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Abbas calls for Palestinian poll

Mr Abbas was speaking in Ramallah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held at the "earliest opportunity". He was speaking live on Palestinian TV after days of escalating tensions between Hamas and his Fatah movement that have raised fears of civil war.

Hamas, elected in January, immediately rejected the move as a "coup attempt".

Hours after Mr Abbas spoke, armed supporters of Fatah and Hamas exchanged gunfire in the southern Gaza Strip.

Several gunmen are reported to have been injured in the clash in Khan Younis.

At the end of a major policy speech in Ramallah, Mr Abbas said: "I decided...to call for early presidential and parliament elections."

He blamed Hamas for the crisis triggered by the suspension of Western aid over the group's refusal to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

The Palestinian government rejects this call for early elections and considers it a coup against Palestinian legitimacy and the will of the Palestinian people

Hamas government statement

Mid-East 'at critical moment'
Risky political move
Q&A: Palestinian crisis
Send us your comments

The Palestinian people were suffering from an economic siege, which had halved incomes, he said.

It is not clear when the elections would be held, and actually organising them is easier said than done, says the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Ramallah.

Many Palestinians say the president has no right to dissolve the government, while President Abbas insists that he does.

It will be up to the Central Election Commission to try to find a legal way of carrying out the president's orders, our correspondent says.

The current Palestinian parliament was elected in January and is due to remain in office until the end of 2010.

Strife

Mr Abbas said the best solution would still be to form a national unity government of experts.

But months of talks between Hamas and Fatah on such an administration have foundered.

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters rallied on Friday

At the end of a long and indignant speech, there finally came the moment supporters of Mr Abbas had been waiting for - a call for new elections. But the Hamas government reacted immediately, saying it was "a coup against Palestinian legitimacy and the will of the Palestinian people".

Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, said the call for elections was a recipe for internal strife.

"I think this will lead to bloodshed because this is something against the constitution. This is something which is not in his authority and I think the president by his call today became part of the problem, not part of the
solution."

Hamas members boycotted the speech by Mr Abbas to the Palestinian parliament.

Several Palestinian factions based in the Syrian capital, Damascus, also rejected the call for early elections.

In a joint statement, they said the move was unjustified and that Hamas and Fatah should instead meet again to discuss forming a government of national unity.

However the call by Mr Abbas was welcomed by White House officials in Washington and by UK Prime MInister Tony Blair on his Middle East tour.

'No conspiracy'

The past week has been marked by attacks, counter-attacks and mutual accusations.

Hamas blamed Fatah for a shooting that targeted PM Ismail Haniya on Thursday, but Mr Abbas, in his speech, denied there had been any conspiracy to kill Mr Haniya.

The shoot-out at the Rafah border crossing led to more clashes on Friday, both in the West Bank and in Gaza City.

Some 32 people were injured when Palestinian police loyal to Fatah fought Hamas supporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Egyptian diplomats based in Gaza have been trying to mediate in the current crisis.

They have stepped in a number of times before to calm the situation provoked by the chronically bad relations between Hamas, the largest faction, and Fatah but the current tensions are at their worst for years.


RUSSIAN SPY TURNED CRITIC OF PUTIN'S GOVERNMENT DIES OF RADIATION POISON.
London, England - Russia denies any connection to the mysterious death of a former KGB spy turned critic of the Putin's government, Mr Litvinenko. Britain has opened an investigation over the alleged radiation poison death on British soil, but many expert believe that is not going to be easy finding the evidence to link the mysterious death of the 43 year old Russian spy to the Russian government. The spy novel style poison occurred with the suspected agent polonium-210, investigators are trying to confirm the alleged use of this poisonous agent and then attempt to determine its source and those who were involved in the alleged murder plot. More >>


Niger Delta Impacted by 1.5 Million Tons of Oil Spill, Among Five Most Polluted Spots on Earth
Vanguard (Lagos)
October 31, 2006
Posted to the web October 31, 2006

Hector Igbikiowubo With Agency Report

THE Niger Delta has been impacted by 1.5 million tons of crude oil spill over the last 50 years threatening rare species including primate fish, turtles, bird and damaging crops while destroying the livelihood of many of the 20 million people living there and fuelling the upsurge in violence.

Experts have also listed the Niger Delta among the five most polluted spots on the face of the earth with dire consequences for the health of inhabitants of the area.

This was disclosed by a panel of independent experts who travelled to the increasingly tense and lawless region.

The experts who were representatives of World Wildlife Foundation (WW) UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the Nigeria Conservation Foundation drew the conclusion in a report they compiled. More >>

AMERICAN ANTI-TERRORISM HAS CAUSED MORE PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD
European initial passive and recent military build up is not helping neither.
By Michele Alliot-Marie

French Defense Minister, New York, USA October, 2006

A little bit more than five years ago, the New York bomb attacks shook the American and international public opinions.

Since then, places that are as distant from one another as Madrid, London, Rabat, Istanbul, Bali, Karachi, Sharm al-Sheikh, were the victims of such attacks. More >>


North Korea nuclear crisis steps up a notch

On Wednesday, North Korea told Chinese officials that they are preparing three more nuclear bomb tests. Reacting, China has sent officials to North Korea.
What is going on with North Korea?
North Korea has decided to flex its muscles at a time the United States is dealing with a war in Iraq, elections and political scandal. What to make of this? And, what should America do?
University of Minnesota-Morris professor of political science Seung-Ho Joo, is the author of “Gorbachev's Foreign Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula, 1985-1991: Reform and Policy,” “Korea in the 21st Century,” and he’s currently working on a new book regarding Korea too. Joo is also a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Korean Institute for National Unification. More >>


What Does Your Credit Report Really Say About You?
Consumer advocate says you may be surprised

When buying a car, renting an apartment, or even getting a job – a credit report is often pulled. What’s on that report may surprise most consumers. According to a study by U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, one in four people have mistakes on their credit report. These mistakes have cost jobs, rejected loans, and ruined many people’s lives.

“Credit is connected to our lives in every area and our scores determine our interest rates, insurance premiums and very livelihoods,” says Denise Richardson, consumer advocate and author of the new release Give Me Back My Credit! “We need to expose the high price consumers are paying for dirty data in order to fix a system gone terribly wrong.” More >>

Who’s Raising Our Children – Parents or Child Care Providers?
Children’s author eases the fears of child care for parents and children

Childcare workers in America held 1.3 million jobs in 2004, and that number is expected to increase 27-percent over all other occupations by 2014 according to Department of Labor.

Today, preschool children often spend much of their time in the care of someone other than their mother or father. In fact, many children are in childcare from 9 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week before they are a year old. For many this continues until they enter kindergarten. More >>

WE SHOULD BEGIN TO THINK
October 13, 2006
By Phillip Emeagwali

I once believed that capital was another word for money, the accumulated wealth of a country or its people. Surely, I thought, wealth is determined by the money or property in one's possession. Then I saw a Deutsche Bank advertisement in the Wall Street Journal that proclaimed: "Ideas are capital. The rest is just money."
I was struck by the simplicity of such an eloquent and forceful idea. I started imagining what such power meant for Africa. The potential for progress and poverty alleviation in Africa relies on capital generated from the power within our minds, not from our ability to pick minerals from the ground or seek debt relief and foreign assistance. If ideas are capital, why is Africa investing more on things than on information, and more on the military than on education? Suddenly, I realized what this idea could mean for Africa. More >>


SETTLEMENT OF CONSPIRACY CASE FORCES
MAJOR RESTRUCTURING OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG-PRICING SYSTEM

Up to $4 Billion in Rx Drug Savings Expected

Boston, MA, October 6 — The Prescription Access Litigation Project (PAL) today announced a groundbreaking settlement in a nationwide class-action lawsuit brought by PAL members New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund and AFSCME District Council 37 Health and Security Plan against First Databank, Inc., the most widely-used publisher of prescription drug prices in the United States. The milestone settle! ment is forecasted to result in a 4 percent rollback of prices on hundreds of drugs which represent 95 percent of the nation’s retail branded drug sales. The net impact will be a staggering $4 billion in savings for health plans which have been overcharged for prescription drugs. More >>


Vimo Report On Tax Benefits of Health Savings Accounts

Mountain View, California – October 4, 2006 – Vimo.com, the Internet’s leading healthcare comparison-shopping site, published a research report today that reveals wide disparity amongst the fees that HSA Banks charge their customers. The study also finds little correlation between high fees and high returns in HSAs, underlining the need for consumers to educate themselves and “shop around” before purchasing a new Health Savings Account. Higher fee structures appear to be correlated to higher service levels, and this will be the subject of a future report. More >>


Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol

Executive Summary
The high price of fossil fuels, environmental concerns, and geopolitical instability in some major oil producing nations have spurred intense interest in the United States in alternative fuels, especially from renewable energy sources.
While popular with environmental activists, wind and solar power, because of their costs and unreliability, are not expected to grow significantly, even with massive subsidies. More >>


Defiance; The Book

Here's some current event news to help you find a possible newspeg to feature this newly released intriguing book. Today comes news of an assassination of a top Russian banking official (http://tinyurl.com/qrapv). In Alex Konanykhin's true-tale book - www.DefianceTheBook.com - he shows that in his real-life situation as well, the Russian Mafia tried to assassinate him as a Russian banker -- even though he was in the USA at the time. This mirrors closely his situations detailed in the book and that timely newspeg may warrant your looking into this as a possible angle to feature the book. More >>


Interpol Places Nigerian Officials On Watch List

The International Police Organisation (Interpol) is closely watching Nigerian officials on foreign trips, based on the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This is preparatory to the plan by the EFCC to step up investigation of those seeking elective office and those planning to quit at the end of their tenure. More >>


Order will give patients better cost information
President to sign directive requiring agencies to share procedure prices

WASHINGTON - Customers shop around when they buy an airline ticket or a new car, so why not when they need a hip replacement or treatment for a sore throat? An executive order being signed Tuesday by President Bush is designed to help people make more informed decisions about doctors and hospitals. Four federal agencies will be required to compile information about the quality and price of care they pay for and share that information with their customers and each other.
More here

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