Greeted by throngs of jubilant well-wishers, 57 Palestinian prisoners got off buses Monday and kissed West Bank ground after Israel freed them in a goodwill gesture ahead of a U.S.-sponsored peace conference.
But the good will was tempered by Israeli plans to inaugurate a West Bank police headquarters in an area where settlement has been blocked by the U.S. for fear it would complicate the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.
Israel is holding about 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, whose release is a central Palestinian demand. Monday’s release was the second since July, and part of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s strategy to support moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his power struggle with Islamic Hamas militants who seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.
Officials acquitted in HIV scandal
A judge acquitted three doctors, a New Jersey company and a former Red Cross official of criminal charges Monday in a tainted-blood scandal that infected thousands of Canadians with HIV or hepatitis and resulted in more than 3,000 deaths.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto ruled that the defendants did not show conduct displaying wanton and reckless disregard in the use of the blood and that there was no marked departure from the standards of a reasonable person.
The case involved blood products produced by New Jersey-based Armour Pharmaceutical Co. in the 1980s and early 1990s that turned out to be infected. Also charged were Dr. Roger Perrault of the Red Cross; Dr. John Furesz and Dr. Donald Wark Boucher, formerly of Canada’s Health Protection Branch; and Dr. Michael Rodell, a former vice president of Armour.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates
Donkey devours its purchase price
A donkey at an Algerian market ate the money of a man who came to buy him, making the buyer and the owner wonder to whom the animal belongs, an Algerian newspaper reported.
Al-Shuruk al-Yawmi, a newspaper published in the northern Algerian town of Tizi Ouzou, said the customer and the seller were bargaining over the price for too long and failed to notice the donkey consuming the stack of banknotes meant as a payment.
Neither the Tizi Ouzou district court nor the city court was able to make a ruling that would satisfy both parties, so the case was passed on to the Algerian Supreme Court in the hope that it will resolve the bitter dispute.