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WORLD IN BRIEF: Karzai meets envoys of group linked to Taliban

KABUL -- President Hamid Karzai has met with representatives of a major Taliban-linked insurgent group in a step toward national reconciliation, presidential spokesmen said Monday.

Talking with the Taliban and other insurgent groups is gaining traction in Afghanistan, even as thousands of U.S. and NATO reinforcements are streaming in to reverse the insurgents' momentum. NATO reported two more service members were killed Monday in separate explosions in southern Afghanistan but did not release nationalities.

Besides finding ways to reconcile with insurgent leaders, the Afghan government is finalizing a plan to use economic incentives to lure low- and mid-level fighters off the battlefield. Regional countries such as Pakistan, India and Iran have begun staking out positions as the 8-year conflict nears an endgame.

Clinton: Israeli building hurts peace process

WASHINGTON -- New Israeli construction on land claimed by the Palestinians threatens peace efforts and undermines America's ability to help end the Arab-Israeli conflict, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a leading Jewish organization Monday.

Israel's recent announcement of new housing in east Jerusalem exposed differences between the U.S. and the Jewish state that others could exploit, Clinton said. Her remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were friendly, but contained a blunt account of a severe diplomatic breach between the close allies over what the United States sees as the provocative and shortsighted expansion of Jewish settlements and other housing on land claimed by Palestinians.

Clinton defended the Obama administration's strong criticism of a recent large housing announcement because she said it hurt attempts to launch peace talks in which the United States will be the intermediary.

British Airways strike enters 3rd and busiest day

LONDON -- British Airways and the union representing its cabin crew were no closer to resolving a dispute over pay and conditions Monday as a strike that has grounded thousands of flights entered its third -- and busiest -- day.

The airline said it operated 273, or 78 percent, of its long-haul flights and 442, or 50 percent, of its short-haul flights over the first two days of the strikes. It is yet to release details for Monday.