Palestinian leader rejects peace blueprint
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly suggested Saturday that he would reject a peacemaking blueprint put forward by international mediators, saying he would not agree to any proposal that disregarded Palestinian conditions for the resumption of peace talks.
Abbas, who returned to the West Bank on Saturday after submitting a statehood bid at the United Nations a day earlier, told reporters accompanying him that he was still studying the proposal by the peacemaking Quartet - the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia.
But he appeared to tip his hand by saying "we will not deal with any initiative" that doesn't demand a halt to Israeli settlement construction or negotiations based on borders before the 1967 War when Israel captured land the Palestinians claim for their state.
The Quartet statement made no such demands.
Abbas dug into his positions after resisting heavy, U.S.-led pressure to abandon his bid to have the U.N. recognize a state of Palestine in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. His willingness to stand up to Washington has won him newfound respect at home, where he had been considered a lackluster leader. The unilateral bid for statehood and U.N. membership reflects deep-seated Palestinian exasperation over 44 years of Israeli occupation.
Yemeni government forces launch attacks killing 40
SANAA, Yemen (AP) - In one of the bloodiest days of Yemen's uprising, government troops backed by snipers and shelling attacked a square full of Yemeni protesters Saturday and battled with pro-opposition forces in the capital, killing at least 40 people and littering the streets with bodies.
The violence signaled an accelerated attempt by President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his loyalists to crush their rivals and tighten his grip on the country after his return a day earlier from Saudi Arabia, where he has been undergoing treatment for the past three months for wounds suffered in an assassination attempt.
One of Saleh's top rivals - Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar - called for international help, asking the U.S. and other regional powers to rein him in. He warned that Saleh is pushing the country into civil war and compared him to the Roman emperor Nero, burning down his own city.
In a strongly worded statement, al-Ahmar called Saleh a "sick, vengeful soul" who treats Yemen like his personal estate.
"With his return, Yemen is experiencing sweeping chaos and the harbingers of a crushing civil war which this ignorant man is determined to ignite," said al-Ahmar, who was once a close ally of Saleh but early on in the uprising joined the opposition along with the 1st Armored Division he commands.
UBS CEO Gruebel resigns over $2.3B rogue trading loss
GENEVA (AP) - UBS chief executive Oswald Gruebel has resigned over a $2.3 billion loss caused by rogue trading at its investment division, which is to be restructured now to prevent similar incidents in future, the Swiss bank said Saturday.
Gruebel, who had come under heavy pressure from shareholders over the scandal, said he hoped his resignation would allow the bank to restore its reputation in the eyes of clients and investors.
"As CEO, I bear full responsibility for what occurs at UBS," he said in a memo to staff. "From my first day on the job I placed the reputation of the bank above all else. That is why I want to and must act according to my convictions."
UBS Europe chief Sergio P. Ermotti will take over immediately as interim chief executive until Gruebel's replacement is appointed.
Gruebel's departure caps 10 days of speculation over his future following the bank's announcement that a single London-based trader had evaded internal control systems and gambled away $2.3 billion.
Prosecutors seek life sentence for American Amanda Knox in her murder case
PERUGIA, Italy (AP) - Italian prosecutors asked an appeals court on Saturday to uphold the conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate and increase her sentence to life in prison.
The 24-year-old American sat motionless as Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola made his request. The prosecutor sought the same sentence for Knox's co-defendant, former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, capping two days of closing arguments by the prosecutors.
Costagliola also requested six months of daytime solitary confinement for Knox and two months for Sollecito.
A verdict is expected in early October.
Knox, of Seattle, Washington, and Sollecito, an Italian, were convicted by a lower court of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher while they were all studying in Perugia in 2007. Knox was sentenced to 26 years, her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years.