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While U Slept. The Big Five Overnight Stories. Wednesday, March 10

March 10, 2010

SWEDISH PAPERS REPUBLISH MUHAMMAD CARTOON BY TARGET OF DEATH PLOTS Swedish dailies stand behind cartoonist allegedly targeted by Muslim radicals, including seven arrested in Ireland. A 46-year-old female convert from Philadelphia who calls herself “Jihad Jane” may have also been plotting against Lars Vilk, whose 2007 cartoon showed Muslim prophet with a dead dog. (Guardian)

PALESTINIAN AND U.S. LEADERS  ANGRY OVER ISRAELI HOUSING ANNOUNCEMENT After US Vice President Joe Biden used unusually strong language to condemn plans for 1,600 housing units in disputed East Jerusalem, Palestinian Prime Minister insists that Israel makes it impossible to reopen peace talks. Israel Cabinet Minister apologizes to Biden for “blunder” of the announcement. (WashPost)

TOP EGYPTIAN CLERIC DIES, LOSS FOR MUSLIM MODERATES Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, grand sheik of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the theological center of Sunni Islam, died Wednesday of a heart attack during a visit to Saudi Arabia. He was 81. Tantawi’s support of women’s rights and other more progressive views made him a target of traditionalists. (AP)

GERMANY REACTS TO WIDENING CHURCH SEX ABUSE SCANDAL As the Vatican tries to quiet uproar of revelations,including alleged abuse by a priest in the choir that the Pope’s brother once led, anger is growing across Benedict XVI’s native Germany. (Der Spiegel press review)

EUROPEAN ANTITRUST MOVES TOWARD MAJOR AIRLINE ALLIANCE European regulators offer initial OK for British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia to expand partnership. Virgin Airlines and others strongly oppose the deal. (NYT)

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