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Hamas exile kisses ground in joyous Gaza visit

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Associated Press

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, left, and Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, wave from a vehicle during a parade Friday in Gaza City.

JERUSALEM – Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who survived an assassination attempt by Israel in 1997, made a triumphant visit to Gaza on Friday, his first time inside the territory that has been ruled by the militant Islamist group since 2007.

Meshal – who left his boyhood home in the West Bank for Jordan in 1967 and since then has visited the West Bank only once, in 1975 – kissed the ground after crossing into the Gaza Strip from Egypt at the Rafah border terminal.

“This is an historic day in my life,” Meshal said minutes after arriving, expressing a wish that “God will grant me martyrdom on the land of Palestine.”

Visibly emotional, he wiped away tears as he sat with Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, at a brief welcome reception.

In a statement to the media, Meshal said he considered his arrival in Gaza his “third birth,” following his actual birth, in 1956, and the day he survived an Israeli assassination attempt by Israeli agents in Jordan 15 years ago.

Jury acquits driver; 15 died in bus wreck

A tour bus driver who prosecutors said was all but asleep at the wheel was acquitted Friday of manslaughter and negligent homicide in a crash last year that killed 15 gamblers on their way from a Connecticut casino to New York City.

Ophadell Williams was found guilty on one count of aggravated unlicensed driving. Williams wept and covered his face with his hands as the verdict was read. On the count which he was found guilty, the judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison, which he has served. He was ordered to pay a fee of $500.

Williams argued throughout the trial that he had been awake and alert, and he said the crash was not the result of reckless behavior or extreme exhaustion. He said a tractor-trailer cut him off, causing him to swerve and hit a guardrail. But investigators could find no indication that had occurred.

‘Chemo brain’ tied to stress of cancer

“Chemo brain,” a term describing the forgetfulness and cognitive fog that breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience, may have more to do with the stress and fatigue caused by the disease, a study suggests.

More women with breast cancer scored lower on cognitive function tests before getting chemotherapy than did those without the disease, according to research presented Friday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas. Women set to undergo radiation, rather than chemotherapy, for their disease also performed worse on memory and thinking tests before therapy.

The findings suggest that more can be done to help reduce stress and fatigue in breast cancer patients to alleviate their difficulties thinking clearly, remembering things and carrying out jobs and other responsibilities, said Bernadine Cimprich, the lead study author.

Woman alive after week in Nevada wild

A family member says a Nevada woman ate snow and tomatoes for nearly a week and found shelter in a hollowed-out tree after she became stranded in a winter storm and her boyfriend died trying to find help.

The Nevada Appeal reported Friday that 46-year-old Paula Lane of Gardnerville is hospitalized in Carson City with frostbite after her six-night ordeal.

Searchers found the body of Lane’s 44-year-old boyfriend, Roderick Paul Clifton, in California’s Alpine County.

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