Aides: Abbas poised to call elections

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is poised to schedule general elections in the West Bank and Gaza in the first half of 2009, his aides said Monday. Abbas has said he would call elections if reconciliation talks with Hamas don't resume by the beginning of the year. Abbas adviser Yasser Abed Rabbo said Monday that there were no signs Hamas was willing to soften its positions. Abed Rabbo says that after tough comments by Hamas leaders in Gaza on Sunday, "the call for presidential and legislative elections at the beginning of next year became certain." Abed Rabbo and other aides say Abbas is expected to set a date for elections soon. He's likely to do it before Jan. 8 when Hamas says his term expires