- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WEST BANK

Palestinians get new police stations

JENIN | Israel gave the Palestinian Authority permission Tuesday to open three police stations in the northern West Bank as part of a U.S.-backed security campaign meant to ready the Palestinians for statehood.

Washington sees the campaign as a chance for Palestinian forces to show they can exert control and rein in militants.

A Palestinian police official, Maj. Mohammed Tayem, said 105 policemen would be placed in the new stations in three villages near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. The policemen will be armed with assault rifles and handguns.

Israel had authorized the opening of some 20 Palestinian police stations across the West Bank. Hundreds of members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces were deployed in May in Jenin, long seen as a militant bastion.

Israel has said it will maintain overall security responsibility despite the Palestinian deployment.

IRAN

News agency punished for report

TEHRAN | A news agency was shut down for three days, accused of publishing “lies” about the possible dismissal of the central bank governor, one of its editors said Monday.

The Fars News Agency, one of Iran’s biggest, stopped running articles before noon Monday following the order from a supervisory media board.

The agency had carried a report Sunday evening citing an informed source as saying the Cabinet that day had discussed the possibility of replacing Central Bank Gov. Tahmasb Mazaheri.

PAKISTAN

Sharif brother to head province

ISLAMABAD | The brother of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has won an assembly seat in Punjab province, clearing the way for him to take over as chief minister of the country’s richest and politically most important province.

Shahbaz Sharif is a top official of his brother’s party, which finished second in a February election but won the most seats in Punjab, home to half the country’s 160 million people and the heartland of its political, military and industrial elite.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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