Abbas calls for Hamas overthrow
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sharpened the war of words against his Hamas rivals Thursday, saying it was time to “bring down” the militant group’s regime in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas’ comments against Hamas, whose fighters defeated his Fatah faction to take control of Gaza five months ago, reflected his anger over a deadly clash in the coastal enclave earlier this week.
“We have to bring down this bunch which took over the Gaza Strip by force and which is trading on the suffering and misery of our people,” Abbas said in broadcast remarks marking the 19th anniversary of the Palestinian declaration of independence. He referred to Hamas, with which he formed a short-lived joint government earlier this year, as “outlaw gangs.”
Abbas previously has used harsh language to attack the radical Islamist movement, characterizing its leaders as coup plotters and demanding they give up their control over Gaza. But his latest remarks struck a more combative tone.
Sarkozy says he’ll talk with strikers
France’s transport strike eased but did not end Thursday, after President Nicolas Sarkozy accepted negotiations while refusing to budge on his campaign promise that cushy retirement benefits must go.
Frustrated commuters, many of whom had to walk, pedal or rollerblade to work, urged Sarkozy to hang tough, saying France needs economic reforms to thrive. With Sarkozy in power for just six months, the strikes represent the first major union challenge to his plans to modernize France – and he said Wednesday he wanted the strikes to end quickly.
Rail and transport workers unions vowed to press the walkout into a fourth day today, as the government sought to trumpet figures showing that support was fading.
“Today, there are twice as many buses as yesterday, twice as many trains as yesterday, more subways than yesterday,” said Labor Minister Xavier Bertrand at the Senate.