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Barak says all options are open on Iran

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's defense minister warned Monday that as long as Iran poses a threat to Israel with its nuclear program, all options are on the table, a reference to a possible Israeli attack.

Ehud Barak was speaking before the Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Israel and the West suspect Iran is trying obtain nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Barak said, "I believe it is well understood in Washington, D.C., as well as in Jerusalem that as long as there is an existential threat to our people, all options to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons should remain on the table."

His remarks come as a steadily growing chorus of Israeli ex-security officials speak out against an Israeli strike on Iran. Former internal security chief Yuval Diskin recently caused an uproar when he said the government is misleading the public on the level of effectiveness of a military strike.


Moderate Islamist wins unlikely allies

CAIRO (AP) -- A moderate Islamist campaigning to be Egypt's next president has won the support of some unlikely allies -- the country's most conservative religious groups, including former militant jihadists.

Their backing reflects the growing mistrust by many Islamists of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, the would-be flagbearer for the religious vote. And it has made Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh a front-runner with an unusual coalition that includes secular liberals and even some Christians along with hard-line Islamists.

"He (Abolfotoh) will be a president for all Egyptians," Wael Ghonim, an icon of the youthful revolutionaries behind the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year, wrote on his Twitter account Monday. "He will bring us together, not divide us."

Before he was thrown out last year, Abolfotoh was a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood -- now Egypt's most powerful political force. He earned the reputation as a moderate reformer within the Islamic fundamentalist group.

The May 23-24 presidential election will answer the persistent question of whether the popular uprising that toppled Mubarak has actually transformed Egypt from autocratic rule to a functioning democracy.


Destruction of yacht in race called a mystery

ENSENADA, Mexico (AP) -- The wife of a yachtsman killed with two others during a 124-mile race between California and Mexico said Monday that her husband was a veteran sailor and the destruction of their boat is a mystery.

Leslie Rudolph of Manhattan Beach confirmed that Kevin Rudolph, 53, was the third sailor who died in the weekend race between Newport Beach and Ensenada.

The others were William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Calif., and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla. A fourth sailor was missing.

Wreckage of the yacht Aegean was found Saturday near the Mexican border and there is speculation that a freighter or other large boat hit it in the middle of the night. No distress signals were sent. In addition to yachting, Rudolph sponsored robotics competitions, and loved to cook, fish and play the harmonica in a band, his wife said.

"He just loved life," she said.

It was California's second deadly yacht race accident in a month. A boat smashed into rocks and capsized during a race off Northern California two weeks ago.