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Jordanian king and Abbas to meet

JERUSALEM - King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today in the West Bank in an attempt to push along Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Abdullah has been traveling the West and the region urging that Israel and the Palestinians make more rapid progress toward solving their long dispute with the help of an Arab League initiative. He has been arguing that the conflict only feeds extremism in the Muslim world and that time is running out before a new round of violence.

The Arab League has renewed its offer to recognize Israel in return for a settlement based on the establishment of a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders and a "just" and "agreed-upon" solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees from the 1948-49 war.

Israel has welcomed the initiative as a basis for negotiations, while saying little about borders and emphasizing that no Palestinian refugees will be able to return to homes in what is now Israel. - N.Y. Times News Service

EU officials back probe of mosques

VENICE, Italy - Security officials from Europe's largest countries yesterday backed a plan to profile mosques on the continent and identify radical Islamic clerics who raise the threat of homegrown terrorism.

The project, to be finished by the fall, will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language and their sources of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said after a meeting on terrorism.

Italian Interior Minister Guiliano Amato said Europe had extensive experience with the "misuse of mosques, which instead of being places of worship are used for other ends." - AP


A South Korean cargo vessel sailing in fog collided yesterday with a Chinese freighter and sank off China's northeast coast; its 16-member crew was missing.

Muslims and Christians battled with sticks, stones and firebombs Friday in a village south of Cairo, leaving at least 10 people injured, police said. The violence erupted when Muslim residents objected to suspected efforts by Christians to build a church next to the town mosque, officials said.

Russia said yesterday that it could not accept elements of a draft U.N. resolution on Kosovo worked out by the United States and European Union nations, maintaining its strong opposition to a Western-backed plan for the Serbian province's independence.