travel in a different direction if winds change.


Documents cover tape-destruction talks

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Just-released documents detail CIA deliberations, including legal discussions, about destroying videotapes of the harsh interrogations of two terror detainees.

Documents concerning the deliberations were released Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, The New York Times reported Friday.

In 2005, Porter Goss, who was the CIA director, agreed with the decision of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., head of the agency's clandestine service, to destroy videoed documentation of the interrogations. However, current and former intelligence officials said Goss did not approve of the tapes' destruction before it was done and was displeased that Rodriguez didn't consult him or the CIA's attorneys in advance, the Times said.

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In 2002, CIA operatives in Thailand videoed interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, two suspected al-Qaida suspects held covertly in the county by the CIA. Former CIA officials said Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed in November 2005 because he thought if they became public it would jeopardize undercover CIA officers legally and physically.

The Justice Department has been conducting an investigation into the destruction of the tapes for more than two years. Goss and other ex-CIA officers have testified before a grand jury hearing evidence as part of the investigation.


New York doormen threaten to strike

NEW YORK, April 16 (UPI) -- About 30,000 doormen and other workers in residential buildings in New York City are threatening to walk off the job as a strike deadline looms.

The Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ is demanding a new multiyear contract that the union says would provide pay increases to keep up with the cost of living, retain existing healthcare and provide enough money for training and retirement, the Washington Square News in New York reported.

"We take care of people, and we have to take care of our families," said Mike Fishman, the union's president. "We are going to do whatever we have to do to get a fair contract."

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On Thursday, thousands of union members protested on Manhattan's Upper East Side, chanting and waving signs reading, "No Givebacks, Fair Contracts."

Representing building owners, the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, pointed to persistently high unemployment and said it has to keep costs down after five years of decreases in rent collections and a 27 percent increase in operating costs, the Washington Square News reported.

"I really don't see how a strike helps the union member right now," board president Howard Rothschild said. "The unemployment rate in this country and in this city is out of control."

The building owners and the union, which had preliminary negotiations last month, are to resume talks Thursday and continue until Tuesday. The contract expires 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

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