Hamas’ exiled political leader said on Monday that the militant group has agreed in principle to a proposal for reconciling with its rivals in the Fatah movement in a deal that would clear the way for new presidential and legislative elections.
A final deal being brokered by Egyptian mediators will be drawn up and signed next month, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told reporters in Cairo after talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief.
The Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers and Fatah, which runs the West Bank, have been divided since a civil war more than two years ago.
Bringing the sides together and restoring some Fatah control in the Gaza Strip could open up the blockaded seaside territory to more aid from international donors that had shunned dealings with Hamas.
Egypt has been trying for months to broker such a deal, at first by proposing the formation of a unity government. Hamas, however, refused to be part of any Palestinian government that would involve the recognition of Israel.
Now, Egypt is proposing to bring the rivals together in an advisory committee that would have a say in running day-to-day affairs in Gaza and the West Bank until elections can be held sometime in the first half of next year.
The committee would be headed by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the Palestinian president. Abbas’ government would deploy 3,000 security personnel to Gaza and both sides would release each other’s detainees.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big