BPR Mailing List Digest
June 22, 2000

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Kiss and tell --Students fight for schoolyard rights
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 08:58:44 -0400

Kiss and tell – Students fight for schoolyard rights


TEENAGE students at a NSW high school are challenging teachers over
their right to kiss in the playground.

The stand-off at the Hunter Valley school boiled over yesterday when more
than 250 pupils staged a strike, asking for the school rules to be changed
to hand students more rights.

The pupils from Rutherford Technology High School, near Maitland, want
bans on kissing and smoking dropped and a new school disciplinary
committee formed.

A group of 25 students aged 14 to 17 walked out of the school yesterday
after teachers persuaded other striking pupils to return to class.

The students believe they are being singled out for disciplinary action
because of their individualism.

They say discipline at the school is inconsistent, with other students
caught kissing, smoking, out of uniform and swearing not receiving the
same attention from the principal.

Students supported a log of claims, which includes their right to show

"We shouldn't be punished for embracing or kissing," Year 11 student
Charly Lindsay said. "It's part of who we are and they shouldn't try to
stifle that," he said.

School principal Sharon Parkes said students were allowed to show
affection but not when it was inappropriate.

"We don't allow prolonged kissing but they are allowed to hold hands," Ms
Parkes said. "If they are responsible with their behaviour then it is not
an issue."

The students' log of claim includes defining the time limit of a
"prolonged kiss", setting up special smoking areas, more consideration to
students' personal problems and swearing allowed in some circumstances.

The striking students gathered in the school's quadrangle about 9am
yesterday with the majority disbanding after being addressed by Ms Parkes.

A core group of 25 students, which subsequently left and gathered at a
nearby home, have listed their concerns and plan to discuss them when they
return to school today. They will take further strike action if they do
not get a fair hearing.

"All we want is a voice and a fair go," Ms Lindsay, 17, said. "We don't
want Ms Parkes to break government policies but we want all the students
to be treated equally."

Eleanor Oakes, a 17-year-old Year 11 student, said their parents and some
teachers were supporting their action.

"We know some of the teachers, our parents and a lot of the students are
on our side," she said.

"The school is trying to squash our individuality and we've decided to
fight back. Someone has got to say something.

"We are constantly encouraged to express ourselves yet when we do we are

Rutherford Technology High is classified as a disadvantaged school with
many students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The students say Ms Parkes' discipline would be more suited to a private
school and is out of touch with their needs.

"She's trying to turn it into a grammar school," Ms Lindsay said.

Several parents spoke in support of the students yesterday agreeing Ms
Parkes had a "middle-class mentality".

"She should be doing her best to help everyone at that school," Marelsa
Nean said.

"We teach our kids to talk about their problems but they go to school and
aren't allowed.

"We know they break the rules but plenty others do as well and are getting
away with it."

Ms Parkes denied the group weren't getting a chance to discuss their
problems or had been subject to discrimination.,3533,836252%255E701,0

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - All change for transsexual vicar, with bishop's blessing
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:22:03 -0400

All change for transsexual vicar, with bishop's blessing

Copyright 2000 by Agence France-Presse

LONDON, June 20 (AFP) - A transsexual vicar is to become the first serving
Church of England priest to change sex and resume his job as a woman,
and has the blessing of his bishop, he announced Monday.

The Reverend Peter Stone, the vicar at St Philip's Church, Upper Stratton,
Swindon, in western England, will have the operation later this year, he told a
press conference.

He will then resume his position as the Reverend Carol Stone.

He said he had wanted to be female since he was a small child, and told of
his relief at receiving the blessing of the bishop of Bristol for his plans.

"It has been a lifetime's journey," he added. "Among my earliest memories
are of me wishing that I was other than I am.

"Every night I prayed I would wake up as a girl. If there was another way, I
would not be here today. Nobody does this by choice."

He added: "I just want to match up my head and heart with my body."

Stone, who is twice divorced, said his daughter of 18 fully understood his

Asked if he had ventured out in public dressed as a woman, Stone said the
opportunities had been "extremely limited."

And asked why he chose the name Carol, he replied: "It's a pretty name and
I liked it. That's all I want to say about it really."

The bishop, the Right Reverend Barry Rogerson, said everyone in the parish
had been supportive of the vicar.

He said he was sure from his own research that the transsexual state Stone
found himself in was a medical condition.

He confirmed he could see no "ethical or ecclesiastical legal reasons" why
Stone should not continue in ministry.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Modern pagans reclaim Stonehenge
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 11:54:26 -0500

June 22 2000 BRITAIN
Modern pagans reclaim Stonehenge


THE tribes of ancient Britain who congregated at Stonehenge to celebrate the
summer solstice yesterday could hardly have been less colourful than their
ancient predecessors. There were the New Age travellers in dreadlocks and
home-knitted woollens, the "brew crew" with cans of lager and mohican
haircuts, a Brazilian samba dancer dressed in a chain-mail bikini and even a
handful of yuppies with picnic hampers and BMW estates. Every strand of
British culture was represented, from "crusties" to a handful of "crumblies"
who found themselves standing in a field in the rain longing for a cup of
Horlicks long after their usual bedtimes. And then there were the druids,
wizards, warlocks and witches who like to think they are continuing a
tradition that dates back to the 4,000-year-old origins of Stonehenge. It
was their lobbying that persuaded English Heritage to reopen the site for
the midsummer celebration for the first time in 15 years. But the druids
could not even agree among themselves on the appropriate way to welcome the
dawn on the longest day of the year. Some huddled in a private conclave
beneath the stones. Others blew horns made from the dried stems of giant
seaweeds. Members of the Insular Order of Druids formed a circle near the
Heel Stone while their leader announced, "I'm no Pam Ayres" and read a poem
he had composed. His reading was interrupted by a Liverpudlian called Bob
who removed all his clothes apart from his woolly hat and proudly
demonstrated the consequences of drinking far too much Ice Dragon Cider.
"I'm going to get pneumonia or get arrested," he shouted, before staggering
off towards the stone circle, leaving his discarded underpants to be
trampled in the mud. Three women dressed in black capes sitting on a tartan
rug stared angrily at the crowds surrounding the druids. "Why is everyone so
interested in the druids?" one asked. "What about us witches?" Dylan Ap
Thuin, Archdruid of the Insulars, hinted that not all was peace and harmony
within pagan ranks. Two years ago, after 100 worshippers were permitted to
see in the summer solstice, there were bitter complaints that the event had
been "hijacked" by Rollo Maughling, self-styled Archdruid of Stonehenge, who
appointed himself master of ceremonies. "This time we're not having any
organised celebration," said Mr Ap Thuin. "It led to too much trouble last
time." Trying to recreate Stonehenge's ancient rituals is like
reconstructing the story of Christianity from the floor-plan of St Paul's
Cathedral. Although the detail may have been lost, the atmosphere was still
magical, according to those who stayed up all night to watch the Sun fail to
appear through a blanket of cloud and drizzle. The giant stones were
illuminated by the ghostly green glow of arc lights set up by English
Heritage. From the shadows emanated hypnotic drumming and exotic aromas.
Julia Newman, a lecturer from Southampton, said: "I just wanted the chance
to walk among the stones which you are not normally allowed to do. It's so
completely different at night. There's a very medieval feeling about it,
with all the drums and musicians and fire jugglers." More than 6,000 people
made the pilgrimage to Stonehenge. Some drove all night to arrive in time
for dawn at 4.44am. Craig Cotton, a video producer from Worthing, West
Sussex, packed his wife and three children into the car at 10pm. It was his
daughter Yasmine's ninth birthday. He said: "We wanted to give her a
birthday she wouldn't forget. It's just a shame it's raining." Asked what
she thought, Yasmine replied: "Cold and wet. . . but fun." Lew Pope, 78,
had driven up from Torquay with his wife Ginny, 58. "She was planning to
come on her own but I thought I'd better come along to look after her," he
said. John Candy, a healer from Exeter, arrived with the Arthurian War Band
who wore cardboard crowns and blue face paint. He said: "I'm with them but
not one of them. I refuse for personal reasons to go under the sword." The
woad-covered warriors stood in a circle and sang "Reunite the Stones of Our
Ancestors". The Barking Batteria, a group of drummers from East London,
ensured the carnival atmosphere was not dampened by the rain. Blowing
whistles and waving torches, they paraded around the stones dressed in
little more than their counterparts in Rio. As daylight chased the
revellers home, police said they arrested nobody - not even Bob the
Liverpudlian. For English Heritage, the night was a vindication of its
open-stones policy. Elspeth Henderson, a spokesman, said: "A happy and
peaceful solstice was had by all."

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) Arabs Building a 5th Mosque on the Temple Mount
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:48:31 -0500

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date forwarded: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 09:23:22 -0400
Date sent: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 16:22:47 +0300
From: Temple Mount Faithful
Subject: Arabs Building a 5th Mosque on the Temple Mount
Forwarded by:

Arabs Building a 5th Mosque on the Temple Mount

As a continuation to the information which we have already
supplied about the destruction being caused by the Arabs
on the Temple Mount, we can now inform you that, according
to the security authorities who informed the government of
Israel, the Arabs on the Temple Mount, together with the
Islamic Movement in Israel, are now busy, not only with
destroying the remains of the First and Second Temples,
but also with the building a new mosque on the Temple
Mount along the eastern wall. (2 other mosques were built
on the southern side of the Temple Mount over the last 2
years.) According to these sources, the Waqf also have
further plans to make changes on the Temple Mount such as
removing the western gate and replacing it with an iron
gate and adding roofs in many places. All these activities
show very clearly that their plan is to make most of the
Temple Mount into an area of one great mosque.

This is a part of their intensive destruction and building
plan to remove the Jewish identity of the Temple Mount and
make the holy site of G–d a place of foreign, pagan,
Islamic worship. As we have said, through these activities
they are trying to stop the plans of the G–d of Israel and
His followers in Israel to rebuild the temple as a
practical part of the life of this generation. This is the
most terrible destruction that has occurred on the holy
hill of G–d in Jerusalem since the destruction of the
Second Temple. It is a shame for the authorities in Israel
and all over the world that they have not done everything
to immediately stop it.

As we said in our last update, The Temple Mount and Land
of Israel Faithful Movement is acting intensively and
doing everything to immediately stop this destruction.
Yesterday (21.06.00) the Movement made an urgent petition
to the Supreme Court of Israel. In the petition the
Movement asked the Supreme Court to order the Government
of Israel to immediately stop this anti-godly and illegal
destruction and building which is a terrible desecration
of the most holy place of the Jewish people and all the
earth; the place which is the heart and soul and the focus
of the Jewish people and all the world. The petition also
asked that those who are responsible for the activities be
urgently arrested and immediately institute legal
proceedings against them. The petition states that this
barbaric destruction is a shame for everyone in Israel and
all the world.

As a result of the campaign by the Temple Mount Faithful,
Knesset members visited the Temple Mount yesterday to see
what was being done there and how to react to it. The
Arabs on the Temple Mount did not allow them to see some
of the areas of the Temple Mount because they wanted to
hide what they had done over the last 2 years and what they
are now doing. After the visit, the members of Knesset
stated that they were deeply shocked to see the terrible
destruction and illegal building operations and that they
could not even have imagined how terrible the situation
actually is. They also warned of the weakness and fear of
the Israeli Authorities to do anything to stop the
situation and that they felt great shame and deep sadness.
The head of the Antiquities Authority of Israel, Amir
Drory, also stated his shock and that of his department
and voiced a severe warning with regard to this
destruction and building. He stated that his department,
and nobody else, can control what is being done on the
Temple Mount and that the destruction has destroyed
important remains from the temple. He also said that these
activities have also damaged an important wall on the
south-eastern part of the Temple Mount which remained from
the temple times and no one can even ascertain the extent
of the damage and whether they are continuing to damage it
as they do not allow anyone to see what they are doing

Nobody can understand the weakness and fear of the Israeli
Authorities of Arab and international anti-Israeli
reaction if they do what they have to do to stop this work
and not allow them to continue this barbaric destruction
and enforce Israel law which absolutely forbids any
activities like this and any changes on the Temple Mount.
This weakness and inability of the Israeli Government to
act against the Arab Islamic enemies of Israel on the
Temple Mount and against her enemies which surround her in
the Middle East and their international allies is causing
concern amongst the Israeli population. This weakness
encourages Israel's enemies to continue these activities
on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is
now undertaking an intensive public campaign and
demonstrations against these terrible activities and the
weakness of the Israeli Authorities. We are doing
everything by all the legal means at our disposal to
immediately stop these activities and to remove the Arab
presence and their vandalism from the Temple Mount and to
transfer the responsibility, management and total control
of the Temple Mount to the Israeli Government which has
sovereignty over the Temple Mount but until has not had the
strength to enforce it on the most holy place of Israel
and all the world. All these activities are undertaken by
the Movement as messengers of the Israeli people and many
others all over the world who have G–d in their hearts and
to whom the holy site of G–d is dear. We know very clearly
that throughout the history of the Temple Mount and the
land of Israel the enemies of Israel, including the
biggest powers in the world who destroyed the temple,
built their pagan shrines on the Temple Mount and thought
that they could fight against the G–d of Israel and His
prophetic plans for the people and land of Israel. They
were severely judged by G–d and completely disappeared
from the world stage. The same will be the fate of the
Islamic Arab enemies of the G–d and people of Israel. Soon
all their illusions will be shattered when G–d comes to
judge and punish them. They have no chance to stop the
prophetic end-time plans of G–d for Israel, on the Temple
Mount , Jerusalem and all the land of Israel.

At the same time, all of us have a deep responsibility to
do everything to stop and prevent these anti-godly
activities on the Temple Mount. G–d and the history which
He leads expects us to do this immediately.

------- End of forwarded message -------

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Perfume Law Makes No Scents?
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:50:16 -0500

Wednesday June 21 7:47 AM ET

 Perfume Law Makes No Scents?

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - You can smoke in many places in
and the Canadian port city often has the tang of fish and salt water
the air, but you can't wear cologne or perfume, at least not in

Now, an industry lobby group is saying that's not fair.

The ban on perfumes, in place in Halifax since 1996, is applied at all
public locations, including mass transit, schools and hospitals. City
officials say it is the only bylaw of its type in North America. It
designed to prevent illness caused by allergies and other

But the Scented Product Education and Information Association of
(SPEIAC) -- which represents a broad grouping in the cosmetics,
and toiletries industries -- said Tuesday the city's got it all wrong
launched a campaign to try to get the bylaw overturned.

SPEIAC is sponsoring a public relations campaign in the Halifax area
address ``the lack of accurate information on the subject.'' The
will include advertising in the two major Halifax dailies over the

The lobbying follows the arrest in April of a 17-year-old area student
who, high school officials said, persistently violated a strict policy
banning perfumes, after-shave and scented hairsprays and deodorants.

The student was expelled for two days and arrested by the Royal
Mounted Police after a teacher complained his fragrances made her
physically ill. The student was not charged.

``The anti-scent policies -- both formal and informal -- that are
prevalent in the Halifax area appear to be based on an appalling lack
factual information,'' SPEIAC spokesman Carl Carter told a news
Tuesday in Halifax, the capital of the east coast province of Nova

Halifax officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday,
city public relations officer John O'Brien told Reuters in an earlier
interview that respect for others was at the heart of the bylaw.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Weekend News Today items (6/21/00)
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:50:49 -0500

From: "Moza" <>
Date sent: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 19:34:03 -0400
Subject: Weekend News Today items (6/21/00)
Send reply to:
Priority: normal

IDF orders Yesha communities to prepare for war

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- As the intelligence community continues to receive
reports pointing to the likelihood of increased attacks from Islamic
terrorist organizations, the decision was made to fortify the Jewish
communities throughout Yesha, including stocking different weapons and
ammunition. Intelligence officials predict a renewed wave of violence
which will surpass the Nakba warfare seen in May. Experts predict the
violence will begin **almost immediately** as a result of the lack of
progress in talks in Washington last week between Israeli and PA
negotiators. The military will also be distributing rubber-coated
bullets and teargas grenades; to be added to the Yesha weapons
storehouses. These items are being added in the hope they may be
useful in
repelling threats to the community which do not endanger human life
may buy time until IDF units are able to respond to a particular
community. Weapons storehouses are also being updates and the
frequency of
training exercises for reservists living in Yesha communities is being

Peru deploys army helicopter to battle locust plague

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: BBC

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- The Peruvian Government has enlisted the support
of an
army helicopter to try to deal with a plague of locusts which is
destroying crops in the north of the country. The helicopter is being
to spray millions of locusts with insecticide, while special brigades
carry out similar work on the ground. Peruvian Agriculture Minister
Belisario de las Casas said the insects were destroying everything
stood in their way. The plague is one of the biggest Peru has ever
seen -
at least 15 million locusts covering an estimated area of 50 square
The locust cloud is bigger than the towns whose livelihoods are under

China's state-run news office to overlook Pentagon

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Kelly Pagatpatan
                         Source: Washington Times

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Communist China's state-run news service has
purchased a seven-story apartment building overlooking the Pentagon
will evict the residents to turn the 32-unit building into its
news bureau. A notice to tenants said the Pentagon Ridge sale to
was completed June 15. The building would give the Xinhua News Agency
significant news gathering presence in Washington. Specialists in
affairs expressed surprise yesterday that the U.S. government would
it because Xinhua is directed by the People's Republic of China and is
described by Western observers as a front for the Ministry of State
Security (MSS), China's version of the Soviet KGB. The ministry
security operations at home and espionage abroad. The specialists say
Xinhua's high- ground location in the new building, near Interstate
could provide the opportunity to covertly monitor Pentagon comings and

Fences, trenches, obstacles to be built between Israel, PA

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Ha'aretz

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak has instructed
Peace Directorate in his office to coordinate the preparation of a
"separation plan along the seam" - the boundary line - between Israel
the PA that will be established as part of the permanent settlement. A
political source who is knowledgeable about the plan said yesterday
the separation concept will not refer to a specific line, as the
with the Palestinians has not yet been set, but to principles. He
that "we are not talking about the Jerusalem region at this stage." *
IDF will draft a proposal to build a fence between Israel and the PA,
along with trenches and other engineering obstacles to prevent the
crossing of the line. * A joint team of the Transport Ministry and the
Civil Aviation Authority will present a proposal for a number of
between the two entities. Currently, dozens of "spontaneous" crossings
exist. * The Ministry of Regional Cooperation and the office of the
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories will put
ideas for economic and other cooperation on both sides of the line,
as the establishment of industrial zones that can be entered from
direction. This will provide employment opportunities for the
without their having to enter Israel. * A security committee will
the deployment of police units along the line and coordination
arrangements between them and the Palestinian
                         security forces.

Barak orders urgent hearing to deal with growing national violence

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Barak has ordered the convening of leaders of
local and
municipal councils to deal with the increasing level of violence in
Israel. The prime minister ordered Minister of Internal Security
Ben-Ami to act immediately, following two violence-related deaths in
Israel over a period of three days. Police statistics confirm the
in violence in Israel, reporting that in the month of May, there were
seven murders in Israel while in June, there have already
eight murders.

Fm Levy sets up meeting between families of MIAs and UN official

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- In the wake of accelerated action by Foreign
David Levy and the Foreign Ministry vis-ā-vis visiting UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his delegation, it has been agreed
United Nations Under- Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran
Prendergast will on Wednesday meet with
                         representatives of the families of Israelīs

UN chief turns down meeting with MIA families

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has indicated he
would not comply with a request to meet with MK Danny Naveh and
of Israelīs MIAs. Despite Navehīs petition signed by tens of MKs
with the MIA issue, Annan would not agree to a meeting. Annan on
met with Barak and Foreign Minister David Levy. On Thursday morning,
will meet in Ramallah with Arafat. He will then depart for Syria. The
International Coalition for MIAs has filed a formal complaint with
the UN
in light of Annanīs refusal to meet with its

Arabs continue land war in Gush Etzion

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- On Tuesday afternoon there was a repeat of the
disturbances at the entrance to the settlement of Neve Daniel in Gush
Etzion. Local Arabs once again brought in heavy equipment and
illegal work in order to clear land for farming. The plots of land are
classified as state-owned and/ or Jewish-owned. Residents of Neve
and surrounding communities arrived to stop the work and a
quickly developed. Jewish residents declared the intention of holding
public prayer services at the site Wednesday morning but army patrols
the site prevented
                         any Jews from entering.

Barak orders investigation into growing water shortage

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- On Tuesday, Barak ordered an investigation into the
growing water shortage in Israel. The move comes as an Israeli
is negotiating the purchase of drinking water to be imported to
For years, the writing has been on the wall but governments failed to
the warnings of hydrologists and other experts. The growing
growing pollution and shrinking water supply, make a bad recipe for
future for one of our most vital resources and is now creating havoc
the nationīs already tenuous water situation. News over the past days
resulted in the sobering reality that the months ahead will be drier
we have known during summers in the past, with predications of a
situation for the years to come. The warnings by experts that the
countryīs three central reservoirs will reach unprecedented low levels
this summer will undoubtedly result in new and serious water usage
restrictions. Lake Kinneret, the nationīs main source of fresh water,
dropped one meter (39 inches) below the so-called red line. The latest
forecast by experts speaks of the possibility of a drinking water
in the coming months. Mindful of such a prospect, the government
dispatched a senior delegation to Turkey this week, to deal with the
option of purchasing and importing water, using old oil tankers.
Under the
best circumstances, such a plan would take a year to put into
Faced with the emergency situation, the government is weighing the
possible implementation of extreme restrictions which may result in
prohibition of watering public and private parks and gardens, a severe
water quota for the agricultural sector and limiting water use for the
washing of cars. It is hoped that such measures could save up to 200
million cubic meters of water annually.

Half of Israelīs water supply is polluted

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Over forty percent of the water intended for
homes is not fit for consumption according to health officials. Last
the Ministry of Health threatened not to renew the permit for the
Water Company to pump water from the Kinneret, explaining the quality
the drinking water is below the international level. Environmental
Minister Dalia Itzik says they are in serous trouble, with no
solution available for the quantity and quality of the drinking water
supply. Health and environmental officials are now reporting that in
609 of the nationīs 2,901 wells, the level of nitrates, a carcinogen,
above the acceptable level. Itzik believes the situation is actually
serious, explaining that the Ministry of Health has only been
the quality of our water supply for the past few years.

Secretary Annan provides international legitimacy to Hizbullah

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- The visit to the south Beirut headquarters of the
Hizbullah organization by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan provided
international legitimacy for the guerilla organization. Hizbullah
a great victory following Israelīs unilateral troop withdrawal from
southern Lebanon on May 24, but is still shunned by western
because of the active role the organization played in attacks against
Western interests and the kidnapping of foreigners dating back to the
1980s. Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned Annan that his
organizationīs attacks against Israel would carry on in the future if
Israelīs border violations continued. Nasrallah added that he would
wait long for “political efforts” to handle the violations. Nasrallah
Annan assurances that that the international organization would treat
violations seriously and complaints from the government of Lebanon
be dealt with in a prompt manner.

Iran's Khatami visits China to build on already strong ties

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Weekend Staff
                         Source: Yahoo!

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami arrives in
China on
Thursday for a six-day state visit, his first since being elected in
with plans to strengthen the two countries' already close political,
economic and military ties. The trip comes on the heels of a decision
the two governments in recent months to strengthen cooperation in the
political and economic spheres and build on a level of trade that
1.3 billion dollars in 1999. In that context, Iran hopes to increase
exports to China of both petroleum and non-petroleum products. At the
time, the two sides will pursue further military cooperation. This
back to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, during which China, along with
Korea, was Iran's principal Asian source of arms. Military issues
will be
discussed despite opposition from Western governments, who suspect
of helping Iran to build up its nuclear industry. On the political
the two countries are cooperating closely in rejecting the "unipolar
world" they accuse Washington of trying to impose.

6.6 strong earthquake shakes Iceland

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Weekend Staff
                         Source: Yahoo! Reuters

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- An earthquake with magnitude 6.6 struck Iceland
on Wednesday, four days after a similar tremor caused widespread
damage on
the North Atlantic island. The epicenter of the quake was around 30
to 40
km southeast of the capital near the town of Selfoss. Buildings were
shaken in Reykjavik, in the nearby hot springs town of Hveragerdi and
                         other towns and villages.

Drought hits China's eastern provinces

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Weekend Staff
                         Source: Yahoo!

Wed Jun 21,2000 -- Some 3.2 million people in east China's Shandong
Province are plagued by water shortages due to a protracted drought.
conservation officials said more than 5,000 villages are threatened by
shortages of water. The province has been hit by drought for the last
months. Since September 1998, precipitation was merely 620
the fewest since 1949. Meteorological departments forecast that the
province will not have much rain as high temperatures will continue.
Drought is also striking northeast China's Liaoning, affecting one
hectares of farmland, or a quarter of the province's total. So far,
hectares of crops have died.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Weekend News Today (6/22/00)
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 17:57:57 -0400

UNīs Annan calls upon Israel to
                         withdraw from Jerusalem

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Dateline Israel

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday told PA
Chairman Yassir Arafat during their meeting in Ramallah that he would call
upon Israel to comply with Security Council resolution 338, calling for
Israel to withdraw to the pre-June 1967 border. During the meeting with
the PA leader, Annan stated that it was of significant importance that all
Security Council resolutions are implemented, including 338 and 242.

Millions of jellyfish off coast

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- A swarm of millions of jellyfish, 100 kilometers long
(60 miles) and one-and-a-half kilometers wide (9/10 mile), is currently
located 1 1/2 kilometers off the coast of Israel, from north of Haifa Bay
to south of Ashdod. Within several days the jellyfish could arrive at
Israel's beaches. Dr. Bella Galil, of the Institute of Sea and Lake
Research, has stated that the jellyfish are of the normal variety. Bathers
are recommended to leave the sea as soon as they see jellyfish, since
their sting is especially painful.

PA stealing water from Israel

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- The national water company revealed this week that the
PA is stealing water from Israel. The PA draws water legally from
Ramallah. According to agreements, the PA is allowed to pump 24,000 cubic
meters of water a day, but they have drilled additional wells and have
been taking another 3,000 cubic meters of water per day for the past four
years. The theft of the water would have continued to go unnoticed, but
the PA issued a complaint that they are receiving less water than
authorized. When the national water company investigated the problem they
discovered the illegal wells. Israel has demanded that the PA cease the
stealing of water, close up the wells, and to also close up an additional
well recently dug. To date, nothing has been done. According to PA
sources, the PA is suffering a water shortage, and will continue to pump
water, even at the cost of discord with Israel.

The alarming Kinneret level

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: IsraelWire

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- The (Israel) Water Authority is concerned: the water
level of Lake Kinneret is expected to hit below the emergency red line at
the beginning of the summer. The level is now at 212.3 meters below sea
level. Last week, pumping of water from the Kinneret was almost stopped,
but not because of a water shortage, but because the water was polluted
and dangerous. In three months a demand of the Ministry of Health will go
into effect, which forbids pumping drinking water from Lake Kinneret if
the national water company does not install a new filter. The water level
is currently only 1.7 meters above the red line. There was not enough
rainfall last winter to significantly add to the water reserves.

Turkey and Israel bless any future
                         water deal

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Ha'aretz

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- An Israeli delegation on water met with the Turkish
energy minister yesterday and agreed that that the two governments would
sign the deal, if it is finally made, for the importation of Turkish water
to Israel. According to a senior member of the Israeli delegation, the
endorsement which the two governments have granted to the water
importation deal will minimize the risk inherent on Israel's dependency on
a foreign country for something as vital as water. It should be noted that
one of the issues raised in opposition to the idea of importing water from
Turkey was the development of a dangerous dependency on a vital resource
such as water. According to a senior Israeli delegate, Turkey has invested
$120 million in a project for exporting water but has not found any buyers
for its water. "I estimate that the Turks will do the utmost in reaching
an agreement with Israel over the price of water in order to make use of
their water project."

More Jews in the world though
                         numbers in Diaspora dropping

                         Weekend News Today
                         By Andra Brack
                         Source: Ha'aretz

Thu Jun 22,2000 -- Contrary to previous estimates which spoke of a
constant decrease in the size of the Jewish people, the past two years
have actually seen a small increase of about 100,000, from 13.1 to 13.2
million Jews in the world, according to Prof. Sergio DellaPergola, from
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is an expert on Jewish demography.
He said the new figure was due primarily to developments in the former
Soviet Union, where many individuals who were not recognized as Jews are
now asserting their true identity. However, in the rest of the world
(apart from Israel), the Jewish population is declining steadily by a rate
of some 30,000 a year. Assimilation also continues to rise sharply,
reaching a peak of 75 percent in Germany and Ukraine. The Jewish world is
rapidly approaching a situation of zero natural growth (an identical
number of births and deaths), and a negative natural growth is only being
averted by the natural growth of the Jewish population in Israel. In
addition, DellaPergola said, only 25 percent of the children of mixed
marriages in the United States define themselves as Jews, and the
situation is no different in many other countries.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Satan worship in Mizoram worries church
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:07:41 -0400

June 19, 2000

              Satan worship in Mizoram worries

              AIZAWL: In the dark of the night a mixed group of nude
              high school students huddle together in a circle inside a
              cemetery, holding hands and chanting invocations to Satan.

              In the centre of the circle is placed the skull of a monkey
              with the inscription `natas si dog' which in reverse reads `god
              is Satan'.

              The `worshippers' fall into a trance and one after the other
              slash their wrists in a ritual offering of blood to the fallen

              The popularity of devil worship has caused concern among
              confused parents and teachers, unable to make out whether
              their young are indulging in drug abuse or worse,
              superintendent of police, Aizawl, Zorammawaia told PTI.

              A four-member Aizawl theological college faculty authorised
              by the presbeterian church synod enquired into the latest
              craze for Satan worship and submitted a seven-page report

              A copy of the report was also submitted by church elder,
              Lalliansawta to Zorammawia.

              Boys and girls interviewed by the four-member team were
              said they sought Satan's powers to influence other to earn
              money, and to be successful in examinations, or merely to
              instill fear and awe and earn respect among their peers and
              elders, the report said. (PTI)

Link via:

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - China needs an enemy, expert says
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:00:35 -0500

China needs an enemy, expert says
United Press International - June 21, 2000 20:40


WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) - The Chinese Communist Party's
aggressive military buildup, like that of Nazi Germany and
the former Soviet Union, is fueled by their need to be
seen as fighting outside enemies, a China expert told
lawmakers Wednesday.

"China is carrying out a massive military buildup not
because it faces threats or dangers - it does not - but
rather because it remains a communist dictatorship and
needs enemies," said Arthur Waldron, a professor of
international relations at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Absent some systematic change in China, we can expecta
steady level of military tension with Beijing with the
real possibility of a crisis."

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee,
Waldron also cited the Chinese military's increasing
importance in domestic affairs, stating that it was "in
the leadership's best interest to give them what they
wantwhich is the best and most advanced of everything."

The hearing on China's emerging military comes as
allegations of Chinese espionage at top secret U.S.
weapon's labs, the bombing of the Chinese embassy in
Belgrade and possible arms sales to Taiwan have driven U.S.-
China relations to a three-decade low.

Waldron characterized hints by some policymakers that the
United States loosen ties with Japan so as to appease
China "deeply worrying."

"The pattern is so similar to what occurred before World
War II: the cutting of Japan's alliance with Britain, the
substitution of a weak miltilateral system (and) an
international tilt toward China," said Waldron.

Michael Pillsbury, an adjunct research associate at the
National Defense University, told lawmakers that U.S.
concerns over China are made worse by the intelligence
community's relative ignorance.

"Our government and universities invest very little in
understanding Chinese security issues, probably less than
ten percent of what is spent on analyzing the former
Soviet Union," said Pillsbury. "Perhaps worst of all, our
China specialists disagree vehemently among themselves
about what China's strategy may be."

WbebDx mTy29Uz3jLC3mTy2HPBMe&FQ=v%25upi&Title=Headline

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) Arutz-7 News: Thursday, June 22, 2000
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:01:07 -0500

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:28:09 +0300
From: Arutz-7 Editor <>
Subject: Arutz-7 News: Thursday, June 22, 2000
Send reply to:

Arutz Sheva News Service
Thursday, June 22, 2000 / Sivan 19, 5760
Delivered Daily via Email, Sunday thru Friday
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Take a 20% discount on ALL ArtScroll titles including The
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The Shas party has rejoined the Barak government. At 3 PM today, the
Council of Torah Sages instructed its ministers to withdraw their
of resignation, submitted Tuesday.

In a dramatic move last night, the three Meretz party ministers
on national TV their decision to resign from the government. The
ministers - Yossi Sarid (Education), Ran Cohen (Industry and Trade),
Chaim Oron (Agriculture) - subsequently handed in their resignations
Prime Minister Barak at 10 PM. It was a "calculation for peace",
said. Referring to Shas' struggle to relieve Sarid of his
responsibilities over its school system, the outgoing Education
said: "I have no more energy to continue the battles of the last 11
months, and we have therefore decided to step down, support the
from within the Knesset, in the hope that Shas' return will push
the peace process." Minutes later, the radio waves were a-buzz with
speculation as to whether Shas would accept the opening provided.
and Shas negotiated throughout the night, in talks that lasted until
4 AM.

Shas leader Eli Yeshai emerged from an early-morning meeting with
Ovadiah Yosef and calmly stated that the new situation had indeed
the way back for Shas to the government." The party's Council of
Sages then met for two hours to formally approve the party's return.
race against the clock - the resignations were to have gone into
effect at
3:45 PM - prompted Cabinet Secretary Yitzchak Herzog to utilize the
services of Voice of Israel radio to announce at 2:30 PM that the Shas
ministers "can even withdraw their letters of resignation by phone or

Most of Shas' budgetary demands for its educational network have been
accepted by Barak negotiators. The Prime Minister has decided to
the Education portfolio for the next several weeks. Discussing his
party's about-face, Shas minister Shlomo Benizri said that his party
not come to final agreements with Labor on educational funding, the
licensing of its radio stations, or the diplomatic process. "The
of the first two issues will be ironed out over the next ten days and
then be brought before the Shas Torah Sages for final approval. As
far as
the diplomatic process goes, we have decided to join the National
Religious Party (NRP) and Yisrael B'Aliyah in backing Mr. Barak's
trip to
the upcoming Washington summit, but we have given no assurances that
will accept the outcome of the talks. The Council of Torah Sages will
determine if the agreement is reasonable." A reporter then asked:
"Is the
ceding of over 90% of territory in Judea and Samaria a 'reasonable'
 Benizri: "I caution you not to take at face value announcements by
Yesha Council or other elements on the right..."

Yossi Elituv, a hareidi political correspondent, told Arutz-7 today
Shas will assume a more "hawkish" role in the revised Barak
Minister Yeshai told reporters today: "We are not prepared to be a
stamp on every issue in the diplomatic talks. Each issue will be
on its own merits.."

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Yesha)
called an emergency press conference this afternoon, at which it is
expected to release up-to-date information on the budding Barak-Arafat
diplomatic deal. An urgent letter was dispatched by Yesha officials
Shas leader Yeshai this afternoon, demanding that any revised
agreement include a commitment by Barak to preserve Israeli
over Yesha residents, their communities and approach roads.

In a parallel move, the Yesha Council is exerting intensified pressure
upon the National Religious Party not to wait for the transfer of Abu
to the Palestinians, but to leave the government immediately. Council
members plan to meet with NRP Central Committee members to convince
of the correctness of such a move. The leaders of the NRP and Yisrael
B'Aliyah - Rabbi Levy and Natan Sharansky - met yesterday, however,
agreed that in light of the departure of Meretz, their two parties are
bound to have more influence on government policy and should remain
in the
government for the time being.

Speaking with Arutz-7 today, Yesha Council Secretary-General Shlomo
said: "We have information that, no matter what the composition of the
government, Barak is pressing on, without restraint, towards a deal
the Palestinians and the fate of the Yesha settlement enterprise will
sealed over the next two or three weeks... Anyone who hears the
details of
the far-reaching concessions by Israel to the PA - his hair will
stand on end! The only thing that will stop Barak is pressure, both
other parties, and from the Israeli public. We have our work cut out
us - we have to wake up the public to what is being planned!
after Barak secures a deal with Arafat, he will have no more use for
Yisrael B'Aliyah or the NRP. He'll go straight to elections for a
to implement the deal. Instead of backing Barak's trip to
Washington, the
three parties should abandon Barak, and let him go to Washington as a
lame-duck Prime Minister with no coalition."

Ariel Center for Policy Research Director Arye Stav has some chilling
details on what can be expected of the PLO army and its plans in the
months ahead. "Although the PLO does not boast a full-fledged,
army, as do Egypt and Syria, other factors will come into play such
the PLO will pose a strategic danger for Israel," Stav said. "Upon the
declaration of a Palestinian state, the PLO will mobilize an army of
100,000 soldiers. The PA already possesses 12 divisions with a total
50-60 thousand soldiers. Add to this another 20-30 thousand troops
elsewhere in the Arab world that would quickly join an ensuing
Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane asked: "You're saying that these Arabs will
reach Israel?" Stav: "What do you mean, 'somehow reach Israel?' Many
them are already here! The day after the announcement of a sovereign
Palestinian state, and the so-called right of return, thousands of
will pour into the area - with their weapons."

Stav then added that a very large pool of well-armed Palestinians in
Lebanon, "who are not as organized
as those in Syria or Libya, have undergone basic training, and possess
large caches of ammunition. All told, the Palestinian army could
150,00-160,00 fighters. This compares with the 180,000 permanent
in the IDF. "Although the Palestinians will not have F-15 jets or
tanks, they can do great damage as an organic part of a large
Palestinian army," Stav said.

According to Stav, the Egyptians have quietly and steadily armed the
Palestinians since the onset of the Oslo Accords via shipments of
ammunition through tunnels in the Gaza Strip. "We don't have exact
figures, but the arms include hand-held missiles and anti-tank and
anti-aircraft missile systems. Working out of PA-controlled areas just
five to ten kilometers from Lod's Ben Gurion Airport, Palestinian
could virtually paralyze Israel's commercial air traffic." Stav
that the Palestinians have amassed huge quantities of light weapons,
Kalatchnikov rifles, which can be purchased for $200 a piece in
locations in the Far East. Under Rabin, Israel provided thousands of
rifles to the Palestinian Authority in the early days of Oslo.
lives in Judea or Samaria surely hears the nightly firing of light
in the framework of Palestinian training exercises. The IDF is aware
this, but does nothing about it," he said.

Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, a leading figure in the negotiations
the Palestinians, told the security cabinet yesterday, "I would agree
to a
Palestinian flag waving atop the Temple Mount if that is the price
for a
permanent agreement with the Palestinian Authority." Minister Sarid
agreed, and Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, too, spoke of
concessions in Jerusalem. NRP Housing Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy
against the "rush to concessions," and said that the agreement being
formulated will not lead to the end of the conflict but is only
interim stage.

Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein will meet with police
today to discuss the illegal Waqf construction on the Temple Mount.
police have prepared a "grave" report on the happenings on the Temple
Mount. Jerusalem Municipality representatives are upset that they
not invited to the meeting.

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert told Arutz-7 today that his municipal
representatives were not invited to today's meeting "because we aren't
pleasant to listen to; we present issues as they are and not in a
distorted fashion. But what I can I do? When I see archeologists and
writers from all sectors of society jointly labeling the Temple Mount
desecration a 'crime,' I can't be silent. Aside from the destruction
of a
site of such tremendous historical significance, what's going on is a
brazen violation of the law! The Waqf thinks it is in charge of the
Mount, and nobody is telling it any differently," Olmert said.

News Editor Haggai Segal cited the oft-heard claim that a decision by
Israel to enforce the law on the Mount would ignite the entire Middle
 "I think that this approach invites the Arab reaction," Olmert
"I'm not proposing going up on the Mount with tanks, but there is a
that must be enforced, in a respectful way and in a manner that will
permit religious freedom for all." Mayor Olmert said that the city
conducts regular inspections to see what is going on there, but that
Atty.-Gen. Elyakim Rubenstein consistently stands in the way of the
enforcement of the law. The Jerusalem municipality's legal advisor is
obligated according to law to adhere to Rubenstein's instructions. If
Olmert attempts to press the issue, he must do so by hiring his own
private legal counsel, "which I plan to do," he asserted.

In the deal struck between Labor and Shas today, the latter has
agreed to vote against the next Knesset reading of the bill to
the Knesset. The apparent collapse of the center-religious-right
that had threatened the Barak government over the last month has made
obsolete the Likud's promise to Shas that it, the Likud, would not
join a
Barak-led national unity government. Mayors from both the Likud and
parties throughout Israel today circulated a manifesto calling for
such a
government, and 50 regional council heads have already signed it.

Speaking with Arutz-7 today, Likud MK Silvan Shalom rejected such an
option. "There must be joint guiding principles on which such a
could operate," he said, "and we are guided by a clear ideology that
very different than that of Labor. Barak is prepared to give up the
entire Golan, and his failure to do so was not because of an argument
a few meters on the Kinneret Sea, but because he knew it would not
pass in
either the Knesset or a national referendum. Aside from also being
prepared to give up over 90% of Yesha, Yossi Beilin is prepared to
have a
PLO flag wave over the Temple Mount, which, since it came into our
is recognized as the holiest site for the Jewish people."

The State Prosecution has finished presenting its case in the trial
of the
managers of Arutz-7 Radio. The station's lawyers, attorneys Dan Sela
Giorah Aderet, maintained at this week's court session that the
prosecution had not proven that Arutz-7 - which transmits from the
sea -
transgressed any broadcasting law. Arutz-7's lawyers noted that many
the same political figures who spent great efforts defending Abie
Voice of Peace ship during the 22 years which it broadcast, were
the campaign to shut down Arutz-7. Attorneys Sela and Aderet plan to
to the witness stand such figures including former Ministers of
Communications, Yossi Sarid, and former Chiefs of Israel's police
department to explain why they did not act against - and even
encouraged -
Abie Nathan's broadcasts.

 The IDF this morning destroyed three tunnels that linked Egyptian
territory with Rafah, in Gaza. The tunnels, dug out by Palestinians,
were used to funnel ammunition to terrorist groups operating out of PA
territory, as well as for the smuggling of narcotics and other
 Hundreds of protestors from the Har Hevron region crowded outside the
Prime Minister's Jerusalem residence last night, rallying against the
intention to evacuate them or abandon them to the mercies of the PA.
Similar protests were staged outside the homes of the other 22
 IDF soldiers dispersed a violent demonstration of Palestinians
opening of a concessions stand at the National Parks Authority site
on Mt.
Gerizim in Samaria. The stand is operated by residents of the
Jewish community of Har Bracha, who received permits from the

This past Tuesday marked the anniversary of the sinking of the ship,
Altalena, and a special ceremony was held in the Nachalat Yitzchak
cemetery in memory of the 16 Jewish victims of the ship. "Herut
Magshimim" - the youth branch of the world Herut organization is
that the Education Ministry include a unit on the sinking of the
in the standard school curriculum. Herut Magshimim spokesperson Sara
Tipinsky told Arutz-7 that "when the Altalena was fired upon, it
lifted a
white flag of surrender. Nevertheless, Ben Gurion's troops continued
fire on the ship fully aware that his rival Menachem Begin was
aboard. ...
The Altalena slaughter was a planned political assassination with the
blessing of the government. Can you imagine if the government decided
tomorrow morning to liquidate the Likud party leadership. Would the
have to carry out the order?"

Tipinsky's organization insists that schools first and foremost teach
facts. "We feel as if the educational system is suffering from
she said. "Many students have never heard of the Altalena and
therefore have no idea of what transpired on the ship." Tipinsky said
that she had contacted then-Education Minister Yossi Sarid two weeks
on the issue, but had not received a response.

Following is one account of the final minutes before the sinking of
ship: "[Menachem] Begin had meanwhile boarded the Altalena, which was
heading for Tel Aviv. He hoped that it would be possible to enter
into a
dialogue with the Provisional Government and to unload the remaining
weapons peacefully. But this was not the case. Ben-Gurion ordered
Yadin (acting Chief of Staff) to concentrate large forces on the Tel
beach and to take the ship by force. Heavy guns were transferred to
area and at four in the afternoon, Ben-Gurion ordered the shelling of
Altalena. One of the shells hit the ship, which began to burn. There
danger that the fire would spread to the holds which contained
and the captain ordered all aboard to abandon ship. People jumped
into the
water, whilst their comrades on shore set out to meet them on rafts.
Although the captain flew the white flag of surrender, automatic fire
continued to be directed at the unarmed survivors. Begin, who was on
agreed to leave the ship only after the last of the wounded had been
evacuated.... Sixteen Irgun fighters were killed in the confrontation
the army; six were killed in the Kfar Vitkin area and ten on Tel Aviv
beach..." The full story of the events leading up to the sinking of
Altalena can be seen at

Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal and Haggai Seri
English News Editor: Ron Meir

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - New species found on underwater volcanoes
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:02:46 -0500

( "thought to have been extinct for tens of millions of years"? What
the evolutionist's response to a lack of "evolution" in these
species????, Come to think of it I haven't seen the evolutionist
explanation of the complexity of the genome of created creatures,
Darwin can't get them there...Anybody else heard?)

New species found on underwater volcanoes
Hundreds of new species, some dating back to the time of the
have been found living on extinct underwater volcanoes. Scientists
in the Tasman Sea, off Tasmania, say some of the creatures were
thought to
have been extinct for tens of millions of years. The corals, sponges
other organisms live on the former volcanoes known as sea mounts
to Marine research scientist Tony Koslow said the
could be as important as shallow water reefs. "It means that the
ocean is
much more diverse than previously thought and the risk of the
becomes much greater because sea mounts are heavily-fished throughout
world." Last updated: 14:59 Thursday 22nd June 2000.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Israel, up against the wall
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:04:37 -0500

Israel, up against the wall

The Jewish nation must decide who's in charge: The religion, the
state or
all of the above.

By Samuel G. Freedman
June 22, 2000

Whether the Shas party will indeed break permanently from
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's coalition, or whether
it has just been practicing its usual reckless bluffing
this week, the ultra-Orthodox party's importance to
peacemaking is as clear as ever. Bizarre as it seems, the
completion of a final accord between Israel and the
Palestinians may well hinge on Barak's response to the Shas
demand that he order a mult-million dollar bailout of the
religious schools that serve the party's poor Sephardic
constituency. And simultaneously, if less visibly, Barak's
power struggle with Shas underscores a deep controversy
within the nation, one with ramifications for the
fundamental nature of the Jewish state: the conflict
between secular and religious forces in Israel. Last month,
the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that an all-female group be
allowed to conduct religious services at the Western Wall,
the holiest site in Judaism and the most historically
important in Israel. Because of twin claims on the massive
brick rampart, one theological and the other nationalistic,
the court's decision dramatically intensified an ongoing
conflict over the balance between religion and the civil
state in Israel. At a time when the Barak government has
been trying to finesse various compromises to avoid a
direct showdown between secular and spiritual elements in
Israeli society, the court bluntly asserted the supremacy
of the state over religious authority. To American eyes,
the friction between Orthodox and non-Orthodox worshipers
at the Western Wall appears to be a struggle about women's
rights or pluralism, as the Reform and Conservative
branches that dominate American Jewry vie for recognition
in the Holy Land. Within Israel, however, all those issues
are subsidiary to a far larger debate over the nature of
the nation. From the earliest stages of Zionism, decades
before Israel was founded, the nation's secular and
religious elements have been ambiguously, ambivalently and
yet inextricably bound together. Now that marriage of both
necessity and convenience is breaking up. The Supreme Court
ruling in the decade-old suit brought by Women of the Wall,
a group of Jewish feminists from across the denominational
spectrum, comes as the latest in a series of decisions that
have inflamed the ultra-Orthodox community. Those decisions
have also troubled the more moderate Orthodox figures
trying to negotiate solutions that would stop short of
bringing Israel an American-style separation of church and
state. In February 1999, well before the Women at the Wall
judgment, a quarter-million haredi Orthodox -- so named
because they tremble in awe at God -- had rallied to
denounce the Supreme Court as a "judicial dictatorship."
Meanwhile, 50,000 secular Israelis were gathering nearby to
liken the Orthodox rabbinical leaders to Iran's
fundamentalist mullahs and Afghanistan's Taliban. In the
wake of the recent ruling, those tensions have risen again.
Early in June, the religious parties in the parliament
joined with the right-wing Likud opposition to give initial
approval to a bill that would establish a seven-year prison
sentence for any woman reading from Torah scrolls or
wearing a prayer shawl at the Wall. (The bill must pass two
more readings in order to become law.) When 75 members of
Women of the Wall, the group that brought the Supreme Court
case, prayed there on June 4 for the first time since the
ruling in their favor, they were heckled and harassed by
ultra-Orthodox men. The Barak regime's philosophy of
diplomacy did pass one major test June 9 on the holiday of
Shavuot. A mixed-gender congregation of Conservative Jews
managed to worship without being attacked, as they had been
for the past several years. But rather than pray as usual
on the main plaza of the Kotel, as the Western Wall is
known in Hebrew, they gathered in a separate area known as
Robinson's Arch. And even though the government provided
the 200 congregants with prayer books, Torah scrolls, an
ark -- and police protection -- the leaders of the
Conservative movement insist that they will accept
Robinson's Arch only during a 12-month trial program. "We
continue to insist on our right to pray in the Kotel
plaza," said Rabbi Andrew Sacks, who leads the Conservative
services. The Reform movement has refused to use Robinson's
Arch on even a temporary basis, with Rabbi Eric Yoffie,
president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations
ridiculing the setting's "back-of-the-bus" status.


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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - E-mail hoax keeps Florida deputies busy
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 21:10:34 -0500

E-mail hoax keeps Florida deputies busy
United Press International - June 22, 2000 14:22

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 22 (UPI) -- Deputies at the Duval
County Sheriff's Office in Jacksonville, Fla., are busy
Thursday fielding calls about an e-mail hoax that claims
people are being infected with the virus that causes AIDS
from hypodermic needles hidden in gas pump handles.

More than 1,000 phone calls and e-mails questioning the
information have been received from as far away as
California. The e-mail, which has been in circulation for
about a week, is entitled, "A dangerous prank going
around." It warns people to inspect handles at self-serve
gas pumps before using them to be sure no needle is
concealed. It purports to be from "Capt. Abraham Sands" of
the "Jacksonville Police Department." No officer with that
name has ever worked for the agency, which has been called
the Duval County Sheriff's Office since the city and county
merged in 1968.

Another 200 calls were received just on Tuesday by the
Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund because the words
"Jacksonville Police" are in the fund's name.

DSO spokesman John Turner said they have received no
reports of any hypodermic needles at gas pumps and they
have no idea how the hoax message started. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said there are no
reported cases of AIDS transmission through needle sticks
to anyone who was not a health care worker.

The Sheriff's Office is trying to determine if there is a
way to stop the rumor. Turner said while the e-mail is a
nuisance, someone who sends it has broken no laws.

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