- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2005

GAZA STRIP

Boycott threat delays re-elections

GAZA CITY — Palestinian officials yesterday postponed partial re-elections in the Gaza Strip to stave off a new crisis between Hamas and Fatah, sparked when the fundamentalist group threatened to boycott the vote.

Officials were forced to intervene when Hamas refused to contest the new vote in three Gaza Strip municipalities and one West Bank village, ordered after the main ruling Fatah party demanded a recount of May 5 local elections.

“We have decided to delay the elections until further notice in keeping with a request to avoid all problems on the Palestinian street,” said Jamal Shobaki, chairman of the local elections committee, from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

ISRAEL

News anchor upsets settlers

JERUSALEM — A well-regarded TV journalist has created an angry indictment of Israel’s settlement policy and occupation of the Palestinians.

Haim Yavin’s five-part documentary — the first part aired yesterday — prompted calls from settlers for his dismissal. Mr. Yavin, 72, has anchored the evening news on Israel’s public television channel since 1968, building an image as a dispassionate reporter. He commands considerable respect.

“Since 1967, we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, suppressing another people,” Mr. Yavin says in the first segment after listening to settlers insist that God gave them the land. “We simply don’t view the Palestinians as human beings.”

VENEZUELA

Lawmakers to press for extradition

CARACAS — A group of Venezuelan legislators is to travel to Washington next week to press for the extradition of airplane bomber suspect Luis Posada Carriles, the head of the country’s National Assembly said yesterday.

Venezuela wants to put Mr. Posada Carriles on trial for the downing of a Cuban airliner with 73 persons aboard in 1976. He escaped a Venezuelan prison while awaiting an appeal of his trial.

Now 77, Mr. Posada Carriles has been under arrest in the United States since May 17 on immigration charges after requesting U.S. political asylum.

BRITAIN

Blair backs crackdown on hoods

LONDON — Britain has a new public enemy: the teenager in a hooded sweat shirt.

Hoods, no longer just an adolescent fashion statement, lie at the center of a debate over what many, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, see as an alarming rise in bad behavior.

Mr. Blair says rowdy public drunkenness, noisy neighbors, petty street crimes, graffiti and vandalism are top priorities. He is backing an English shopping mall’s ban on headgear that obscures the face.

ITALY

Pope slamme dover fertility stance

ROME — Campaigners for a more liberal assisted-fertility program in Italy yesterday criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s backing for Italian bishops who have called on voters to abstain from a June referendum aimed at relaxing the stringent laws.

Among those who lashed out at the pontiff was Minister for Equal Opportunities Stefania Prestigiacomo, one of the members of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government in favor of a “yes” vote.

“It’s an unprecedented attack which is aimed at putting Italian democracy under the auspices of the Vatican,” said Daniele Capezzone, a leader of Italy’s Radical Party.

CANADA

Executive pleads guilty to fraud

OTTAWA — An advertising executive pleaded guilty yesterday to 15 charges of fraud related to a federal sponsorship scandal that rocked the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Paul Coffin admitted guilt ahead of his trial, scheduled to begin next week, in exchange for prosecutors’ dropping three other charges.

Coffin earlier testified before a judicial inquiry looking into the scandal that he repeatedly faked invoices and overbilled the government by thousands of dollars.

The inquiry is looking into accusations that the Liberals under Mr. Martin’s predecessor, Jean Chretien, received kickbacks from advertising firms to whom they had given millions of dollars in government contracts to promote federalism in Quebec to stem separatist sentiments.


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