Filling in for GangstaFeelsGood again... here is the news as of high noon Central European Time.

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The International Hearld Tribune (www.iht.com)

Berlusconi Will Command Healthy Majority in Italy

Silvio Berlusconi, the conservative media magnate, won a strong victory in Italy's national elections and was poised to become the nation's next prime minister backed by a solid center-right majority in Parliament, according to official results released Monday.

Europeans Grab a Piece of the (American) Action
For American investment banks in China, politics has often been a handmaiden to business, enabling the more savvy firms to elbow aside their rivals with comparable credentials for deals.

Israeli Army Raids Become Routine
Mostly unnoticed and largely unremarked by the rest of the world, the Israeli Army has begun a campaign of quick, destructive and sometimes lethal raids inside territory held by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Student Suffers 'Winds of Cold War'
Rousted by police officers, who claimed they found a matchbox containing marijuana on him - drugs they planted, he would later say - John Tobin suddenly was ensnared in the spy craze that has seized this country under President Vladimir Putin, becoming the latest pawn in a geopolitical game of tit for tat.

A Question of Church and State
Within the massive Justice Department, some who do not share Attorney General John Ashcroft's Pentecostal Christian beliefs are discomfited by his daily prayer sessions, particularly because they are conducted by the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, who is entrusted with enforcing a constitution that calls for the separation of church and state.
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The BBC Online (www.bbc.com)

Israel tense for 'Day of Catastrophe'
After nearly eight months of deadly clashes, Israeli troops go on high alert as Palestinians prepare to mark Israel's birthday with protests.

Lib Dems' £10bn tax gambit
The Liberal Democrats unveil their manifesto promising massive extra investment in public services with the health service first in line.

Japan crown princess pregnant
An announcement is expected shortly that Crown Princess Masako is pregnant, possibly raising thorny succession issues.

Wife supports mercy killing
A woman whose husband killed their manic depressive daughter to end her suffering speaks of the anguish of looking after her.

Trapped man's 'remarkable survival'
A man is rescued from a disused mineshaft in Britain after surviving up to 11 days trapped underground.
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The New York Times (www.nytimes.com)


Justices Bar Medical Defense For Distribution of Marijuana
The Supreme Court ruled, 8 to 0, that federal law does not allow a "medical necessity" exception to the ban on marijuana distribution.

Man in the News: Berlusconi's Second Act in Italy
Promising that only he can truly change Italy, the media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi led the right wing to victory in Sunday's elections.

Even for Wealthy, Tax Plan's Benefits Could Vary Widely
An analysis of plans to cut income taxes shows that the biggest cuts would go more to the extraordinarily wealthy than to the merely wealthy.

Killings of Palestinian Officers Push Tension to Boiling Point
Israeli troops shot and killed five Palestinian officers early Monday morning, igniting Palestinian demonstrations in the streets.

Signs in China and Taiwan of Making Money, Not War
Despite the visions of war conjured by President Bush's suggestion that the United States could help defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, the social and economic integration between the mainland and the island is stronger than ever, and growing.
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Panapress {African news} (www.panapress.com)

Historic coelacanth fish filmed in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa- South African divers made history on Monday when they filmed a prehistoric coelacanth fish and beamed their images around the world on the Internet.

Ethiopia calls for creation of IGAD parliamentary union
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Ethiopian federal parliament's speaker Dawit Yohannes has proposed the establishment of the parliamentary union of member states of the Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) in the horn of Africa, the government press reported Tuesday.

Hard currency still abundant as Metical depreciates
Maputo, Mozambique- The Bank of Mozambique has insisted that the country faces no foreign currency shortage despite the continuing sharp depreciation of the Mozambican currency, the metical, against the US dollar.

Senegal's new National Assembly to convene soon
Dakar, Senegal - The new Senegalese National Assembly from the 29 April elections would be convened ""in the coming days,"" President Abdoulaye Wade announced Monday evening in Dakar.

Armed Forces call for restraint in stadium tragedy
Accra, Ghana - The Ghana Armed Forces High Command Monday appealed to the public to exercise maximum restraint and to control its emotions in the face of the Accra sports stadium tragedy that left 126 fans dead.

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China Daily (www.chinadaily.com.cn)

US: Chen Shui-bian's transit `private and unofficial'

The United States will let Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian stop on his way to and from Latin America, and the transit will be ``private and unofficial'', the US State Department said Monday.

WTO entry to promote free agriculture market
No matter when China joins the World Trade Organization (WTO), the trend to form a freer farm produce market is irreversible in China, which will have to adapt its agricultural polices, a senior agriculture official said Monday.

Powell: Spy plane row will be resolved in a few days
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday he expected the row over China's refusal to hand over a downed US spy plane would be defused within a few days.

China delays purchase of Boeing jets
China has delayed a billion dollar deal to purchase 30 Boeing passenger jets in the wake of a collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter, a report said Tuesday.

US, China to start tough missile shield talks
A US envoy said on Tuesday he would appeal to Chinese pragmatism in trying to convince the opponent of President George W. Bush's missile defence system that the plan is good for world peace.