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The week at a glance...Europe

Europe

ParisArafat murder probe: French prosecutors have opened an investigation to determine whether former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was murdered. Arafat died at age 75 in 2004 in a French hospital, after a sudden illness. The cause of death was listed as a stroke, but his wife suspected murder by Israeli agents. This summer a Swiss lab tested Arafat’s possessions at his wife’s request and found that his toothbrush and underwear bore traces of polonium—the radioactive element that killed Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, a death blamed on Russian agents. Investigators now plan to test Arafat’s bodily remains. “Israel did not have any hand in this,” said Dov Weisglass, who was an Israeli official at the time of the death. “We did not physically hurt Arafat when he was in his prime, and we had even less inclination when he was politically sidelined.”

Stockholm Spies party it up: Sweden’s spy agency, Säpo, is struggling to explain why it spent some $800,000 in taxpayer money on a James Bond–themed party for its staff. The bash, in the summer of 2011, featured casino tables, a swing band, and a gourmet spread. The lavish event only came to public attention last week because of an accounting error: Säpo claimed more than the permitted amount in sales-tax reimbursement. Säpo head Anders Thornberg said the party was a rare perk for staff after several terror threats and an Islamist suicide bombing the previous year. “We’d been subjected to extreme pressure,” he said. “We thought that we needed a special gathering.”

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