Tests Show Arafat May Have Been Poisoned to Death
Swiss scientists tasked with investigating whether former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died in November 2004 in France after a sudden illness, might have been poisoned have found “unexpectedly high” levels of polonium-210 in his bone and tissue fragments. He would have ingested the substance through food or drink, which is in line with the “sudden and brutal” onset of stomach complaints following a meal in October 2004 “in a patient who was otherwise in general good health”. David Barclay, a British forensic scientist who studied the report and was interviewed by the Guardian, said the report’s findings were “a smoking gun”. He pointed to the fact that the levels of polonium found in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and the soil that absorbed the bodily fluids in his grave were 18 times higher than normal.
Blasts Hit Provincial Communist Party Headquarters in China
A series of seven bomb blasts targeted the Chinese Communist Party building in the northern city of Taiyuan on Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring eight others. The Shanxi provincial government and local police said the explosions happened in the early morning hours and that the presence of steel beads and circuit boards at the scene suggested that the artifacts were crudely made. The attack comes days after three people drove a car through a crowd of tourists in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, before setting their vehicle alight and killing five people. China’s security services blamed the attack on Uyghur extremists from the country’s far western Xinjiang province, though its groups are not known for striking so far from the province itself.
Whistleblowers ‘Should Be Protected’, Says Labour
Shadow Home Office Minister Diana Johnson has called for a reform of the intelligence and security committee (ISC) to provide greater protection to whistleblowers who decide to give evidence against security agencies. “The ISC isn’t a select committee and it has become a committee of parliament. With a select committee you get protection for witnesses. We are trying to look for whistleblowers – how could we ensure people were protected if they gave evidence to this committee”, she said. A witness whose evidence is accepted by a select committee is given protection and cannot be prosecuted for it, nor can be found in contempt of parliament if the evidence turns out to be misleading. Johnson also said she support the worked done by the security services, but stressed that they “need to be able to do the job alongside proper parliamentary oversight.”
Greeks Protest Against the IMF and EU
Greek protesters shouted, heckled and threw coins at inspectors from the troika, composed of officials from the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank (ECB), as they attempted to leave the country’s Finance Ministry building on Tuesday night. Riot police officers were called into hold back the protesters, who shouted “take your bailout and get out of here”, who managed to pelt the chief of the IMF’s mission to Greece, Poul Thomsen, with coins before he was pushed into an awaiting car. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had addressed the nation shortly before the protests, saying the country was not at war with the troika, saying they were helping the country through difficult times, but also stressed that Greece could not afford any more austerity measures and that “everyone has to understand that”.