An official Palestinian report claiming that a key Jewish holy site — Jerusalem's Western Wall — has no religious significance to Jews has evoked an angry response from Israelis, threatening to further inflame tensions over the disputed city.
Decades of archaeology have shown that the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, was a retaining wall of the compound where the two biblical Jewish Temples stood 20 centuries ago. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, is built atop the ruins.
The latest claim about the Temples, echoing positions taken in the past by Palestinian leaders including the late Yasser Arafat, underlined the deeply held, conflicting beliefs that must be untangled if a peace accord is to be reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
Part of the report disputes that the Western Wall was a retaining wall of the Temple compound, discarding centuries of documentation and archaeology.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev described the report as "incitement" by denying the historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Supreme Court said Tuesday it won't block polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs' extradition to Texas for trial on bigamy and sexual assault charges.
The court denied Jeffs' appeal and lifted a stay a lower court had imposed last week keeping him in Utah.
Jeffs, 54, is the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Southern Utah-based church practices polygamy in arranged marriages that have involved underage girls.
In court papers, defense attorneys argued that sending Jeffs to Texas before a long-running criminal case in Utah is resolved denies him the right to a speedy trial.
The Utah attorney general's office contended that Jeffs had no legal grounds to argue against extradition. In a response filed with the appeals court, the state prosecutors said extradition is a "power explicitly granted to the executive branch" and can't be decided by a judge.
Denver group wants Virgin church mural visible again after leaders built wall to obstruct it
DENVER (AP) — Some Denver residents are urging Catholic leaders to make a mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe visible again behind the altar of a church heavily attended by Hispanics.
The group called Faithful United is upset that local church leaders built a white wall blocking the mural about a year ago at the church in north Denver.
The church's pastor says he decided to block the mural because it "detracted from the central focus of the Holy Presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the altar."
Faithful United plans deliver a letter Tuesday to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP'-yoo) to ask for the wall to be removed.
The Virgin is Mexico's patron saint and is known as the dark-skinned Virgin of Guadalupe.
Federal court prohibits sheriff from enforcing Missouri flag desecration, funeral protest laws
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled Missouri sheriffs can't enforce state statutes prohibiting desecration of the American flag and protests near funerals.
U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton signed a consent agreement Monday. It was the second ruling in four months against the state's funeral protest laws. The American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that the case may be the first to challenge Missouri's flag desecration statute.
Missouri is among a number of states that passed laws restricting protests at funerals after members of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas began protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Church members claim the deaths are God's punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.
St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock pledged earlier this year to enforce the laws if Westboro Baptist members protested in his area. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in June on behalf of church member Shirley Phelps-Roper.
Temecula, Calif., city staff recommends building proposed mosque that has sparked protests
TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) — The Temecula city staff is recommending that a proposed mosque that has sparked protests gets built.
A staff report issued on Wednesday urges the planning commission to approve the nearly 25,000-square-foot, two-story mosque. The report says the mosque poses no threat to the "health, safety and general welfare of the community" and won't add significant traffic.
Opponents worry it will turn the town in Riverside County into a haven for Islamic extremists. Mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.
The five-member planning commission is expected to hear an application for the mosque on Dec. 1.
Jones, a former Razorback football player who parlayed his savvy in the oil business into ownership of the Cowboys, has adopted the Salvation Army as a special project that will give the Cowboys a national impact every season.
"Sports create a passion that may or may not be misplaced, but it's there," Jones said in a recent interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "It creates an interest factor and in our case huge visibility. Having the Cowboys' name associated with (the Salvation Army) and having the NFL's name — it moves mountains."
Since 1996, Jones and his family have used the Cowboys franchise to promote the church that targets the nation's needy. The effort gears up sharply as the end-of-year holidays near.
On Thursday, the Cowboys' traditional Thanksgiving Day game — a 30-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints — featured a halftime extravaganza focusing on the Salvation Army, complete with fireworks, flames, famous musical artists, children, cheerleaders and red kettles as big as hot tubs.
Salvation Army spokesman Maj. George Hood says the show has sparked an "enormous jump" in donations. The group's annual red kettle campaign took in $139 million last year.
Source: AP News