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World in brief: Thatcher in hospital for medical tests

Sat., March 8, 2008

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was hospitalized in stable condition in central London today and was undergoing medical checks, authorities said.

St. Thomas’ Hospital said the former leader, 82, was expected to spend the night in hospital for observation.

“We can confirm that Baroness Thatcher has been admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital and is expected to remain in hospital overnight for observation,” the hospital said in a statement. “Her condition is stable and she is speaking to the medical staff who are caring for her.”

Thatcher – Britain’s first female prime minister – has often appeared at private functions in recent years but makes few public statements.

In March 2002, she cut back her workload after doctors said she had suffered a series of strokes.


Israelis say they won’t stop talks

Israel signaled a willingness Friday to move ahead with peace talks despite a deadly attack on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem.

Outside the bullet-scarred seminary, thousands of mourners marched in funeral processions Friday for the eight young students gunned down by a 25-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem whose family said he had been distraught over this week’s carnage in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the bloodshed, an Israeli official said his country would not cut off peace talks with the moderate Palestinian leadership – an apparent nod to Washington’s insistence that extremist violence not be allowed to derail efforts to forge a deal by year’s end.

It was the second time in a month that Israel chose not to halt talks after an attack. When a Palestinian suicide bomber struck in the town of Dimona, killing one woman and wounding 11 people on Feb. 4, Israeli and Palestinian officials went ahead with a planned negotiating session.

Minsk, Belarus

Envoy recalled over U.S. sanctions

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry told the U.S. ambassador on Friday to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador from the U.S. over economic sanctions Washington imposed on the former Soviet nation last year.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters that U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart has not been formally expelled.

“The Belarusian government has suggested – I think that’s the polite phrase – that she return to the United States for consultations,” he said, adding that Stewart will remain in Minsk while the U.S. reviews the situation.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said its demand that the U.S. ambassador leave the country had been prompted by U.S. sanctions imposed last fall against Belarus’ state-controlled oil-processing and chemicals company, Belneftekhim.

The U.S. last year froze the company’s assets and barred American companies from doing business with it.


‘Extinct’ bird found in island group

A pale-bellied bird species last seen in the 1920s and long thought to be extinct has been rediscovered near Papua New Guinea.

The Beck’s petrel was photographed last summer by an Israeli ornithologist in the Bismarck Archipelago, a group of islands northeast of Papua New Guinea.

Hadoram Shirihai, who led an expedition to find the seabird, returned with photographs of more than 30 of the birds and a freshly dead specimen found at sea – evidence that has so far convinced several experts.

Shirihai’s photographs and his report were published in The Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club on Friday.


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