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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2003

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May 17, 2003

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Jerusalem: Palestinian official resigns after exclusion from summit

A top Palestinian negotiator resigned after being excluded from the first Israeli-Palestinian summit in three years this weekend in a move that could also signal growing tensions between Yasser Arafat and his new prime minister.

Saeb Erekat, who is close to Arafat, declined Friday to discuss his reasons for submitting a letter of resignation to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Last month, Erekat was only reluctantly included in Abbas' new Cabinet, as minister in charge of negotiations with Israel. In a clear slight, Abbas chose not to take Erekat along to his meeting tonight with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the first top-level talks since Israeli-Palestinian violence broke out in September 2000.

Vatican City: Poles nears 83rd birthday

Pope John Paul II will mark his 83rd birthday Sunday in his favorite way, joined by his fellow Poles as he celebrates a Mass and proclaims four more saints of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is one of a series of milestones for John Paul, who recently became the fourth longest-serving pope in history. A visit next month to Croatia will be his 100th foreign tour, while the church already is gearing up to mark his 25th anniversary as pontiff on Oct. 16.

As he turns 83, John Paul appears to have gained strength in recent months, speaking more clearly and showing more verve.

Congo: Rival factions sign peace deal

Sporadic gunfire echoed Friday in the hills surrounding a troubled northeastern Congolese town, hours after rival factions battling for control of the area agreed to stop fighting.

The cease-fire deal between the rival Hema and Lendu tribes was to go into effect by the end of Friday, but it wasn't clear how long it would hold. Thousands of frightened residents still sought refuge at a U.N. compound in Bunia and at a U.N.-controlled airport outside the city.

Florida: Baby sitter charged in death loses custody of own children

A baby sitter accused of killing a 3-year-old girl by forcing her to drink nearly a gallon of water has lost custody of her own children, officials said.

Nancy G. Gayoso, 35, and her husband Guillermo, 31, appeared Thursday in Broward Circuit Court at a closed hearing during which prosecutors asked Judge John Bowman to terminate parental rights for Gayoso's son and two stepdaughters.

Hollywood police spokesman Tony Rode said the custody case was sparked by allegations of a sexual nature.

In October, Gayoso was baby-sitting for her tenant's daughter, Rosita Gonzalez, when the girl had a seizure and was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.

She died of water intoxication the next day, according to the medical examiner's office. Drinking large amounts of water can lead to a fatal chemical imbalance caused by a low concentration of sodium in the blood.

Gayoso was arrested in March and charged with murder.

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