The interim Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, escaped unharmed after militants from his Fatah movement opened fire near him in a tent crowded with mourners for the late president Yasser Arafat -- a warning that the period leading to the Jan. 9 election of an Arafat successor could be chaotic and violent. \nAn Abbas bodyguard and a security officer were killed and six people were wounded in Sundays' shooting in Gaza City. The first shots triggered a chaotic firefight of several minutes with security guards -- though it appears from the casualty count that most fired in the air, rather than taking aim. \nSome 30 or 40 gunmen were involved, none of the masked, but police declined to say yesterday whether arrests had been made. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group with ties to Fatah, denied it sent the gunmen, and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups were not considered suspects. \nAbbas, widely known as Abu Mazen, played down the incident, saying it was not an assassination attempt. \nHowever, some of the gunmen had chanted anti-Abbas slogans. \nSufian Abu Zaydeh, a Palestinian Authority official in Gaza, said he stood near Abbas when the shooting erupted. The gunmen "are people who don't accept Abu Mazen ... don't accept anyone," Abu Zaydeh told Israel Army Radio, but declined to say whether he recognized the armed men. \nThe temporary Palestinian leadership, headed by Abbas, has been trying to send a message of unity since Arafat's death last Thursday. \nThe death of Arafat has opened up what many leaders believe is a crucial opportunity to revive the peace process in the Middle East and lay the groundwork for Israel and a Palestinian state to live side by side without bloodshed. \nIn a policy shift, an Israeli official indicated that the Jewish state was reassessing its policy on its plan to pull troops and 8,800 Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. \nForeign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Israel would be willing to coordinate a planned withdrawal from Gaza if the Palestinian Authority cracks down on militant groups. \nIsraeli and Palestinian officials alike have expressed fears that an evacuation from Gaza without coordination would bring chaos to the Gaza Strip, where militant groups have been vying for control in recent months. \nMeanwhile, Abbas was due to hold separate meetings yesterday with representatives from the sprawling Palestinian security services and 13 main factions, officials said, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Fatah movement.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle