- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

WEST BANK

Abbas threatens to fire Hamas government

RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday said he would dismiss the parliament and call early elections to end a political impasse with Hamas, but left open the possibility of a compromise with the Islamic militant group, Palestine Liberation Organization officials said.

Mr. Abbas announced his decision at a meeting of the PLO’s powerful executive committee, participants said.

Hamas trounced Fatah in parliamentary elections last January, taking control of the Palestinian legislature and Cabinet.

TAIWAN

Ruling party splits mayoral elections

TAIPEI — Taiwan’s ruling party narrowly won a crucial mayoral election in one southern city yesterday, while the opposition candidate won comfortably in the capital of Taipei in a pair of votes seen by many as a referendum for President Chen Shui-bian.

Chen Chu of the Democratic Progressive Party bested Nationalist Party candidate Huang Jun-ying by 1,120 votes out of almost 800,000 cast in Kaohsiung.

In Taipei the Nationalists’ Hau Lung-bin beat the DPP’s Frank Hsieh by about 13 percentage points with all the votes counted.

FIJI

Ministers sought in help-wanted ads

SUVA — Fiji’s coup leader ran want ads in local newspapers yesterday to fill vacant Cabinet jobs, trying to piece together a new government for the South Pacific country.

Army chief Frank Bainimarama has removed a swathe of senior civil servants, including top police officers, saying he is weeding out corruption entrenched in the administration of ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

“Applicants must be of outstanding character and without any criminal records,” the advertisements noted.

NORWAY

Nobel laureate battles state telecom company

OSLO — Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus forced a meeting yesterday with Norwegian telecom executives who, he has claimed, reneged on a promise to yield control of a jointly owned company in Bangladesh founded to help the poor.

The leading mobile phone company in Bangladesh with more than 10 million subscribers, Grameen Phone, is 62 percent owned by Norway’s state-controlled Telenor and 38 percent by Grameen Bank, founded by Mr. Yunus in the 1970s to provide micro-credit to his nation’s poorest citizens.

Mr. Yunus was in Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for his pioneering work in the kind of tiny, no-collateral loans that have helped more than 100 million people around the globe work their way out of dead-end poverty.

BOLIVIA

Latin leaders eye bloc similar to EU

COCHABAMBA — South American leaders agreed yesterday to create a high-level commission to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union.

The presidents and envoys of 12 nations wrapped up a two-day summit of the South American Community of Nations, hosted by Bolivian President Evo Morales in Cochabamba, a city tucked between the Andes and the Amazon in the heart of the continent.

The leaders agreed to form a study group in Rio de Janeiro to look at the possibility of creating a continent-wide union and even a South American parliament.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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