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By Ali Sawafta JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A senior Palestinian official said the United States was asking Palestinians to make security concessions in peace talks with Israel in order to silence the Jewish state's criticism of world power diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program. The accusations by Yasser Abed Rabbo, who joined Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, further clouded hopes of achieving a negotiated accord by an April target date. Kerry, who will return to Israel and the Palestinian territories this week, presented both sides with suggestions on Thursday about how Israel might fend off future threats from a Palestinian state envisaged in West Bank land it now occupies. Israel has long demanded that under any eventual accord it retain swaths of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as military control of the territory's eastern Jordan Valley - effectively, the prospective Palestine's border with Jordan.
Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal was slapped with a five-game ban for a knee to the head of Boston Bruins agitator Brad Marchand, the National Hockey League announced. The penalty on Saturday precipitated a scrum in which Bruins forward Shawn Thornton punched Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik twice in the head.