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World in brief: Palestinian factions in Mecca for talks

Wed., Feb. 7, 2007

Palestinian factions on the brink of civil war gathered Tuesday in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, in a last-ditch effort to end their conflict. The Saudi-led push is key to any future peace talks with Israel – and to Arab efforts to blunt Iran’s growing power.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Khaled Mashaal, leader of the militant Hamas movement, flew to the Saudi city of Jiddah before heading to Mecca to meet their host, King Abdullah, ahead of the start of talks today.

The talks are open-ended, a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s determination to keep them going until the Palestinians reach a deal for power-sharing in a new coalition government.


Cellist-conductor hospitalized

Cellist-conductor Mstislav Rostropovich has been hospitalized in Moscow for an unspecified reason, and his manager said Tuesday “it does not look good.”

The hospitalization was disclosed by the Kremlin, which said the 79-year-old had received a visit Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin at an unspecified medical clinic in the capital.

A representative of Putin’s press service said she did not know anything about Rostropovich’s condition or treatment.

Acapulco, Mexico

Attorney general’s offices attacked

More than a dozen armed assailants staged and videotaped simultaneous attacks against two offices of the state attorney general in Acapulco on Tuesday, killing at least seven people in this Pacific resort plagued by drug violence.

The attacks took place in two neighborhoods about nine miles north of the tourist zone before 11 a.m., said Enrique Gil Mercado, special prosecutor for the attorney general’s office in the state of Guerrero.

The gunmen were dressed in military uniforms and pretended to conduct a weapons check, said Erit Montufar, director-general of the attorney general’s investigative police offices in Guerrero.

Officials also did not provide a motive for the attacks or comment on why the assailants videotaped the killings.


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