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News Briefs

Confrontation Escalates Over Palestinian Headquarters LOS ANGELES TIMES -- JERUSALEM

Intense U.S. diplomacy and days of negotiations failed late Monday to defuse a confrontation between the Israeli government and Palestinian politicians over the Palestinians’ headquarters in East Jerusalem.

Despite warnings that the move could unleash a wave of violence on the eve of national elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered three Palestinian offices to shut down within 24 hours after Palestinians rejected Israeli demands that they curtail certain activities.

Netanyahu, in a tight race for re-election and slipping in the polls, has tried to make Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem a centerpiece of his campaign. He maintains that the Palestinians illegally use their East Jerusalem complex, known as Orient House, to stake out a presence in the disputed holy city.

Netanyahu threatened to use force if the Palestinians do not obey his order, but Palestinians warned of potential retaliation.

“I hope they do not try,” Faisal Husseini, the senior Palestinian official for Jerusalem, told a crowd gathered outside Orient House late Monday, “but we will be ready to confront them if they do.”

Medicare Patients Face a Limit On Benefits for Therapy THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

This year, an estimated 200,000 elderly or disabled patients will pay for a little-noticed cut in Medicare benefits that lawmakers tucked into the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

At the time, politicians boasted of simultaneously saving Medicare from financial ruin and adding popular benefits such as mammograms and Pap smears. Yet generally not discussed was that they also placed a $1,500 annual cap on physical and speech therapy combined, and a second $1,500 limit on occupational therapy.

As many patients are discovering, the caps kicked in Jan. 1, potentially impairing patients’ rehabilitation from illness and injury. Patients recuperating from strokes, amputation and head trauma, as well as those grappling with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, are exhausting their annual benefits and losing access to therapy.

Civil Rights Activists Protest Lack Of Charges in Police Shooting

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES -- RIVERSIDE, CA

National civil rights activists joined about 1,000 local residents Monday in a mostly peaceful rally protesting the decision by county prosecutors not to file charges against four Riverside police officers who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman in December.

Riverside police said 45 people -- including well-known activists Dick Gregory, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III -- were arrested in a carefully orchestrated demonstration that blocked the entrance to police headquarters.

“We want to let them know we are prepared to go to jail, to get the attention of the (state) attorney general and the U.S. attorney,” the Rev. Bernell Butler, a cousin of the slain woman, said on the police station steps as he awaited his turn to be taken away.

Tyisha Miller was shot and killed Dec. 28 by police who, responding to a 911 call, found her passed out in her locked car with a gun in her lap. Police said that when officers broke the window to grab the weapon, she moved for it, prompting the officers to open fire, striking her 12 times.