In Brief

In Brief

Hamas leader killed by masked gunmen
Three masked men shot and killed a Hamas leader as he left a mosque in the West Bank yesterday, witnesses said, a day after

gunmen from a rival Palestinian faction threatened to kill senior Hamas members.
The violence comes ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and amid a power struggle between the ruling

Hamas militant movement and the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas that some fear could lead to civil war.
Rice will hold talks with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah later on Wednesday before meeting Israeli leaders. On

Tuesday, Arab officials who met her in Cairo spoke vehemently of the need to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nobel prizes awarded
American Roger D. Kornberg won the 2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry yesterday, honored for his work on how information stored

within a gene is copied and transferred to the parts of cells that produce proteins.
Kornberg was the first to create an actual picture of this process at the molecular level, in the important group of

organisms called eukaryotes - which, as opposed to bacteria, have well-defined cell nuclei. Mammals, as well as ordinary

yeast, belong to this group of organisms.
On Tuesday, Americans John Mather and George Smoot won the 2006 Nobel prize for physics for finding the background radiation

that finally nailed down the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.
'IRA no longer threat'
DUBLIN, Ireland
The Irish Republican Army has transformed itself fundamentally and no longer poses any terrorist threat to Northern Ireland,

the province's secretary of state said yesterday shortly before the publication of a report on IRA peace moves.
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain called on leaders of the province's British Protestant majority "to recognize that the

paramilitary situation, in particular the situation of the IRA, has changed absolutely fundamentally and radically."
"Is there now a security threat from the IRA? The answer's no," Hain said, adding: "I do not believe anybody thinks that the

IRA can come back as a war machine. That is over for them, they have chosen a different, democratic path."
E.coli in cow feces
California officials have discovered E. coli in cattle feces on pastures near farms being investigated as possible sources of

spinach contaminated with the bacteria, which caused a nationwide outbreak of food poisoning, a state health officer said on

State investigators have obtained eight samples of cattle feces testing positive for E. coli. The samples are being retested

to see if their bacteria strain matches the strain in 193 cases of food poisoning, including one confirmed fatality last

month, linked to tainted spinach, said Kevin Reilly, a deputy director at the California Department of Health Services.
"We probably won't have results for another couple of days," Reilly told reporters in a telephone conference call.

Updated : 2021-01-24 01:43 GMT+08:00