Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza pullout plan was hanging in the balance yesterday as members of his right-wing Likud party prepared to vote on his ambitions to bring the opposition Labor Party into a new broad-based coalition. \nWhile opponents of the pullout plan will submit a motion to the party's 2,900-strong convention that would specifically rule out Labor joining the govern-ment, Sharon is expected to counter with his own motion which would authorize him to negotiate with "any Zionist party." \nSharon needs to bring Labor into government in order to pass his so-called disengagement plan through parliament. \nDeclining support \nHe lost his majority in the 120-seat Knesset in June when traditional right-wing supporters baulked at what they regard as the "forcible transfer of Jews" from the Gaza Strip. \nConvention president Israel Katz, who is one of the leading opponents of the disengagement plan, said yesterday that the party members were likely to first vote on Sharon's motion and then on Labor in government. \n"Technically, one could vote for the two motions, which represent two totally opposite concepts," Katz, who is agriculture minister in the government, told public radio. \nLikud divisions \nAmid fears that the outcome of the vote could lead to a deep division within party ranks, Katz said it was vital that the vote took place in a "calm atmosphere which is vital to preserve unity within Likud." \nSharon has said that he will not be bound by the outcome of the vote, but a rejection of his overall political strategy would be extremely damaging. \nThe disengagement plan was rejected in a wider ballot of Likud members in May but Sharon has ploughed ahead with his project. \nSharon has been insisting that a coalition with Labor is far from inevitable and hopes that his alternative resolution will convince sceptics to give the prime minister room to maneuver.
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
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
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies