0

A NEW Palestinian parliament was sworn-in and the Islamist movement Hamas, with 74 of the 132 members, was invited by President Abbas to form a government. Israel immediately suspended payment of customs and tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, saying that Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Iraq's slow-moving efforts to form a government came to a stop when insurgent bombers, presumed to be Sunni extremists, severely damaged the Askariya shrine, the fourth-holiest to Iraqi Shias. l In Britain, the Prince of Wales abandoned attempts to stop publication of a witness statement by his former private secretary, Mr Mark Bolland, which said that Prince Charles often referrred to himself as a “dissident working against the prevailing political consensus”. The Prince had brought an action to prevent The Mail on Sunday publishing details from his private journal. l In Austria the controversial British historian, Mr David Irving, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the crime of Holocaust denial, even though he pleaded guilty and admitted that the mass murder of Jews had taken place. In Britain the High Court ruled that the General Medical Council should not have struck off Professor Sir Roy Meadows for having given mistaken expert evidence as an expert witness that resulted in the conviction, later quashed, of Sally Clarke for murdering her two children.

l Bloodshed continued in three different parts of Nigeria. Rebels in the oil-rich Delta region kidnapped nine foreign oil–workers and caused oil companies to block one-fifth of Nigeria's oil exports. Rioters in the Muslim north burned churches and killed Christians in protest at the Danish cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad. In retaliation, Christians in the east burned down mosques and killed at least a score of Muslims. l Republicans and Democrats in the United States raised security concerns about giving Dubai Ports World, a state-backed company in Dubai, a role in the running six American ports following its acquisition of the British company P&O which operates facilities in the ports. President Bush said that he supported the change. l The new Wembley Stadium in London will not be ready for the FA Cup Final on 13 May, which will be played in Cardiff. Some 95 per cent of the City of London is to be covered by a Wi-Fi network to improve communications.