04-25-2018  10:58 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Ballots Out For Delivery Today

USPS delivers ballots Wednesday, April 25 for the May 15 Primary Election ...

GFO Announces Upcoming Classes, Workshops & Special Interest Groups

Upcoming events include regional special interest groups, Cuban genealogy talk and a DNA workshop ...

Event: Going Beyond the Flint Water & Housing Crises

Recode invites speakers to discuss the Flint water crisis and its relationship to gentrification, displacement, and housing crises ...

Think & Drink with Rinku Sen and Mary Li

Event takes place Wednesday, May 16, at Alberta Rose Theater ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

The Skanner News Endorsements for May 2018 Elections

Read The Skanner News' endorsements for Oregon, Multnomah County, Portland City Council and more ...

Will HUD Secretary Ben Carson Enforce the Fair Housing Act?

Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

CNN Wire Staff

PARIS (CNN) -- French authorities have opened a murder inquiry into the 2004 death of then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a prosecution official said Tuesday.

The inquiry comes after last month's discovery of high levels of a radioactive substance on some of Arafat's personal belongings. His successor, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, subsequently approved the exhumation of Arafat's body.



Caroline Chassain, secretary general of the prosecutor's office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, confirmed to CNN that a murder probe had been opened into Arafat's death in France.

Hanan Ashrawi, of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, welcomed the inquiry, saying it is of high importance.

"We believe the death of President Arafat was not a natural death, and also believe there should be a forensic and criminal investigation," she said.

Ashrawi said the Palestinian people needed closure and there should be "real accountability for those responsible" for Arafat's death.

A Palestinian investigation has already been set up, she said, but it is not yet clear when the exhumation will be carried out. Medical experts from Switzerland are expected to travel to Ramallah to take samples from the body.

Arafat died at age 75 at a Paris military hospital after he suffered a brain hemorrhage and slipped into a coma.

Palestinian officials said in the days before his death that Arafat had a blood disorder -- though they ruled out leukemia -- and digestive problems.

Rumors of poisoning circulated at the time, but Palestinian officials denied them, and then-Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath said he "totally" ruled them out.

A Swiss doctor said last month that investigators had found high levels of toxic polonium-210 on some of Arafat's belongings, though it does not confirm he suffered radiation poisoning.

Francois Bochud, director of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, said his researchers had tested Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and keffiyeh, the distinctive black-and-white headscarf he often wore.

A body fluid stain contained 180 megabecquerels per liter of the radioactive isotope, while a typical sample would contain 5 megabecquerels per liter, Bochud said. A becquerel is a unit of measurement of radioactivity.

The fabric of Arafat's clothing, without body fluid, contained less than 10 megabecquerels per liter, Bochud said.

Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, told CNN she wants the former leader's body exhumed so investigators can be "100% sure" of the presence of polonium.

CNN's Kareem Khadder and Stefan Simons contributed to this report.

 

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