Mideast peace deal may be in works

Egypt said yesterday it had brokered an understanding to halt Israeli-Palestinian violence and move toward a peace accord, hours after Hamas militants set off a bomb in Gaza that killed an Israeli soldier and triggered Israeli retaliation that left four Palestinian militants dead in the most serious violence since the death of Yasser Arafat.

Egypt’s state-run news agency, MENA, reported that Cairo would call for a July peace conference in Washington to include all parties to the agreement: Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and the European Union. The plan calls for an early cease-fire and contains overall principles for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, MENA reported, adding that a dialogue among Palestinian factions on a cease-fire agreement would begin in March in Cairo.

The agency said the Egyptian plan, which was discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other officials, included the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza and a plan for Egyptian border troops to be responsible for security of the Egyptian-Palestinian border and the Palestinian side of the border with Israel.



Chinese firm buys IBM’s PC division

China’s biggest computer maker, Lenovo Group, said yesterday it has acquired a majority stake in International Business Machines Corp.’s personal computer business for $1.75 billion, one of the biggest Chinese overseas acquisitions ever.

The deal shifts IBM to a peripheral role in a corner of the technology industry it pioneered.

It creates a joint venture in which Lenovo Group Ltd. takes over the IBM-brand personal computer business, including research and development and manufacturing, while IBM will keep an 18.9 percent stake in the company, said Lenovo’s chairman, Liu Chuanzhi.

The deal makes Lenovo the third-largest PC company in the world, he said.Like other major Chinese manufacturers hoping to expand overseas, Lenovo is planning to leverage a well-known foreign brand name. Liu said the company would be entitled to freely use IBM’s brand name in five years’ time.



Pentagon: USAF failed to prevent abuse

Air Force Academy commanders over the past 10 years failed to recognize and deal with the seriousness of sexual assault against female cadets, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

In a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that was released yesterday, Inspector General Joseph Schmitz wrote, “We conclude that the overall root cause of the sexual assault problems at the Air Force Academy was the ‘failure of successive chains of command over the past 10 years to acknowledge the severity of the problem.’” He quoted his own report on the academy in the Dec. 3 memo. The Pentagon did not release his full report.



Attorney general to run for New York governor

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose investigations of white-collar crime have shaken the nation’s financial institutions, said yesterday he will run for governor in 2006.

Spitzer has long been known to be interested in the job, but it was the first time the high-profile attorney general has said he will definitely run.

“The state is at a point of crisis,” the Democrat told The Associated Press. “We are bleeding jobs. We need reform in the process of government.”

In his two terms, Spitzer has won national and international attention with groundbreaking investigations of Wall Street investment houses, mutual fund managers and, most recently, the insurance industry.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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