An agreement has been reached for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to meet in Washington with US President George W. Bush next month, the White House announced Friday. \nBush and Sharon will discuss "the war on terror and the search for Israeli-Palestinian peace" when they meet April 14 at the White House, said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan. \nThe long-expected meeting comes two days after Bush is to welcome Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at his Texas ranch. Though McClellan did not provide a date, Bush also will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah next month as part of a series of consultations with key Middle East leaders. \nNext week, a trio of US emissaries is expected to make its third trip to the region to talk with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Israel's plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip. Sharon has proposed dismantling nearly all Israeli settlements in Gaza and some in the West Bank. \nAfter some initial hesitation, the administration has warmed to the idea of Israel relinquishing control of Gaza and moving the 7,500 Israeli Jews who live in the predominantly Palestinian area. \nBut questions remain, including administration concerns about whether such a unilateral move by Israel is consistent with the US-backed "road map" peace plan and whether it enhances -- or disrupts -- the prospects for a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. As well, the land Israel may be ready to relinquish in Gaza and on the West Bank is unlikely to meet Arab expectations, which include part of Jerusalem as well as all the territory they lost in war with Israel in 1967. \nA team of Bush administration officials, made up of Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, National Security Council Deputy Director Stephen Hadley and the council's Mideast specialist, Elliot Abrams, have traveled to the region twice in recent months.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown