Traces of the poisonous element polonium have been found in the belongings of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, a Swiss institute said on Wednesday, and a television report said his widow had demanded his body be exhumed for further tests.The half life of Polonium-110 is 138.4 days. Which means that between the day he died (Arafat died on 11/11/04) and January 1, 2012, there would have been 18.5 half-lives. Which means that for every million atoms of Polonium that might have been on Arafat's belongings when he died, only 2.5 particles would have still existed at the start of the year. I don't know the lag-time between the tests and the announcement, but if they tested it after the first of June, that would have dropped to 1.2 particles per million.
Arafat died at a hospital in France in 2004, after a sudden illness which baffled doctors. Many Palestinians have long suspected he was poisoned.
Darcy Christen, spokesman for the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, told Reuters on Tuesday it had found "surprisingly" high levels of polonium-210 in Arafat's belongings.
Needle, meet haystack.