World briefs 9/19/05

Monday, September 19, 2005

Palestinians restore order along Egyptian border

RAFAH, Gaza Strip -- Hundreds of Palestinian troops sealed off Gaza's border with Egypt on Sunday, ending a weeklong free-for-all along the frontier that angered Israeli officials and undermined Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to bring Gaza under control. Palestinian officials called on Israel to allow them to open the official border crossing at Rafah -- which Israel closed before it pulled out of Gaza last week -- and sent teams of technicians to install X-ray machines and lay electrical lines in the closed terminal. Meanwhile, thousands of Hamas supporters flooded downtown Gaza City for a military-style victory parade. Thousands of masked gunmen, some carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers, led the march down a main Gaza boulevard.

Israel urges U.N. to press for Hamas disarmament

NEW YORK -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that he has asked U.N. and European leaders to press for the disarming of Hamas militants and the abolition of their covenant -- Israel's destruction. Sharon told a conference of American Jewish leaders that Israel won't cooperate in Palestinian elections scheduled for January unless those two conditions are met. Israeli assistance is considered vital for smooth elections. In January, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected to replace the late Yasser Arafat, Israel opened West Bank roadblocks and eased other restrictions.

Female Saudi runs in chamber election

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Businesswoman Madhawi Al-Hassoun has signed up as the first woman in this ultraconservative Islamic kingdom to run in an election. Her candidacy in a local chamber of commerce board election comes after the Saudi government intervened to allow women to vote and run in the contest. A flood of petitions from businesswomen asking to be allowed to run prompted Trade Minister Hashem bin Abdullah Yamani to order the chamber to open the door to women candidates and allow women to vote. More than 30 businesswomen are expected to seek seats on the board.

-- From wire reports

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