World Bulletin / News Desk
A Swiss institute has agreed to a request from the Palestinian Authority to exhume Yasser Arafat's body and determine whether he was poisoned, but time is running out for a credible scientific examination of his remains, it said on Thursday.
The Palestinian leader died in a Paris military hospital in November 2004, a month after being flown, seriously ill, from his Israel-besieged headquarters in Ramallah. Eight years is considered a limit to detect any traces of the deadly radioactive substance, the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne said.
It has written to the Palestinian Authority accepting its request to conduct the probe, spokesman Darcy Christen said. But it requires the permission of his widow Suha and a French court which opened a murder inquiry on Tuesday.
"We confirm that we are available. We confirm that we are willing to move fast," Christen told Reuters in Geneva. "Unfortunately, for the time being we are waiting for the position of French judicial authorities and Mrs. Arafat."
No autopsy was carried out when Arafat died, aged 75.
The case returned to the headlines in July when the Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of the radioactive element polonium-210 on Arafat's clothing supplied by Suha, who called for exhumation of her husband's body.
Arabs suspect Israel of being behind his death.
Time is of the essence, given the half-life of polonium, the radioactive substance found to have killed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
Every 138 days polonium's radioactivity is halved, meaning there would be less and less of it in the bones and any remaining soft tissue, Christen said.
"If we wait too long, scientifically it won't make much sense. We think there is some 50 percent chance of detection, in the range of 50 to 60 percent at this stage. If we delay, it would probably go down very quickly.
"If things are delayed to October or November we clearly have to question our investigation. We believe that beyond that date it will not make much sense," he said.
If the Institute gets the go-ahead from all parties, a small team of experts would make a quick, initial mission to Ramallah to discuss scientific requirements and underline their own need for independence and transparency, the spokesman said.
The next step would be for all sides to decide if and when a possible exhumation could be carried out, weighing all factors: scientific, technical and ethical, he said. "We would do things in full respect of Islamic beliefs."
Suha Arafat declined comment on Thursday.
Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Muhanna welcomed the French probe saying it was appropriate as Arafat died in a French hospital.
Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy Yemi Osinbajo were sworn into office on May 29, 2015, two months after securing the first opposition victory against a sitting president in Nigerian history.
This gives Mariano Rajoy considerable breathing space until 2019, as if he fails to get the necessary agreements for next year's budget the constitution allows him to simply renew the previous spending plan.
After playing handshake power games with US President Donald Trump at his first international summit last week, 39-year-old Macron hosts the Russian leader in the splendour of Versailles outside Paris.
A government source and another official from the interior ministry said Nasser Zefzafi, who had been on the run since Friday, had been taken into custody.
MI5 to examine how it failed to react to information about extremist views of Manchester attacker
"It's necessary to create a eurozone budget. And this will not be possible without creating a parliament for the currency union, in order to make spending subject to democratic control," Pierre Moscovici said.
Hours of waiting for treatment, angry patients and broken equipment have become chronic problems.
"He died at 0100 (2200 GMT) surrounded by the people whom he loved and who loved him," a family statement said.
Authorities detained a 23-year-old in the southern coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Manchester.
The 34-year-old retired National Guard lieutenant, who has yet to be identified, was beaten and shot to death by attackers Saturday night in the town of Cabudare in the western state of Lara, prosecutors said.
The meeting in Pretoria comes as Zuma faces growing criticism within the ruling African National Congress, which sharpened after a March cabinet reshuffle when he sacked respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
"It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media," he wrote the morning after his return home.
"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days," Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany.
Gaza continues to suffer from a severe power crisis
Macron praised the DR Congo authorities "for their mobilisation and the effectiveness of their action" in obtaining the hostage's release, the office said in a statement, without identifying him.