Tests on Arafat find no proof of poisoning

France

Tests on Arafat find no proof of poisoning

French scientists looking into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have dismissed poisoning by radioactive polonium, his widow announced Tuesday in Paris. The results contradict earlier findings by a Swiss lab, and mean it's still unclear how Arafat died. Teams of scientists from three countries were appointed to determine whether polonium played a role in his death in a French military hospital in 2004. Palestinians have long suspected Israel of poisoning him, which Israel denies. The French experts found traces of polonium but came to different conclusions than the Swiss about where they came from, finding that it was "of natural environmental origin," Suha Arafat said. A Russian report given to Palestinian officials was inconclusive about polonium's role.

Russia

Bolshoi dancer gets six years

A Moscow court Tuesday sentenced Pavel Dmitrichenko, the former Bolshoi Ballet Theater soloist, to six years in a penal colony for ordering an acid attack in January that nearly blinded the theater's artistic director, Sergei Filin. Prosecutors said Dmitrichenko was motivated by revenge for Filin's denial of key roles to Dmitrichenko and his wife, Anzhelina Vorontsova. Yuri Zarutsky, the man who carried out the attack, was given a 10-year sentence, and his driver, Andrei Lipatov, received four years.

Springfield, Ill.

Legislature okays fix for pensions

The Illinois Legislature approved a plan Tuesday to eliminate the state's $100 billion pension shortfall. The House voted 62-53 in favor of the plan, which makes deep cuts in state employees' retirement benefits, minutes after it was approved by a more union-friendly Senate, 30-24. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats, traditional allies of the unions. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it.

Cape Canaveral

Satellite launched on SpaceX rocket

A new communications satellite that has both public and government applications was launched into space aboard a private rocket on Tuesday. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the 7,000-pound satellite.

Elsewhere

Thailand: Protesters intent on toppling Thailand's democratically elected prime minister plan to press their struggle again today with a march in Bangkok, one day after a truce in honor of the king's birthday this week ended a spate of increasingly fierce street fighting.

Washington: American Alan Gross marked four years in prison in Cuba on Tuesday by writing a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to get personally involved in securing his release. Gross is serving a 15-year term for spiriting satellite and other communications equipment onto the island.

Boston: President Barack Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, Onyango Obama, 69, who ignored a deportation order more than two decades ago, on Tuesday was granted permission by a federal judge to stay in the United States.

Columbus, Ohio: Ariel Castro, the Cleveland bus driver who held three women captive for years, committed suicide by hanging in his cell, two prison consultants concluded Tuesday.

Times wires

Tests on Arafat find no proof of poisoning 12/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:49pm]

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