weekend wrap 88.
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Abbas: Freeze of EU aide is 'unjustified'
The European Union's freeze on direct aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government is "unjustified," Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said in a newspaper interview published Friday. Abbas said he would explain his position during visits to Norway, Turkey and France next week, "so that the Palestinians are not penalized by the economic blockade."
Saniora: Israel must withdraw from Shaba
While Lebanon and Syria expressed willingness Friday to mark the border between their countries, they appear to have different approaches on dealing with the contentious issue of the Shaba Farms area on the foothills of Mount Hermon, which was captured by Israel when its forces seized the Golan Heights in 1967. The United Nations determined that the area is Syrian, and that Syria and Israel should negotiate its fate. But Lebanon claims the Shaba Farms, a claim that Syria has backed.
Brazil nearing nuclear enrichment
As Iran faces international pressure over developing the raw material for nuclear weapons, Brazil is quietly preparing to open its own uranium-enrichment center, capable of producing exactly the same fuel. Brazil - like Iran - has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and Brazil's constitution bans the military use of nuclear energy. Also like Iran, Brazil has cloaked key aspects of its nuclear technology in secrecy while insisting the program is for peaceful purposes, claims nuclear weapons experts have debunked.
Oil prices worry industrial powers
Worried about zooming oil prices, finance officials of the world's leading industrial powers are promising to act to prevent the global economy from getting knocked off course. Friday's pledge by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the Group of Seven countries comes on the same day that oil prices in the United States shot up to a record high of $75.17 a barrel.
'Mashaal was not speaking for Hamas'
Palestinian Authority Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Sha'arr called on Friday for Palestinian leaders to "moderate" their public statements. In an interview to Al-Jazeera, Sha'ar said that there were "problems in [Palestinian] politics that need to be solved." Sha'ar emphasized that the accusations made earlier Friday in Damascus by Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal, in which Mashaal reiterated that his government and his organization would never recognize Israel, and claimed there was a "fifth column" in the region working against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, were Mashaal's own opinions and not Hamas's official position.
Overnight TA club brawls wound youths
At about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Tel Aviv police received a report that a number of shots were fired outside a club on Ahad Ha'am Street. At 4:00 a.m. police received a report of a 26-year-old from Bat Yam in need of medical attention at a club in Tel Aviv, Rahov Hamasger. The man had been apparently stabbed during a fight that broke out inside the club. He was taken to Ichilov Hospital where he was listed in critical condition.