UK finance minister Brown cuts Israel visit short

Gordon Brown, the British finance minister, was forced to cut short his visit to Israel soon after reaching Tel Aviv airport early Wednesday morning to return to London for a crucial parliamentary vote on a terror bill, Reuters reported. "Things have changed quite late," a Brown aide said. Tony Blair, the British prime minister, risks his first major defeat in parliament in a bid to allow police to hold terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge. Brown was to have toured Israel and the Palestinian territories to explore how the international community can help regenerate a regional economy heavily damaged by conflict. He was to have met Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.