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Three new gestures by Israel appeared to ease tensions with the Palestinians:

• Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the army was prepared to withdraw from Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank if they remain quiet and Palestinian security forces work to prevent future attacks against Jews.

• Tax revenues amounting to $20 million were released to the Palestinians, with the promise of $400 million more when Israel is certain the money won't be diverted to militants.

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• Al Quds University in Jeru-salem and the office of its rector were allowed to reopen. They were shut July 9, allegedly for activities on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization in violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

An antigovernment protest by an estimated 15,000 Filipino leftists turned violent in Manila, injuring at least 16 people. Police responded to stone-throwing demonstrators outside Congress with clubs and water cannon as President Gloria Arroyo was delivering her second state-of-the-nation address, vowing an even more aggressive campaign against terrorism and crime.

Wednesday's scheduled statement to Parliament on the fragile peace in Northern Ireland by British Prime Minister Tony Blair or his designated stand-in assumed new urgency because of a series of shootings that killed one Catholic and wounded two other people. Authorities in Belfast appealed for calm but warned of a return to tit-for-tat violence after a militant Protestant group claimed responsibility for the death of a Catholic teenager in the city Sunday night. The first minister of the province's self-rule administration, Protestant David Trimble, set Wednesday as a deadline for British proposals to deal with the violence.

Too few members of parliament returned for an emergency session to OK early elections for a new government in Turkey. A ratification vote on the election appeared unlikely for at least a week. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit reluctantly agreed to a Nov. 3 vote last week. But when he backed away from that decision over the weekend, his largest coalition partner said it would withdraw unless the election was held in November.

CORRECTION: An item in this space July 12 inadvertently listed Argentina's capital as that of Venezuela. Venezuela's capital is Caracas.

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