2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Interim P.M. to follow Arafat lead NEWS IN BRIEF
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -
The interim Palestinian leader, Mahmoud
Abbas, told parliament yesterday that
he'll follow in Yasser Arafat's footsteps
and demand that Israel recognize they
"right of return" of Palestinian refugees,'
a hard-line position that has contributed
to failed peace efforts in the past.
were seen as
the start of
that he would
Israel con sid-
ers them deal-
our heart will
not rest until
the right of
return for our
- Mahmoud Abbas
At a memorial ceremony for Arafat
at the Palestinian parliament, Abbas
said he would walk in the footsteps of
the late Palestinian leader. "We prom-
ise (Arafat) that our heart will not rest
until we achieve the right of return for
our people and end the tragic refugee
issue," he said.
The "right of return" is a demand that
all the refugees from the war that fol-
lowed Israel's creation in 1948 should b,
allowed to return to their original homes,
along with their descendants. That refers
to a total of about 4 million people.
Israel has always rejected the con-
cept, offering compensation to refugees
and saying they should find permanent
homes in Arab countries or a Palestin-
ian state. Four million Arabs would
overwhelm the Jewish state, where
about 6 million Jews live.
Israel has consistently turned down
Palestinian demands on the other main
issues, as well.
Arafat held three top jobs - PLO
chief, leader of Fatah and president of
the Palestinian Authority. Immediately
after Arafat's death on Nov. 11, Abbas
was chosen as PLO chief. If he is also
elected as Palestinian Authority presi-
dent, he would be transformed from
interim leader to Arafat's successor.
Abbas served as Arafat's first prime
minister in 2003. However, he resigned
after just four months in power, frus-
trated with Israeli policy and Arafat's
refusal to grant him real power.
Thirteen members of the old-guard
Fatah Central Committee picked Abbas
as the party candidate Monday.
Palestinian Cabinet minister Qadou-
ra Fares, a Barghouti loyalist, said the
Fatah candidate should be chosen in a
much larger forum.
Allies launch offensive near Baghdad
Some 5,000 U.S. Marines, British troops and Iraqi forces launched a new offen-
sive yesterday aimed at clearing a swath of insurgent hotbeds across a cluster of
dusty, small towns south of Baghdad.
The series of raids and house searches was the third large-scale military opera-
tion this month aimed at suppressing Iraq's Sunni Muslim insurgency ahead of
crucial elections set for Jan. 30.
The assault aims to stem an increase of violence in an area that has been notori-
ous for months as a danger zone. Car bombings, rocket attacks and ambushes have
surged in recent weeks - likely in part due to guerrillas who slipped out of the
militant stronghold of Fallujah, according to commanders.
Despite the series of offensives, violence continued unabated. Masked gunmen U
shot to death a Sunni cleric yesterday in the second such attack against a member
of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, which has called for a boycott
of the national elections.
The cleric, Sheik Ghalib Ali al-Zuhairi, was killed as he left a mosque after
dawn prayers in the town of Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police said.
The tradi- Prime Minister
ship of Fatah
- dominated by contemporaries of
the 69-year-old Abbas and Arafat, who
died Nov. II at 75 - picked Abbas as
the party candidate for president of the
Rebellious young Fatah members are
demanding a primary election, backing
Marwan Barghouti, 45, who is serving a
lengthy prison term in Israel.
Barghouti's wife, Fadwa, said her
husband would decide early next week
whether to run as an independent in the
election, set for Jan. 9.
Abbas's speech sent another signal
Mahmoud Abbs, interim Palestinian leader and chairman of the Palestinian
Liberation Organization, (center) presides over an executive committee
meeting of the organization in the West Bank town of Ramallah yesterday.
that although he is seen as a pragma-
tist and moderate opposed to violence,
there is no guarantee that he could forge
a peace deal with Israel.
During a one-day visit on Monday,
Secretary of State Colin Powell hoped
that successful Palestinian elections
could result in renewed talks on the
U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan,
which leads through stages to a Pales-
The plan has foundered because nei-
ther side carried out the initial obliga-
tions. That aside, the last phase of "road
map" negotiations would tackle the
same issues that have scuttled earlier
peace efforts - refugees, borders, Jew-
ish settlements and Jerusalem.
Abbas gave no hint of flexibility yes-
City-wide wireless plan faces hurdles
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Philadelphia's plan
to offer inexpensive wireless Internet as a munici- The idea of cheap, municipally provided Internet as a social
pal service - the most ambitious yet by a major leveler is particularly appealing to big city politicians. Dozens
U.S. city - has collided with commercial interests
including the local phone company, Verizon Com- of cities and towns have begun or announced such plans.
In fact, a bill on Gov. Ed Rendell's desk that could ried because hundreds of other municipalities provide enough to stem the outward flow of college graduates,
humble Philadelphia's ambitions began 19 months ago broadband service over cable or telephone lines. she said.
as a proposal drafted by lobbyists for telecommunica- The idea of cheap, municipally provided Internet But the telecoms industry, its business in turmoil
tions companies. as social leveler is particularly appealing to big city as such disruptive technologies as Voice over Internet
Regional and long-distance phone companies, politicians. calling turn traditional revenue models on end, calls
which sell broadband Internet to consumers and busi- "We looked at it as a way to be a city, literally, such public-sector projects unfair competition.
nesses, have in recent months intensified a national of the 21st century," said Barbara Grant, a spokes- In the past year, companies including Qwest Com-
campaign to quash municipal wireless initiatives like woman for Philadelphia Mayor John Street. "We munications International Inc., Sprint Corp., Bell-
Philadelphia's as dozens of cities and towns have either wanted to bridge the digital divide for residents who South Corp., and Verizon Communications Inc. have
begun or announced such plans - from San Francisco wouldn't have access to the Internet, particularly pressed for legislation in Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah
to Chaska, Minn., to St. Cloud, Fla. schoolchildren." and Louisiana that would extract concessions from
Telecommunications companies are doubly wor- Plus, the service could help make Philadelphia "hip" public-sector telecommunications ventures.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A cow
the Agriculture Department had sus-
pected of carrying mad cow disease
was declared free of the illness after
follow-up tests, officials said yesterday.
The announcement was a relief to the
U.S. beef industry, which is still trying
to recover from the nation's first case of
the disease last December.
Initial screenings last week had
raised the possibility of a new case of
the disease in the United States. But
a more definitive test at the National
Veterinary Services Laboratories in
Ames, Iowa, came back negative, the
After the initial screening, the Agri-
culture Department said it ran a "gold
standard" test twice, on Monday and
yesterday. Officials did not say where
the cow came from or why it was sus-
pected of being diseased.
Cattle futures trading ended yester-
day at 87.25 cents per pound on the Chi-
cago Mercantile Exchange, just slightly
below the 87.32 cents per pound it was
at the end of Nov. 17, the day before the
latest mad cow scare. In between, it had
dipped to nearly 84.2 cents per pound.
"We saw the market sell off and
then stabilize," said Bill O'Grady,
director of futures research for A.G.
Edwards & Sons, Inc. in St. Louis.
"The market had sort of expected that
the odds were high this would end up
being a false positive."
O'Grady and Gregg Doud, chief econ-
omist of the National Cattlemen's Beef
Association, said beef prices also were
affected by the heavy rains and snow in
parts of Texas. Doud said it was hard to
say how much the mad cow scare alone
had influenced the markets.
"We're already back to where we
were," said Doud.
U.N. hostages set free after four weeks
Three U.N. workers kidnapped in Afghanistan four weeks ago were released
unharmed yesterday, a day after a string of raids by U.S. and Afghan security
The release was a relief to foreign aid workers and U.N. staffers among Kabul's
2,000-strong expatriate community, under virtual lockdown since the kidnapping.
Large tracts of the country are already off-limits to relief workers because of a
stubborn Taliban-led insurgency.
Philippine diplomat Angelito Nayan, British-Irish citizen Annetta Flanigan and
Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo were seized at gunpoint from a U.N. vehicle on Oct. 28
They were first foreigners abducted in the Afghan capital since the Taliban fell three
years ago, and their abductions raised fears that the Afghan capital could become prey
to the kind of deadly kidnappings by insurgents that have plagued Iraq.
"They are out," U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said. "I'm told they
are in good spirits and they seem to be fine."
Ukraine president calls for talks amid protest
President Leonid Kuchma called for all sides to negotiate in Ukraine's spiraling
political crisis yesterday, hours after the opposition leader declared himself winner of a
disputed presidential election to the approval of tens of thousands of street protesters.
A top opposition figure accepted the outgoing president's proposal, the Interfax
news agency reported. "We now have decided to give the possibility to Kuchma to
form proposals for talks," Yuliya Tymoshenko said, according to Interfax. It was
not immediately clear when the talks might take place.
The startling development in the three-day standoff came as the Bush admin-
istration urged the Ukrainian government not to certify results of Sunday's runoff
election results that showed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, backed by Kuch-
ma, defeating the Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko.
Report urges group cooperation to fight AIDS
The women's rights movement and the AIDS movement must come together if
the world is to ultimately win the fight against HIV, the United Nations said in a
report released yesterday.
Women and girls in the developing world are increasingly becoming the main
victims of AIDS, but current safe-sex prevention strategies are of little use to the
millions who don't have the power to say no to sex or to insist on condom use.
The inequality women face - from poverty and stunted education, to rape and
denial of women's inheritance and property rights - is a major obstacle to victory over
the virus, according to the latest global HIV status report published by UNAIDS.
- Compiled from Daily wire repQrts
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