WORLD IN BRIEF: US wants to know more about new plan for Jerusalem

US wants to know more about new plan for Jerusalem

WASHINGTON -- Challenging Israel anew, the Obama administration demanded more information on Wednesday about a new plan to expand Jewish housing in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as a future capital.

It was another flare-up in U.S.-Israeli relations and surfaced as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu neared the end of a troubled visit to Washington.

Netanyahu offered no concessions on an earlier plan to build 1,600 homes for Jews in the disputed part of the city. Taking a hard line, he is insisting that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and not a settlement.

Pact to cut US-Russia nukes; signing in two weeks

WASHINGTON -- After long and trying negotiations, the U.S. and Russia have reached agreements for a historic new treaty to reduce the nuclear arsenals of former Cold War rivals, officials said Wednesday. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are to sign the pact in two weeks in Prague.

The deal is seen as an important step toward rolling back global nuclear dangers and sealing an increased level of trust and cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, who possess the vast majority of the world's nuclear arms and have labored under strained relations in recent years.

Taliban-linked group to meet with UN officials

KABUL -- Representatives of a militant group linked to an infamous Afghan warlord are hoping to convince U.N. officials today that it's the right time for a peace deal with insurgents.

Mohammad Daoud Abedi, a spokesman for the Hizb-i-Islami faction, said Wednesday night that the United Nations asked the delegation for a meeting, which follows talks that the Taliban-linked group had with President Hamid Karzai earlier this week.

He said the group also plans to speak with representatives from the European Union, but an official at the EU office said he had no knowledge of any meeting with the delegation.

Talk about possible reconciliation with insurgent groups, however, has not reduced violence, especially in southern Afghanistan where a major military operation is under way to rout the Taliban from parts of Helmand province.