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Palestinian leaders on collision course

The new Palestinian prime minister said Thursday that his Cabinet will take control of the Palestinian security forces, putting his Hamas-led government on a collision course with President Mahmoud Abbas.

Deepening the tension, Abbas installed a longtime ally as head of the three security branches in a battle for control of the 58,000-member police force, and he told Hamas it had to clear all foreign policy moves with him.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told the Associated Press that he rejects any attempts to take power away from Hamas, which won Jan. 25 parliamentary elections. His Cabinet was sworn in last week.

Abbas’ actions appeared aimed at convincing the international community that he, not Hamas, is in charge.


Protesting students hold up train traffic

Some 2,000 angry students massed on railroad tracks in Paris on Thursday, halting international train traffic in a fresh push to force a new youth labor law off the books.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin refused to say whether the measure would be repealed. The law originally provided for a two-year trial period during which employers could fire youths under 26 without cause, a measure meant to spur hiring. Protesters say it would make young employees disposable.

Stepping up disruptions, students set up a predawn blockade Thursday that halted a convoy of parts for the Airbus A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest airliner and the crown jewel of European aviation.

Students paralyzed all train traffic at the Gare du Nord station in Paris for nearly two hours, blocking trains to and from London, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

New York

Painting fetches a British record

A Venice canal scene by J.M.W. Turner sold for $35.8 million at Christie’s on Thursday, setting an auction record for a work by a British artist.

The painting, “Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and SanaGiorgio,” from 1841, was bought by a private collector bidding over the telephone.

It was sold by the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, a nonprofit institution that receives donations to support the missionary effort of the Capuchin order of friars.

The previous record for any British painting sold at auction was $21 million for John Constable’s “The Lock” in 1990.

Nairobi, Kenya

Dozens killed when boat overturns

A boat ferrying passengers to a traditional festival overturned off the coast of Djibouti on Thursday, killing at least 69 people, an official said.

More people were feared missing or dead, said Ismael Tani, an adviser to Djiboutian President Ismail Umar Guelleh.

Tani said the boat overturned in the harbor after leaving port about noon and “was probably overloaded.”


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