GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Abbas calls for cease-fire in Israel

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas summoned militant leaders to cease-fire talks in the Gaza Strip yesterday and said he is hopeful he can persuade them to halt attacks on Israel.

Abbas, whose political survival may depend on the success of the negotiations, said in an interview that Israel must do its part by halting military operations — a guarantee Israel has been unwilling to give.

“I am going to Gaza with the hopes of reaching an agreement,” he said in an interview in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The militants have sent mixed messages on whether they would suspend attacks, with some signaling a truce is possible if Israel stops arrest raids and targeted killings of wanted Palestinians. Abbas has ruled out using force against the militants, despite Israel’s insistence that he crack down.

On Monday, Abbas instructed the Palestinian security forces to try to prevent attacks against Israel and to investigate a shooting at a Gaza border crossing last week that killed six Israeli civilians.



Suicide bomber kills 3 Iraqi candidates

A suicide bomber struck the Baghdad headquarters of Iraq’s biggest Shiite political party yesterday, killing three people, as the government announced plans to close borders and restrict movements to bolster security in the national election. Three candidates were slain as insurgents intensified their campaign to subvert the ballot.

The Cabinet member responsible for internal security urged fellow Sunni Arabs to disregard threats by Sunni extremists and vote in the Jan. 30 election, in which Iraqis will choose a 275-member National Assembly and regional legislatures. Otherwise, the minister warned, the country will slide into civil war.

In a positive development, a Catholic archbishop kidnapped in northern Iraq was released yesterday without payment of ransom, the Vatican said. Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, an Iraqi, said he believes he was kidnapped by mistake.



Airbus unviels world’s largest passenger plane

Airbus showed off its giant A380, a double-decked behemoth that could revolutionize long-haul flying, at a lavish ceremony yesterday with European leaders gathered for the first official look at the world’s largest passenger plane.

Airbus is betting its newfound status as the world’s leading jet maker on the “superjumbo” that has a 262-foot wingspan, a tail as tall as a seven-story building and which cost $13 billion to develop.

French President Jacques Chirac, as well as the leaders of Britain, Germany and Spain and CEOs from the 14 airlines and freight transporters that have so far ordered the A380 attended the elaborate ceremony at company headquarters in Toulouse, southern France.



66-year-old woman is oldest to give birth

A 66-year-old professor who writes children’s books claims to have become the world’s oldest woman to give birth, and doctors said Monday she and her day-old baby daughter were in good condition in intensive care.

Doctors at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest said Adriana Iliescu became pregnant through in vitro fertilization using sperm and egg from anonymous donors.

They said she delivered her first child, Eliza Maria, by Caesarean section on Sunday and that a twin sister was stillborn.

“The child is eating a bit of glucose,” Mirela Ranga, a hospital spokeswoman, said Monday. “Mrs. Iliescu is still in intensive care, but she is moving around. She is expected to go see her daughter a bit later.”


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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