Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

World at a Glance

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

World at a Glance

Article excerpt

Blair crisis as Palestinians accuse UK of aiding Israel

. TONY BLAIR'S Middle East policy was in crisis today in the wake of the Israeli prison raid and amid charges of British collusion. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the man Mr Blair hoped could build bridges with the West, was forced to abandon a tour of Europe to return home.

He had been due to speak to the European Parliament today and also hold talks on extra EU aid for the Palestinians in an effort to revive the peace process. The trip had been considered vital because the EU had threatened to cut aid in response to the election of the militant Hamas party.

British observers were withdrawn just before the Israelis seized a number of inmates at the Jericho prison, suggesting they had received a tip-off.

But Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the timing was coincidental and denied any collusion with Israel. However, the British Council headquarters was besieged and burned as militants took revenge.

Sarkozy hit as wife leaves again

. FRENCH interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy's wife has left him for the second time in 10 months - hitting his hopes of becoming president next year.

Glamorous Cecilia Sarkozy's backing of her ambitious husband is widely seen as crucial to her husband's bid to lead the country.

But she has now dumped him twice for the same man, American millionaire events organiser Richard Attias.

When Cecilia, 47, left him the first time last spring, Sarkozy's popularity suffered an immediate slump in the opinion polls at the expense of his arch presidential rival Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin.

Jackson gets extra day to pay fine

. MICHAEL JACKSON won a day's reprieve on a deadline to pay a $100,000 ([pounds sterling]57,000) fine and $306,000 ([pounds sterling]175,000) in wages he owes Neverland ranch employees. …

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