Monday, July 2, 2007


President to step aside for wife’s run

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine President Nestor Kirchner will not seek re-election, and his wife will run as the ruling party’s candidate in the presidential election later this year, a government spokesman said yesterday.

The decision ends months of public suggestions by Mr. Kirchner that either he or his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a prominent senator, would compete in the Oct. 28 election. Opinion polls show either would likely win.

It is not clear why Mr. Kirchner, a widely popular leader who has steered Argentina to economic health, would decline to run for re-election. Commentators cite theories such as exhaustion, health problems and a plan to compete again in 2011.


Government workers to get full paychecks

RAMALLAH — Tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants will be paid in full this week for the first time in more than a year, after Israel released millions of dollars in tax funds frozen during Hamas rule, officials said yesterday.

The transfer of the funds is Israel’s first concrete gesture of support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his battle against Hamas, which violently seized control of the Gaza Strip last month.

Dispensing the salaries allows the West Bank-based government to assert its legitimacy, disputed by the Hamas rulers in Gaza. Mr. Abbas appointed a new prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and expelled Hamas from the Palestinian government after the Gaza seizure.

The salaries will bypass employees hired by Hamas, including the 6,000 members of the militant group’s security forces. Security forces in Gaza were told that they would be paid only if they stayed home and refused to work under Hamas command.


Diana concert delights fans

LONDON — Princes William and Harry took to the stage at London’s Wembley Stadium yesterday at a star-studded pop concert that they planned themselves in honor of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 46th birthday.

The princes greeted an estimated 70,000 fans at the venue — and millions more watching the event live worldwide — to thank them for coming.

Security for the event was increased after the discovery of two unexploded car bombs in central London on Friday and an attack on Glasgow airport yesterday that involved a flaming Jeep Cherokee slamming into the main terminal.


Activist detained before U.S. honor

BEIJING — Security officials forced a high-profile lawyer out of Beijing in an effort to isolate him before a U.S. legal group honored him in absentia for his civil rights work, a fellow activist said yesterday.

Gao Zhisheng was taken from his Beijing home on June 24 to an unknown location outside the city, his friend and fellow activist Hu Jia said. Mr. Hu said he received a phone call from Mr. Gao yesterday.

No one answered the phone yesterday at the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

Mr. Gao was to attend the American Board of Trial Advocates award ceremony in Santa Barbara, Calif., Mr. Hu told the Associated Press.


State angry at virus name

KUALA LUMPUR — The state of Melaka is upset that scientists have named a new bat-borne virus after it, news reports said yesterday.

Australian and Malaysian scientists announced last week that they had discovered a new virus likely carried by bats that can cause respiratory illness in humans.

They called it the Melaka virus, using the name of the southern state where it was isolated in early 2006 in a human patient.

Chief Minister Ali Rustam said yesterday that the state does not want to be associated with the virus and called the name choice “an insult” to Melaka, which is a popular tourist destination.


Viking longship sails for Ireland

ROSKILDE — A 100-foot-long replica of a Viking longship glided out of a Danish fjord yesterday with 65 crew members determined to sail across the North Sea to Ireland.

About 4,000 people watched the Sea Stallion of Glendalough begin the attempt to relive the perilous journey that its Viking forebear made some 1,000 years ago.

The ship is billed as the world’s biggest and most ambitious Viking ship reconstruction. It was modeled after a warship excavated in 1962 from the Roskilde fjord after being buried in the seabed for nearly 950 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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