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In our news wrap Tuesday, President Obama declared the Israeli-Palestinian peace process all but over, in the wake of pre-election comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he appeared to rule out endorsing a Palestinian state. Also, forces loyal to Yemen’s pro-American president fought to turn back advancing Shiite rebels, who seized two key towns before being forced to withdraw.
President Obama today declared the on-again/off-again Israeli-Palestinian peace process all but over. That's after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the final days of his reelection campaign, appeared to rule out endorsing a Palestinian state. Netanyahu has since backtracked a bit, but the president sounded unimpressed today. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What we can't do is pretend that there's a possibility of something that's not there. And we can't continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years.
Mr. Obama also played down reports of any personal animosity toward the Israel leader. He said the two have a businesslike relationship that — quote — "can't be reduced to let's hold hands and sing kumbaya."
On another issue, the president brushed aside a report that Israel has spied on U.S. nuclear talks with Iran. The Wall Street Journal said the Israelis acquired confidential information and shared it with U.S. lawmakers to undercut any agreement. Israel denied the report, and the president said Israel has been briefed on the negotiations.
Forces loyal to Yemen's pro-American president fought today to turn back advancing Shiite rebels. The rebels, allied with Iran, have already captured much of Northern Yemen. Today, they seized two key towns in the south before being forced to withdraw a few hours later. The rebels also entered a port on the Red Sea near a key sea lane for oil shipments.
There's word the Islamic State group has recruited at least 400 children as fighters in Syria in the past three months. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports the young recruits are under 18. One appeared in a video this month executing an accused spy.
In Nigeria, reports circulated today of another mass kidnapping by Boko Haram. This time, residents say the Islamist militants took more than 400 women and children from a northern town this month. Nigerian officials could not immediately confirm the account.
Actress/director Angelina Jolie revealed today she's had a new round of preventive surgery to head off cancer. She wrote in The New York Times that surgeons removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes after a blood test showed a possible early sign of cancer. Jolie had a double mastectomy in 2013 after learning she carries a faulty gene that greatly raises the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Republican Senator Dan Coats of Indiana announced he won't run for reelection next year. He's 71, and said in a statement it's time for the next generation of leaders. He gave up the seat once before, in 1999, to keep a term limits pledge. Coats has a solidly conservative record, but he was one of the few Republicans who wouldn't sign a letter to Iran's leaders this month protesting a potential nuclear arms agreement.
And Wall Street headed south on concerns about the strong dollar and weak utility stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 105 points to close just above 18000. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 13.
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