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Obama goal: Keep Mideast from boiling over

A Palestinian man walks past a poster depicting US President Barack Obama in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 16, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MUSA AL SHAER

WASHINGTON: When President Barack Obama steps into the Middle East's political cauldron this week, he won't be seeking any grand resolution for the region's vexing problems.


Tunisian lawmakers set timetable for constitution, elections

Tunisia's Prime Minister Ali Larayedh meets with former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali in Tunis at the government palace in Tunis March 14, 2013. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS: Tunisian lawmakers voted on Friday to have a draft constitution ready by the end of April and hold elections by December at the latest, steps meant to rescue a faltering democratic transition in the country that launched the Arab Spring.


Qabbani insists on elections of Higher Islamic Council

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani sounded defiant Friday, rejecting the call by Prime Minister Najib Mikati and former PMs to convene the higher Islamic Council.


UK's Cameron disagrees with pope over Falklands

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron holds a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman

LONDON: The pope may be infallible to his followers, but not to British Prime Minister David Cameron.


Berlusconi seeks to move trials away from Milan

This Feb. 7, 2013 file photo shows former Italian Premier and PDL leader Silvio Berlusconi during a campaign rally in Rome. (AP Photo/Mauro Scrobogna, LaPresse, file)

ROME: Silvio Berlusconi's lawyers are seeking to have trials where he is charged with tax fraud and having sex with a minor moved to the city of Brescia from Milan, where they say he cannot get a fair hearing, legal sources said on Friday.