BPR Mailing List Digest
December 20, 1999

Digest Home | 1999 | December, 1999


To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Infobeat News items (12/20/99)
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 08:44:03 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

*** Arafat threatens independent state

MADRID, Spain (AP) - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat says he is
unhappy with the progress of talks with Israel and will declare an
independent state next year, possibly even before the Sept. 13
deadline for a final peace agreement with Israel. "I very much regret
to say that the negotiations are not going well at all from our
viewpoint," Arafat was quoted as saying in an interview published
Sunday in the Spanish daily El Mundo. "But there is no doubt
whatsoever that we will declare our independent state next year,"
Arafat insisted. "At the latest it will be Sept. 13, but I'm thinking
it may even be before that." The two sides have set Feb. 13 as a
deadline for ironing out a framework for September's final

*** Barak says Syria's serious on peace

JERUSALEM (AP) - Syria is serious about negotiations and ready
to make peace, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told his Cabinet
Sunday in its first meeting since his return from a Washington
summit with Syria's foreign minister. The next step, Barak said, is
a document of principles outlining an end to the 51-year state of
war between the two countries. His spokeswoman Merav Parsi-
Tsadok gave details of Barak's comments to a Cabinet divided over
the expected price of peace with Syria - returning the strategic
Golan Heights Israel captured in 1967. Barak wants "something
that is between a general one-page declaration of principles and a
peace accord that will be many, many pages," Parsi-Tsadok said.
She said the document would be based on understandings reached
between Syrian President Hafez Assad and a succession of Israeli
governments since contacts with Syria were first made in 1991.
78b *** Also: Arafat and Barak to hold meeting, see
*** Also: Barak expects Lebanese restraint, see
*** Also: Israelis asked to revise thinking, see

*** Mormons prepare for Y2K worst

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - As the countdown dwindles, people
across the country are scrambling to stock their larders ahead of
Jan. 1, preparing, sometimes frantically, for potential Y2K disasters
that range from a harsh winter storm to societal breakdown. But
not at Salt Lake City's Temple Square, home of the Mormon
Church, where the calm of knowing you're prepared is the dominant
sentiment. For decades, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints have been encouraged to store a year's worth of
food in their homes, not just for Y2K, but for any hard times.
Seventy percent of Utah's residents are Mormon. Church officials
don't know exactly how many families stockpile food, but it's
clearly a popular practice to judge by the advertisements in Utah
newspapers for bulk food sales. See

*** Student explores life as lizard

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - His tongue is surgically forked, his forehead
ridged with implants - this green-scaled man breathes fire and lifts
car batteries with chains running through his nipples. Erik Sprague,
27, is slowly turning into something of a 5-foot-8 reptile. His next
step might involve a prosthetic tail. It's not to shock or provoke
people, the University at Albany graduate philosophy student said
Friday, but rather to see how people react to new stimuli.
Sprague's tongue was split by a plastic surgeon in the Albany
area. The forehead bumps were inserted without anesthesia in a
New York City "bod mod" shop, by a specialist in extreme
piercings, tattoos and other body modifications. The green scales
are tattoos, and more are planned. See

*** Dead man's sperm sought for child

LONDON (AP) - A British couple are trying to get a fertility clinic to
hand over a vial of frozen sperm taken from their dead son's body
so they can create a grandchild with a surrogate mother. Natasha
and Barry Smith, from Droitwich, England, reportedly told the Mail
on Sunday newspaper they believe they are entitled to keep alive a
part of their only child, Lance Smith, who died in a 1998 car
accident at age 36. They said that six months before their son's
death, he had typed and signed a note detailing his wish that "a
quantity of sperm" be taken from his body should he die
unexpectedly so that his fiancee could bear his child. They said
they are considering going to court, the newspaper said. See

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Religion Today items (12/20/99)
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 08:49:12 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

The Star of Bethlehem is being seen in a new light. The light
seen by the Magi was a gathering of planets and stars, Michael
Molnar, a former Rutgers University astronomer-physicist, says in
his book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. The
celestial bodies were grouped around Jupiter when it was in the
east and eclipsed by the moon, he said. Other scientists have
proposed similar theories. A widely accepted view has been
astronomer Johannes Kepler's 1603 conclusion that the star was a
conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in the constellation of
Pisces, the fish.
...Wise men have been following the wrong constellation for
centuries in their explanations of the heavenly phenomenon,
Molnar says. The light that led the Magi to the Christ child in
Judea shone from the constellation Aries, the ram, he says. That
realization "came like a flash out of the blue" when he purchased
an ancient Syrian coin that contained the sign of the
constellation Aries, which first appeared on money in 6 A.D., he
told The Associated Press.
...In those days, it was accepted that the heavens predicted the
future. Molnar realized that astrologers would have been familiar
with Jewish prophecies that a king would be born in Judea.
"People were indeed watching the skies for the advent of the
Messiah" and would have looked to Aries for signals predicting
His birth, he said.
...Molnar began stargazing by computer to see what happened in
Aries to capture the attention of the Magi. Tradition had it that
at the time of Jesus' birth there was an eclipse of Jupiter by
the moon. Since the event must have taken place "in the east," as
Matthew 2:2 states, Molnar used a computer program to chart an
eclipse of Jupiter in Aries. The computer showed that one
occurred April 17, 6 B.C. This eclipse "wasn't a big exploding
apparition in the sky," he said, but to people of that day it was
"earthshaking, signifying that whomever was born in Judea that
day would be a great king."
...Ancient pagan texts seem to back Molnar's discovery. One
Roman astrologer described conditions of April 17, 6 B.C., saying that
the sun, moon, and several planets were "in especially favorable
positions" -- as fitting the birth of a "divine and immortal"
...But it may be necessary to rewrite a few Christmas carols. The
Magi probably were not Babylonian astrologers, but well-educated
Hellenistic astronomers, "truly wise men," Molnar says, and they
would not have followed an actual light across the sky. Instead
they would have headed for Judea, he said, knowing that the great
event had occurred there.
...Molnar's theory is gaining acclaim from astronomy scholars.
Several Ivy League professors have noted his work as "original"
and "important," making other theories "irrelevant." Christians
from many denominations have expressed appreciation for his
scholarship, thanking him for finding a historical basis for the
star of Bethlehem.

Who would Billy Graham pick as the man of the century? Pope
John Paul II, the evangelist said in an interview. John Paul II "has
brought the greatest impact of any pope in the last 200 years. I
admire his courage, determination, intellectual abilities, and
his understanding of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox
differences, and the attempt at some form of reconciliation,"
Graham told The Associated Press.
...Among developments Graham has seen during his 81 years are
the deeper sense of sin caused by the horrors of World War II, the
end of racial segregation in the United States, advances in the
ecumenical movement, the spread of Islam worldwide, and the use
of technology to open new opportunities for evangelism. Also
significant are the fact that many people are on a "spiritual
quest" and that American youth are in serious moral trouble, he
...Human nature and man's quest for salvation will not change in
the 21st century, Graham said. "Man's heart has not changed. God
has not changed."

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Genome for profit
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 08:58:16 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

One Man Tries Hijacking the Genome for His and Stockholders'
Profit Sunday, December 19, 1999


With the end of the year fast approaching, there's no doubt about
the most important issue of 1999, and probably of a number of
years to come. It is Craig Venter's attempt to pre-empt the
government-funded Human Genome Project and hijack the human
genetic code for private profit.

The Human Genome Project estimates that its researchers will
complete their analysis of the entire human genome before the end
of the year 2000. Venter is claiming that he can get the job finished
even faster by using hundreds of "automatic gene sequencers,"
supercomputers costing $300,000 each. Either way, the world will
be transformed.

Decoding the "human blueprint" is the key step that will make it
possible to create gene therapies not only for many diseases but
perhaps also for "natural" conditions like ageing. Venter's
companies have been working on the genetic code of other, simpler
organisms since 1995. Until last year he was also collaborating,
with about 350 other labs in the United States and Britain, on the
publicly funded Human Genome Project. But then he quit and set
up his own rival project, funded by private capital: his flagship
company, Celera, moved into its Rockville, Maryland headquarters
in late 1998.

Full Story:
The Salt Lake Tribune,

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Toyota probed for 'Satanism'
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 12:45:51 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

Toyota probed for 'Satanism'

A Toyota TV ad when shown at slow speed, satanic texts
referring to the 'power of the moon' and the 'beauty of
darkness' are visible.

December 20, 1999, 10:41 AM

PARIS (AFP) - The French branch of Japanese carmaker Toyota
said Sunday it was opening an inquiry into European television
advertisement for its latest model, the Yaris Verso, after a
newspaper claimed the spot was riddled with subliminal Satanic

Full Story:,1690,Business-8632,00.html

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Arutz-7 News items (12/20/99)
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 12:57:40 -0500

From: "Moza" <>


The Archaeological Council called today upon the government not
to allow the building of a Jewish community in Tel Romeida,
Hevron. The Council claims that such construction could harm the
impressive findings from Biblical and later periods found during
recent excavations there. These were carried out when the
Netanyahu government decided to build permanent Jewish homes
at the site of the terrorist-murder of Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan.

The Yesha Council condemned the Archaeological Council's
decision, calling it "political hypocrisy in the guise of academia."
The Yesha statement says, "The findings in Hevron that the
Archaeological Council is so concerned about were preserved only
by virtue of the Jews who settled in Hevron, and they are the last
ones who need be lectured about the importance of Jewish

Rabbi Hillel Horowitz of Tel Romeida said that the call not to build
in Tel Romeida is a cynical use of archaeology for political
purposes. He told Arutz-7 today that the construction in the
neighborhood is planned to begin in a matter of days, as all the
necessary papers and permits have been obtained. He added,
though, that "we fear that [the army] will not allow us to begin
unless Prime Minister Barak ratifies the previous government's
decisions on this matter."

Referring to the Archaeological Council's call, he said that it is
"doubly infuriating in light of its weak call upon the government to
ensure that the Waqf's illegal activities on the Temple Mount are
coordinated with the Antiquities Authority - while in our case, they
demand that we not build at all. No one would have ever excavated
Tel Romeida if we hadn't asked to build there! And they know full
well that they would easily agree to transfer this land in exchange
for a peace treaty - after all, for "peace" everything is dispensable.
We spent great amounts of money in order to excavate, and then
additional sums in order to preserve what was found there, and
then still more money in order to build on two levels in order to
preserve the bottom level as an archaeological garden, etc. At
present, we are living in caravans literally one on top of another, in
order to facilitate the excavations. Instead of thanking us and
appreciating our efforts, they turn around and say we shouldn't
build at all - because the bottom line is that they simply don't want
us building in Hevron."


The Antiquities Authority claims that the Waqf, before trucking and
discarding remains from under the Temple Mount last week,
removed specially-engraved stones and additional findings. The
claim is included in the Authority's response to a Supreme Court
petition submitted by Chai VeKayam and the Temple Mount
Faithful, demanding official supervision over the Waqf's evacuation
of the remains. The groups also demand that the Waqf's illegal
construction at the holy site be halted immediately.

Roni Reich, an Antiquities Authority archaeologist, spoke with
Arutz-7 today: "True, there are archaeologists who claim that no
damage was done [by the Waqf under the Temple Mount], because
a bulldozer worked carefully, under supervision, and didn't touch
the walls or arches. But [I and others claim that] the actual
removal of dirt from under the Temple Mount, with heavy
equipment, and in such great quantities - 50 to 100 tons - is a
terrible blow in itself... "

When asked whether the Waqf's actions may have been a blessing
in disguise, in that Temple Mount remnants are, for the first time,
now accessible to archaeologists, Reich replied, "You're being
cynical, I'm sure. I don't need anyone to take out dirt with a
bulldozer, throw it in a rubbish dump, and then tell me to go sift it
out. No, archaeology is not simply cleaning out a site from its dirt.
 The dirt is an intrinsic part of the archaeological site. I wanted to
see this dirt while it was being excavated, and to document where
each gram comes from and from which historical period...
Archaeology is a science that is carried out and documented on
the spot, not afterwards. It is the only field of science, by the way,
in addition to that of experimenting on humans, that requires a
license from the government; in other disciplines, everyone has
freedom to do what they like. This is because archaeology must
be done carefully and systematically, and can only be done once."


The traditional Tenth of Tevet fast-day prayers yesterday turned into
large prayer services for the welfare of the communities and against
a withdrawal. Hundreds gathered in the synagogue at Nov, and
recited even more penitential prayers than those usually recited on
days of fasting. A special prayer was composed for the occasion
as well.

Arutz Sheva News Service
Monday, December 20, 1999 / Tevet 11, 5760

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Dec 21, 1999 TV Programs
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:44:34 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

8:00 PM Eastern

 PBS - SPACE STATION - "The Next Step" - The station
          falls two years behind schedule; project difficulties;
          U.S./Russian partnership.(CC)(TVG)

          Washington's spies lead hundreds of missions into British


 CBS - 60 MINUTES II - Some people believe the end of
          the world is near; inside the McCain presidential

 PBS - NOVA - "Electric Heart" - Surgeons and
          researchers try to develop an artificial heart to be used for
          transplant surgery.(CC)(TVPG)

          magnificent waterfalls draws visitors, provides electrical
          power and inspires change.(CC)(TVG)


 PBS - FRONTLINE - "Making Babies" - Infertility;
          medicine; cloning.(CC)(TVPG)

 CNN - CNN NEWSSTAND - "Entertainment 2010" -
          Entertainment in the next decade.(CC)

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Moscow Says It Will Use Nukes in Local War
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:31:30 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

Moscow Says It Will Use Nukes in Local War
December 19, 1999

Russia has announced it wants opponents to understand it has
changed its military policy and will now use nuclear weapons in
"smaller-scale conflicts."

It was a clear-cut warning to the United States and European
nations that if they intervene in its war in Chechnya they may
expect nuclear war in return.

At the same time, Russia announced it is also increasing its
capability =97 by three-fold =97 to engage in strategic intercontinental
ballistic-missile nuclear warfare with America.

This news came out of Moscow in conjunction with celebration of
the 40th anniversary of its nuclear-missile forces.

Full Story:

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