August 11, 2009 in Nation/World

World in brief: Fatah elects new members

From Wire Reports

BETHLEHEM, West Bank – The Palestinian Fatah movement elected a group of younger leaders to its top council today, bolstering the movement’s credentials as the West’s best hope for Mideast peace, according to early voting results.

Fatah’s first conference in two decades, while plagued by classic Fatah wrangling and intrigue, appeared to rejuvenate the pre-eminent Palestinian movement at a critical moment, weeks before President Barack Obama is to unveil a comprehensive plan to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. Unofficial results indicated that Fatah’s younger generation won a majority of seats on the Central Committee, polling officials said.

Among the newly elected are Marwan Barghouti, the 50-year-old firebrand now jailed by Israel and seen as a likely future president, and Jibril Rajoub, 56, a former aide to the late-Yasser Arafat who led several crackdowns on Fatah’s Islamic militant rivals Hamas.

Iran’s leader purges agency

TEHRAN, Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tightened his grip on Iran’s powerful intelligence services, ousting four senior officials in a widening purge against authorities who challenged the harsh crackdowns after June’s disputed elections, lawmakers and media said Monday.

The shake-up at the Intelligence Ministry – the nation’s main spy agency – deepened the rifts straining Iran’s conservative ranks over Ahmadinejad’s strong-arm political tactics and the crushing response to the pro-reform opposition since the June 12 election.

Youths, police clash in France

BAGNOLET, France – Restive youths in a Paris suburb torched a tourist bus and nearly a half-dozen cars and hurled objects at police early today, a night after fullblown unrest prompted by the death of a teen fleeing police.

The local prefecture, the administrative center for the region, said the situation was under control despite the scattered torchings.

Authorities had sent teams of riot police into the Bagnolet suburb just east of Paris after a night of violence following the Sunday night death of an 18-year-old pizza deliverer fleeing police on his motorcycle.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux ordered an internal police investigation into the death.

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