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News Briefs

Israeli Police Storm Palestinian University in Jerusalem
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Armed Israeli police, with the help of a locksmith and a moving van, stormed into the administrative offices of the pre-eminent Palestinian university in Jerusalem Tuesday, closing the building and accusing officials there of working for Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.

Police sealed the offices of the university president, Sari Nusseibeh, the senior Palestinian representative in Jerusalem and internationally one of the most recognized voices of moderation among Palestinians, witnesses said.

“It was really scary,” said Dimitri Diliani, director of the university president’s office. “You’re sitting in your office doing paperwork and someone with an M-16 asks you to drop everything and show your ID.”

Israeli Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, who ordered the shutdown, told Israel Radio that the university represents the “long arm of the Palestinian Authority, operating against the law.”

The closure of administrative offices of the 6,000-student Al-Quds university was the latest in a series of Israeli shutdowns of Palestinian institutions and organizations operating in the mainly Palestinian-inhabited eastern part of Jerusalem, which was captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and subsequently annexed into Israel.

Carter Effort in Venezuela Fails
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Seeking against odds to defuse a swelling crisis, former president Jimmy Carter failed Tuesday to bring President Hugo Chavez and a hardening opposition together for talks aimed at resolving a standoff threatening to engulf Venezuela in fresh violence.

Carter’s visit was viewed by the Bush administration as one of the best hopes for lowering tensions, which have failed to recede since Chavez was briefly removed from office after street clashes last April. But opposition leaders, suspicious of Carter’s intentions from the start, refused his invitation to meet with Chavez in a bid to reduce tensions and open up the government to a broader range of opinion.

“There is a mix of opinions within the opposition,” Carter said during an afternoon news conference in the capital, Caracas. “The fact that the opposition declined my invitation to meet with the president directly is dispiriting.”

Carter is scheduled to leave Wednesday, the day before a scheduled anti-Chavez protest that has alarmed the government for its similarities to the march on April 11 that ended in Chavez’s brief ouster.

Some Leading Democrats May Pass On Public Funding in 2004
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Leading Democratic presidential hopefuls are contemplating a significant break with party tradition: Financing bids for the Democratic nomination with private donations rather than public funds.

George W. Bush pioneered the idea two years ago when he won the Republican nomination, and several Democrats wonder if they can follow suit in 2004. They hesitate, however, because Democrats historically have found far fewer donors willing to give $1,000 or $2,000 each. That will become a crucial funding level once the nation’s new campaign finance law takes effect in four months.

Bush’s potential Democratic challengers soon will face a difficult choice. They can accept roughly $15 million in public funding, but they would have to abide by spending limits which might leave them strapped for cash while Bush spends freely in the summer of 2004. Or they can reject the money in hopes of recruiting thousands of new, generous donors who can keep them competitive with Bush throughout the campaign.