Abbas shuffles team as emergency ends
RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reshuffled his government yesterday at the end of a monthlong state of emergency that was declared when Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip.
Responding to a constitutional limit on any state of emergency of 30 days, which ended at midnight last night, Mr. Abbas swore in three new ministers and reappointed Salam Fayyad as prime minister after he formally stepped down, aides said.
That will put the government formed after Mr. Abbas dismissed its Hamas-led predecessor on June 14 on a new legal footing, though some lawyers argue Mr. Abbas' actions need approval from the legislature, which is paralyzed by the crisis.
BROWN DENIES SHIFT AWAY FROM U.S.
LONDON — BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN YESTERDAY DENIED A SHIFT IN FOREIGN POLICY AWAY FROM THE UNITED STATES AFTER ONE OF HIS CABINET MINISTERS TOLD A WASHINGTON AUDIENCE THAT A COUNTRY'S STRENGTH DEPENDED ON ALLIANCES AND NOT MILITARY MIGHT.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY DOUGLAS ALEXANDER, IN A SPEECH TO THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS ON THURSDAY, SAID WHILE BRITAIN STOOD BESIDE THE UNITED STATES IN FIGHTING TERRORISM, ISOLATIONISM DID NOT WORK IN AN INTERDEPENDENT WORLD. THE COMMENTS WERE INTERPRETED BY THE BRITISH PRESS AS SIGNALING A CHANGE IN THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S RELATIONSHIP WITH WASHINGTON.
A SPOKESMAN FOR MR. BROWN DENIED THE SPEECH MARKED ANY TURNAROUND IN POLICY AND SAID THE INTERPRETATION PUT ON MR. ALEXANDER'S WORDS BY THE PRESS WAS "QUITE EXTRAORDINARY." MR. BROWN TOLD BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. RADIO HE WOULD CONTINUE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH THE U.S. ADMINISTRATION.
U.S. ENVOY SEES NEW DARFUR BOMBINGS
KHARTOUM — THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT HAS RESUMED BOMBING CIVILIAN TARGETS IN THE WAR-RAVAGED WESTERN REGION OF DARFUR, THE U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR DARFUR SAID YESTERDAY.
"AFTER A HALT IN THE BOMBING BETWEEN THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY AND THE END OF APRIL IN 2007, THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT HAS RESUMED BOMBING IN DARFUR," ANDREW NATSIOS TOLD REPORTERS IN KHARTOUM FOLLOWING A VISIT TO DARFUR. "WE URGE THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT TO END ALL BOMBING IN DARFUR IMMEDIATELY."
KHARTOUM SIGNED A CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT WITH THE TWO MAIN REBEL GROUPS IN DARFUR, THE JUSTICE AND EQUALITY MOVEMENT AND THE SUDAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT, IN 2004, BUT VIOLENCE HAS CONTINUED.
PROMISED SHIPMENT OF FUEL ARRIVES
SEOUL — A TANKER CARRYING FUEL OIL MOORED AT A NORTH KOREAN PORT TODAY UNDER A DEAL BY SIX COUNTRIES TO SHUT DOWN THE COMMUNIST STATE'S NUCLEAR REACTOR, SOUTH KOREA'S UNIFICATION MINISTRY SAID.
NORTH KOREA SAID LAST WEEK IT WOULD CONSIDER SUSPENDING THE OPERATION OF ITS NUCLEAR FACILITIES AS SOON AS IT RECEIVED THE FIRST SHIPMENT OF OIL FROM SOUTH KOREA UNDER THE FEB. 13 AID-FOR-DISARMAMENT DEAL.
THE SOUTH KOREAN TANKER ARRIVED AT THE PORT OF SONBONG AT 4:00 A.M. ON THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF NORTH KOREA, A UNIFICATION MINISTRY SPOKESMAN SAID.
Peacekeepers probed in gold trafficking
KINSHASA — The investigative arm of the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has opened an inquiry into reports that Indian peacekeepers serving in this Central African nation were smuggling gold, a spokesman said yesterday.
The probe is focusing on an Indian unit stationed in the eastern province of North Kivu near the Rwandan border, U.N. spokesman Kemal Saiki said. Another official said Indian peacekeepers have been trading U.N. rations for gold with the Rwandan rebels.
The announcement came as the U.N. peacekeeping chief in New York, Jean-Marie Guehenno, discussed a similar but separate inquiry in Congo involving charges of gun and gold smuggling. She said it found no evidence of arms smuggling but pointed to the possibility that a Pakistani peacekeeper "may have facilitated gold smuggling."
She also said the United Nations was sending a management audit team to Congo immediately.
From wire dispatches and staff reports