BPR Mailing List Digest
June 25, 2000

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Astrologist releases taped converations with Mitterrand
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 09:02:11 -0400

Saturday, June 24 10:39 PM SGT

Astrologist releases taped converations with Mitterrand

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) -

Astrologist Elizabeth Teissier, has decided to publish transcripts of taped
conversations she had with former French president Francois Mitterrand
between 1990 and 1995, she said Saturday.

"I want to respond to all kinds of insinuations which have cast doubt over the
purely professional discussions between Mitterrand and myself, and to
demonstrate the importance of astrology in politics," she told AFP.

Mitterrand's daughter Mazarine Pingeot said Saturday that her father, who
served as president from 1981 to 1995, did not seek Teissier's advice to
make important decisions.

"It is all laughable and unimportant," she said.

The tapes reveal Teissier advising Mitterrand on such subjects as the
government of former prime minister Edith Cresson and the date of the
French referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, according to extracts printed by
pay-TV station Canal Plus in the written version of one of its programs.

Teissier claimed Mitterrand had called upon her often during the Gulf War,
she said, adding that the former president was keen to seek her advice
despite his skeptical and rational nature.

In one extract, Mitterrand asks for advice about the timing of a speech at the
beginning of the conflict in January 1991:

"I am going to have to intervene. Which, according to you, is the best day?"
Mitterrand asks.

"In the coming days?" Teissier replies.

"Sunday, Monday, Tuesday," Mitterrand answers.

"I will have to look into that, because I can't tell you point-blank like that,"
she says.

"Come and see me," he finishes.

Teissier said that she met Mitterrand in 1989 at his request, and that she
recorded their conversations from 1990 onwards with his consent.

"The idea of recording came to me very quickly, but with his permission, of
course. It was the only proof for me that it was all real," she said.

"After several meetings, I went to see him with my recorder. He was taken
aback. I told him it was for my grandchildren, and eventually to write a book."

Teissier, who held her meetings with Mitterrand at the Elysee Palace except
in 1995, when their conversations took place on the telephone, had already
revealed the content of her interviews in a book published three years ago.

It was only after recent press speculation about their relationship that she
decided to publish the transcripts, she said.

The head of the Francois Mitterrand Institute, Jean-Louis Bianco, declined to
comment on the revelations.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Israeli gay pride parade becomes venue for religious-secular battle
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 08:35:08 -0500

Israeli gay pride parade becomes venue for religious-secular battle
June 23, 2000

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) -- Celebrating gay pride, thousands
of Israelis in tank tops and shorts danced to deafening
music and waved rainbow-colored flags Friday.

The annual street party has become the latest venue in the
culture war between secular Israelis and devout Jews who
consider homosexuality an abomination.

"We promise to support your struggle against the
religious," legislator Tommy Lapid, leader of the secular
rights party Shinui, told the cheering crowd.

In recent years, gays and lesbians in Israel have scored a
string of successes in the courts, though not in
parliament, where ultra-Orthodox religious parties have
considerable clout.

Last month, the Supreme Court allowed a lesbian spouse to
be registered as the second parent of her partner's
biological son. In 1994, same sex unions were recognized
for benefit purposes.

The court rulings have coincided with growing public
acceptance of gays. Just a few years ago, public displays
of gay pride were unheard of in Israel. By contrast, gays
were hugging and kissing in Tel Aviv's central Rabin Square
in 1998 to celebrate the transsexual singer Dana
International's victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Over the last few years, the gay pride parade has drawn
more and more people.

On Friday, Rabin Square was lined with Israeli flags and
the rainbow banners of the gay pride movement. Techno music
blared from loudspeakers mounted on trucks.

Some in the parade donned elaborate costumes, while others
wore shorts and T-shirts. Families brought their children,
and some heterosexual couples walked hand-in-hand.

There were no religious protests. Tel Aviv is an
overwhelmingly secular city, and the parade was being held
just before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, during which
observant Jews refrain from work and travel.

Taking a break from the blazing heat, Kinneret Golan said
the scene made her feel that Israel was no different from
other countries.

"You only see pictures of Israel when rocks are being
thrown. I'm proud that despite everything we can still do
this," she said.

Golan said that in the increasingly bitter culture war
between Israel's secular majority and the devout minority,
the distrust is so great that "each side defines itself as
the opposite of what the other is."

Therefore, she said, many secular Israelis will support
causes as long as they are denounced by the religious

Lapid, standard bearer of the secular fight against what
he calls religious coercion, said his party and the
homosexual movement are natural partners.

Next week, a bill proposing recognition of same-sex civil
unions will be up for approval. However, Lapid said it will
likely fail because of the influence of the religious

Some of those dancing in the parade said they paid little
heed to politics. "Who cares what they do in the Knesset?
Look at this celebration," said Anat Schumaker, one of the

"We're here and they can't do anything to stop us"

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Israel's gays fear rise of the rabid rabbis
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 08:50:33 -0500

Israel's gays fear rise of the rabid rabbis

By Phil Reeves in Tel Aviv

25 June 2000

On a bright blue Tel Aviv day, in the square where Yitzhak
Rabin was assassinated, two young men wrap one another in
their arms.

They are wearing white pork-pie hats, and shorts so small
and tight you can see the loose change in their back
pockets (and more besides). Joyously, their faces meet for
a busy, prolonged Ray-Ban to Ray-Ban snog.

You would not bat an eyelid were this cameo in San
Francisco or Sydney. But here it is startling. Is this not
Israel, where stones are thrown at women in short sleeves
who stray into religious neighbourhoods, where a five-star
international hotel fears losing its kosher certificate –
thus going out of business – if its chefs chop their
parsley too finely on the Sabbath?

At least 8,000 people took to the streets on Friday for
Tel Aviv's third annual gay pride march, a happy and noisy
cavalcade of drag queens and painted, bare-torsoed dancers
parading through the hot streets beneath the rainbow-
coloured standard of the gay community worldwide.

Liberal Israel was out in force, heterosexuals included,
providing more proof that the country's secular majority
can be as zealous and determined as the religious fanatics
who oppose it. The display could hardly have been more

A day earlier, the prime minister, Ehud Barak, had saved
his coalition from collapse by persuading Shas, a party run
by ultra-Orthodox rabbis, to remain in government. That
followed his two agonising weeks of coaxing and cajoling
the rabbis, caving in to one demand after another.

In the end, he was forced to sacrifice three ministers
from the left-wing Meretz party, giving victory to Shas, a
party with a leadership about as sexually enlightened as
Saudi Arabia (sentence for cross-dressing: 2,500 lashes).

High in the Shas hierarchy is Shlomo Benizri. In the past,
Mr Benizri – Israel's health minister, no less – has
described homosexuality as a sickness, and suggested gays
should be committed to mental institutions.

The Israeli gay community has warily watched events
unfold. "We are seeing the religious parties getting bigger
and bigger," said Gidon Bennett, 48, an English teacher,
who was in the gay pride march. "The fear is that one day
they could become the largest party in the country. If they
ever got to power here, there would be a civil war."

For Noam Mol-Gal, a 27-year-old Tel Aviv student, it was
further proof of the need for the gay community to be
permanently on its guard. "There are plenty of people who
want to turn back the clock." Despite this, Israel has made
astonishing progress with gay rights.

Twelve years ago homosexuality was decriminalised, much to
the disgust of the ultra-Orthodox who regard it is a
profound sin – an "abomination", according to Leviticus.

In 1992, Israel prohibited discrimination against gays in
the workplace. The following year, the army decided to
allow openly homosexual soldiers to serve in any capacity.

There was another breakthrough in 1994, when the Supreme
Court required the national airline, El Al, to grant full
spousal benefits to the same-sex domestic partner of an
airline employee (two years later, the military courts
followed suit, allowing gay partners to receive the
benefits of fallen soldiers).

When the transsexual singer Dana International won the
1998 Eurovision song contest, gay Israel donned its sequins
and feathers to dance in the streets.

Fiercely secular Tel Aviv has a lesbian city councillor,
the first openly gay elected official in Israel, and a
municipality willing to fund gay pride events. Although the
Knesset, which sits 60 miles away in holy, hung-up
Jerusalem, has yet to come out of the closet, the gay
community at least has a champion in the chamber – Yael
Dayan, the daughter of Moshe Dayan.

The latest victory was last month when the Supreme Court
gave an Israeli lesbian couple the right to be registered
as the mothers of a son born to one of them.

But it is not all rosy. Social attitudes lag behind the
law. Life for the "haredi" (ultra-Orthodox) gays is
particularly painful, not least because coming out means
ostracisation by their peers. Support groups, which include
one called "Orthodykes", see this issue as their hardest

Gays complain that Israelis use the word "homo" when they
mean "idiot"; gays walking hand-in-hand in any other town
than Tel Aviv are sure to be jeered at. And there are the
occasional nasty incidents, when drunken young Russians
decide to drop by the gay bars for a spot of goading.

"You get jokes, sick jokes," said Mr Bennett. "The laws
are more progressive than the people. Here, 'homo' also
means 'Aids'. We are all seen as infected by HIV." That
particular prejudice was strikingly illustrated two years
ago when the police turned up at a gay rally in Tel Aviv
wearing Latex gloves. The gay movement was, understandably,

You would expect similar sentiments to be directed at Mr
Barak, given his eagerness to appease the rabbis from Shas.
Not so. This week one gay pride marcher after another said
they understood why their prime minister has to make
political compromises.

"Barak needs a strong coalition if he is going to achieve
peace," said Russell Lord, 42, a Tel Aviv travel agent. "He
is the only only who can bring peace. He has no choice."

Mr Barak is a lucky man. At least some of his electorate
believes peace with the Palestinians is paramount, even if
that means living with a government containing a minister
who thinks they are mad.


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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Sheikh Yamani predicts price crash as age of oil ends
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 11:53:36 -0500

ISSUE 1857
Sunday 25 June 2000

Sheikh Yamani predicts price crash as age of oil ends
By Mary Fagan, Deputy City Editor

Farewell to riches of the earth

SHEIKH YAMANI, the former Saudi oil minister, has told The
Telegraph that he expects a cataclysmic crash in the price
of oil in the next five years.

In an unprecedented personal interview, Sheikh Yamani also
predicts that, within a few decades, vast reserves of oil
will lie unwanted and the "oil age" will come to an end.

In an interview with Gyles Brandreth, he says: "Thirty
years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no
buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came
to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil
age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil."

Sheikh Yamani, who was Saudi Arabia's oil minister from
1962 to 1986 and is now in charge of an energy consultancy,
became the public face of the revolutionary oil policy that
altered the balance of world power in the early Seventies.

He predicts that a combination of recent oil discoveries,
the advance of new technology, and heavy investment in
exploration and production will all lead to a collapse in
the price of crude. He says: "I have no illusion - I am
positive there will be some time in the future a crash in
the price of oil. I can tell you with a degree of
confidence that after five years there will be a sharp drop
in the price of oil."

Fuel-cell motor technology - which can produce electricity
by combining hydrogen from a variety of fuels with oxygen
from the air - will have a dramatic impact on the oil
market, he predicts. "This is coming before the end of the
decade and will cut gasoline consumption by almost 100 per
cent. Imagine a country like the United States, the largest
consuming nation, where more than 50 per cent of their
consumption is gasoline. If you eliminate that, what will
happen?" Saudi Arabia, he says, "will have serious economic

His remarks follow last week's agreement by the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries - in which
Saudi Arabia is the dominant force - to a marginal rise in
production of 708,000 barrels a day in response to mounting
concern in the US and other major consuming countries over
the high price of oil. Prices per barrel have been hovering
at around $30, compared with $10 at the beginning of last
year. But industry experts have given warning that Opec's
latest production increase will not be enough to ease the

In the interview, Sheikh Yamani forecasts that prices will
stay high temporarily because of demand in the US and parts
of Asia. But he argues that this price obscures the likely
long-term effect of "huge" recent discoveries in regions
such as the Caspian Sea, Yemen, Egypt and Africa. He also
predicts that Iraq, which is capable of producing 6.5
million barrels a day, will become a bigger supplier before

He says: "On the supply side it is easy to find oil and
produce it, and on the demand side there are so many new
technologies, especially when it comes to automobiles."
Yamani believes that automobile engine technologies
including fuel cells - which can produce electricity by
combining hydrogen from a variety of fuels with oxygen from
the air - will drastically reduce oil consumption and that,
in the longer term, no one will need oil.

His views reflect those of many in the industry, although
few would go so far as to predict an end to the use of oil.
Vincent Cable, a former chief economist at Shell and now
industry spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "People
in the industry would not be surprised by a vision of the
future with relatively weak prices, but punctuated by
occasional price shocks."

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