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December 7, 1999

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Weekend News Today items (12/6/99)
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 09:02:20 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

                         Syria studies possibility of bringing in
                         water to Damascus

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: ArabicNews

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Syrian sources reported that Damascus at
present is studying bringing water from the coastal areas to
Damascus and that Turkey has permitted the flow of the waters of
the Euphrates towards Syria. The Syrian government is studying
the possibility of bringing water from the coastal area at the city of
Tartous to Damascus through Tel-Kalakh, the area nearest to sea
level (400 meters above sea level), to Damascus through Homs.
Additionally, an Egyptian delegation has recently visited Damascus
to study "desalinization of the sea waters," and that cost of the
desalinization of each cubic meter is estimated at 15 Syrian
pounds, a cost which makes the process "economically possible,"
according to Egyptian experts. Turkey is permitting greater water
flow due to the "earthquake rift which starts in Istanbul towards
north Iran passes in the hinterland of Anadolia where the Turkish
dams are situated."

Carrying out the study proposed during the 1970s to bring water of
the Euphrates to Damascus has more economic feasibility than
desalinization of the sea waters. Bringing the waters of the
Euphrates permits irrigation of the fertile lands in the central parts
of the country, ensuring potable waters to Damascus and then
using 'heavy waters, after their purification, in agriculture.
Indications are that a three-year drought cycle that may continue
until the seasonal rainfall of next year.

Syria suffers a recession, as a result of the lack of rainfall, in its
underground waters in the majority of its seven water basins which
feed the country. The absence of a final water agreement between
Syria and Turkey concerning the water issue makes Damascus
unable to draw a final water plan in the country. Added to all these,
some 500 million cubic meters of Syrian waters in the Golan are
seized annually by Israel as a result of Israel's occupation of the
Syrian Golan Heights since 1967.

                         New form of intifada - arson

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Arutz 7

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Isolated pockets of fire continued to burn this
morning in the Carmel area, but were finally extinguished during the
course of the day. Over 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) of natural
forest and orchards have been destroyed over the past three days
in fires that the police believe were caused by Palestinian
arsonists. Security sources have termed the fires "acts of
terrorism." Five helicopters aided in the firefighting efforts
throughout the night. Fire Commissioner Moshe Vardi said that he
himself saw the lights of a car travelling from place to place,
starting fires in various locations.

MK Modi Zandberg said in the Knesset today that we are witness
to a new form of intifada. "As opposed to the general feeling of
sadness that we experience when we look now at the Carmel," he
said, "the arsonists are sitting at home in their villages with their
hearts full of joy."

Residents of the southern Carmel area, in Nir Etzion, Kerem
Maharal, and other towns were nearly evacuated from their homes
last night; another hard-hit area was that between Zikhron Yaakov
and Binyamina. Guy Rilov of Kerem Maharal told Arutz-7 today,
"We're facing a new front in the Arab war against Israel - it's as
simple as that... This is not a problem of having outdated
firefighting equipment or improper roads - the security forces must
simply find the Arab arsonists. For some reason, which I really
cannot understand, they are not publicizing the fact that we have a
real problem, and that it must be solved in the same manner as
other forms of terrorism." Rilov said that the arsonists took
advantage of the dry weather conditions for their scheme.

                         UN World Court will prosecute
                         American Citizens

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: The Washington Times

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- The United States has resigned itself to the
eventual creation -- over Washington's objections -- of a U.N.
International Criminal Court to be modeled after war crimes
tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Even if the United
States does not ratify the treaty, American citizens will be subject
to arrest and trial as the treaty document is now drafted.
International backing for the court became apparent this week as
legal experts gathered at the United Nations to discuss fine print in
a treaty that would establish the world judicial body.

David Scheffer, assistant secretary of state for war crimes issues,
acknowledged that the court is on track, even in the United States.
"We expect many nations to ratify by the end of next year," he told
The Washington Times. He also said that the presence of many
U.S. allies on the court would ratchet up pressure on the United
States to join, but added: "We're never going to sign a treaty we
can't support." The United States voted against creating the court
last summer, saying that the structure of the tribunal would not
protect American troops from frivolous or politically motivated
indictments and prosecutions.

Although 90 nations have already signed the treaty, only five have
formally ratified the document. Ratification by 60 nations is required
for the tribunal to begin working -- something experts expect to
happen within the next two years. Mr. Scheffer said the U.S.
delegation was still hoping to secure language in the treaty that
would provide protection for Americans -- enough that the United
States could eventually join. He said negotiators were hoping to
make strong provisions for national prosecutions that would pre-
empt the international tribunal's jurisdiction. They are also hoping
to define agreed-upon crimes and rules of procedure in such a way
that U.S. troops would be highly unlikely to ever be called before
the court.

All of the European Union has signed the treaty, and Italy has
ratified it. The German government on Tuesday announced that it
would ratify the treaty. France has committed to ratifying it within
the next few months. The governments of Britain, Canada and the
Netherlands say they will complete ratification within the next year.
The entire European Union is expected to approve the statute by
the end of 2000, said a statement read by a diplomat from Finland.
The European Union has promised financial and legal assistance to
the court, to be located in The Hague. The court will prosecute
allegations of war crimes, genocide and other crimes against
humanity, and will do so without direct authorization of the U.N.
Security Council, where the United States holds a veto. Although it
has no enforcement mechanism, all nations -- including the United
States -- would be subject to the international court's jurisdiction,
the treaty document says.

                         Maine ham radio operators on Y2K

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: UPI

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Maine plans to station more than 80 ham radio
operators in its 41 hospitals beginning at midnight, Dec. 31, as a
precaution against year 2000 computer glitches. The ham
operators will be in constant communication with an emergency
crew at the state capital in Augusta to make sure all vital
messages get through. Powered by generators or batteries, the
ham radio units will be using high frequency instead of channel
broadcasts. Maine boasts up to 6,000 licensed amateur operators
with many having gained emergency experience when a severe ice
storm knocked down power lines two years ago.

                         Iraq warns of ''heated confrontation''
                         with the West

                         Weekend News Today

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Iraq Monday again rejected a short-term U.N.
proposal to suspend sanctions against the country and warned that
a "heated confrontation" with the West is looming. Iraq's Ath-
Thawra newspaper said Security Council Resolution 1280 to
extend the U.N. oil-for-food program for one week is "unrealistic
and Iraq will reject it as it rejected the previous one," which
renewed the program for only two weeks. Meanwhile, the Babel
newspaper accused the U.S. and Britain of pushing peace and
regional security into the "unknown."

                         EU foreign ministers meet to prepare
                         for Helsinki summit

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: UPI

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- The foreign ministers of all 15 European Union
nations are meeting in Brussels on Monday to establish the
guidelines and agenda for this week's two-day EU summit of
national leaders in Helsinki. At the meeting that starts Friday,
ministers are to vote on an European rapid deployment force and
also review existing sanctions against Yugoslavia, the fighting in
Chechnya and enlargement of the EU. Meanwhile, Finnish Prime
Minister Paavo Lipponen reported Monday that all 15 EU nations
have reached a general accord to prepare a force of 50,000 troops
for rapid use to deal with crises--the EU's first autonomous military
capability. As for a broadened EU, leaders face decisions over
when to eventually include Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria,
Romania and Malta.

                         Pope urges Panama to guard against
                         outside influences of canal

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: AP

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Pope John Paul II said Panama must guard
against outside exploitation after it gains control of the Panama
Canal, calling the upcoming handover a "magnificent, historic
opportunity." The pope delivered the warning during a Vatican
ceremony Saturday in which Panama's new ambassador to the
Holy See, Edda Victoria Martinelli, presented her diplomatic

Panama gains final control of the canal Dec. 31, ending American
sovereignty. "In recovering sovereignty of the territory, you must
pay particular attention to avoid letting outside interests or
pressures take advantage of the benefits that this magnificent
historic opportunity can bring to the people," John Paul said. Used
wisely, John Paul said, the canal can contribute to projects to end
poverty in the country and improve education and the justice
system. He did not single out any country in his warning.

                         Russia tells Chechens to flee capital
                         or die

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: Reuters

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Russia's military issued an ultimatum on
Monday that warned all Chechens to leave their capital Grozny
within five days or die, provoking a new exodus of terrified refugees.
Scores of people made their way down this narrow road from
Grozny after reading the Russian warning in leaflets distributed as
troops closed in on both the capital and two other key towns
leading to it.

"You are surrounded, all roads to Grozny are blocked. You have no
chance of winning," leaflets dropped over the capital read. "Until
December 11, there will be a safety corridor through the village of
Pervomaiskoye." "Those who remain will be viewed as terrorists
and bandits. They will be destroyed by artillery and aviation. There
will be no more talks. All those who do not leave the city will be
destroyed," the leaflets said.

                         New Chinese submarine able to nuke
                         any place in US

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Weekend Staff
                         Source: The Washington Times

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- China's new strategic submarine will be
targeted against U.S. nuclear forces and carry missiles with small
warheads similar to American weapons, The Washington Times
reported. The People's Liberation Army Navy will start construction
in the next several weeks on its first Type 094 missile submarine
which will carry a smaller underwater variant of China's new DF-31
intercontinental ballistic missile, which was flight-tested in August.
The JL-2 submarine-launched missile wil be deployed on the Type
094 and the DF-31. Both the JL-2 and the first Type 094 are
expected to be deployed around 2005 or 2006. The JL-2 also is
known as the Julang-2 and will have a range of about 7,400 miles.
"These missiles will be able to hit any place in the United States,
not just the Western states," said one official. The Type 094 will
carry 12 or 16 JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles that were
described in one intelligence report as a smaller version of the DF-

According to a congressional report on Chinese technology theft
released earlier this year, the new Type 094 submarine will provide
the People's Republic of China (PRC) with new strategic nuclear
capabilities that will increase the threat to the United States. The
report by the special panel headed by Rep. Christopher Cox,
California Republican, stated that the JL-2's 7,400-mile range
allows it "to be launched from the PRC's territorial waters and to
strike targets throughout the United States."

"Instead of venturing into the open ocean to attack the United
States, the Type 094-class submarines could remain near PRC
waters, protected by the PLA Navy and Air Force." The Cox
committee report also said the submarines are part of a new
Chinese nuclear strategy of developing weapons that are more
"survivable" against U.S. nuclear missiles. The submarines provide
such survivability because they are hard to detect. In addition to
the new missile submarines, China also is building a new attack
submarine known as the Type O93 that will be equipped with
underwater-fired cruise missiles.

                         European countries won't accept
                         Israel into their UN group

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Ha'aretz

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Despite Israeli efforts, the inclusion of Israel in
the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) at the United
Nations is not on the agenda for today's meeting of the foreign
ministers of EU countries. Israel in the only country in the UN that
is not a member of a regional bloc. Without such affiliation, Israel
remains the only country in the world that is ineligible to join the
Security Council or other prestigious bodies. This also blocks any
nomination of Israelis to key UN positions.

Because of Israel's recently improved international status, the
Foreign Ministry has embarked on a diplomatic campaign for
Israel's acceptance to the WEOG, alongside the countries of
Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand. Israel has made it clear that it is applying for temporary
membership until it is accepted to the Asian bloc. The US supports
Israel in the bid, but the decision must be unanimous and depends
mainly on the European countries.

Israeli officials attribute the European resistance to several
reasons. Israel is not considered a Western country, and the
European countries are not eager to confront the Arab countries
and the Palestinian Authority, which has already objected
adamantly to Israel's inclusion in the European group. In addition,
the European countries fear that Israel's temporary status may
become permanent.

The EU ministers are slated to meet today in Brussels, but
accepting Israel to the WEOG will not on their agenda. During the
last few days, European officials have been conveying messages to
Jerusalem that unless a consensus is guaranteed, Israel would be
better off not bringing the subject up for discussion.

                         Hopes dim for a wet winter in Israel

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Mon Dec 6,1999 -- Weather forecasters say it's looking more likely
that Israel will suffer from its second consecutive winter drought,
and the country's farming industry stands to suffer the most. The
amount of rainfall in the next three months is likely to fall far below
average, according to an updated forecast issued Sunday by the
Israel Meteorological Service. Last month, the Service had
predicted precipitation slightly below the normal amount for Israel's
winter months. Those expectations have been downgraded. The
Service's assessments will continue on a monthly basis. At the
receding Kinneret Sunday, a group of kibbutz members held a
"floating prayer session" before gazing television crews.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Arutz-7 News items (12/7/99)
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 09:45:31 -0500

From: "Moza" <>


The Temple Mount controversy took a new turn today when the
legal advisor of the Jerusalem municipality issued an order to halt
Waqf building activity on the Temple Mount. City officials also
intend to launch legal proceedings against all elements responsible
for violating the zoning and construction laws in the area. Prime
Minister Barak is hosting a "comprehensive deliberation" on the
issue in his office today. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert - who
reportedly has some concrete proposals of how to handle the crisis
- has also been invited to attend the meeting.

Justice Minister Yossi Beilin is troubled by the new activism
emanating from the Jerusalem Municipality. "Ever since 1967, no
Israeli government has tried to fully exercise Israeli sovereignty over
the Temple Mount," Beilin said today. "The issue there is a 'very
sensitive one..., and every Moslem home boasts a photograph of
the Al-Aksa Mosque." Jerusalem businessman Yisrael Goldberg
has found that Jewish Israelis are also fond of the Temple Mount.
Speaking with Arutz-7 today, Goldberg told of how he sold and
distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a photo-montage of
the Temple on the Temple Mount. "People from all walks of Israeli
life, religious Jews and many who do not wear yarmulkas, common
folk and politicians, and even deputy mayors from all over the
country - have mounted the picture in prominent places in their
homes and offices," he said.

The illegal Arab construction on the Temple Mount was also the
central issue of a popular Israeli talk show last night. One of the
guests on the show, Knesset member and former Arafat confidant
Ahmed Tibi, issued an on-air ultimatum to the Barak government.
Following is an excerpt from the interview:

Knesset Member Tibi: If the Israeli government and elements in the
right wing will not recognize -

Interviewer: Do you not identify with the Israeli side?

Knesset Member Tibi: No, not on this point..I am a Moslem, and I
identify with [the] Al-Aksa [Mosque]... If the Israeli government and
the Israeli side and people on the right refuse to recognize the
adminstrative authority of the Moslem Waqf, and continue to be
affected by the incitement coming from the right wing - then there
will be no 'Millenium' here, there will be an 'Apocalypse' here! If
someone has the nerve to contemplate closing the two entrances
that have been opened, I am saying to you, and this is a warning -

Interviewer: Are you saying this as a representative of Arafat or are
you expressing your own view?

Knesset Member Tibi: I know what will happen - if someone has
the nerve to close the entrances, he is declaring war on the

In related news, two members of the Temple Mount Faithful
movement were permitted to enter the Temple Mount this
afternoon. Police, however, forbade the two to pray there or to
carry any type of poster or sign.


In what may become a landmark case, the Tel Aviv District Court
has rejected a request by the Palestinian Authority to summarily
dismiss a damages suit brought against it by an Israeli father and
son injured in a Palestinian Arab terror attack several years ago.
The PA argued that as an independent entity, it is immune to such
litigation. The Israeli family charges that the PA did not take the
necessary steps to prevent terror attacks within Israel, as it had
committed itself to do in the 1993 Oslo Accords. In light of the
court's decision, the plaintiffs could recover up to five million
shekels in damages.

Arutz Sheva News Service
Tuesday, Dec.7, 1999 / Kislev 28, 5760 - 4th Day of Hanukkah

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Millennium World Peace Summit
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 13:25:25 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

The United Nations will host a world "spiritual summit" to
promote peace. The Millennium World Peace Summit is the first
meeting of its kind ever sponsored by the world body. It is
expected to bring 1,000 religious and spiritual leaders together
Aug. 28-31, a few days before the world's political leaders
gather for the U.N. Millennium Heads of State Summit. U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan will give the welcoming address at
the religious summit, which is intended to investigate ways that
the religious leaders can ease tension in world zones of

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