BPR Mailing List Digest
June 28, 2000

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Leave Temple Mount under Palestinians, chief rabbi declares
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 08:35:01 -0400

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Leave Temple Mount under Palestinians, chief rabbi declares

                  By Baruch Kra
                  Ha'aretz Correspondent

For the first time, a chief rabbi of Israel has declared that the Temple Mount
should remain under Palestinian administration even after the permanent
settlement is signed.

A written declaration to that effect, on official Chief Rabbinate stationery, was
sent by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron with an Israeli delegation
to an interfaith meeting with Muslim and Christian Palestinians that was held
in Milan.

The Israeli delegation included rabbis, among them the personal emissary of
Rabbi Bakshi-Doron.

Another proposal made by the Israeli delegation called for the establishment
of an interfaith council that would be responsible foe all the holy places in
Jerusalem, particularly the Temple Mount.

The meeting was organized by two academics, Yair Hirschfeld and Ron
Pundak - who were instrumental in bringing about the talks that led to the
Oslo Accords in 1993 - together with East Jerusalem's Arab Studies
Society, headed by Faisal Husseini.

The purpose of the gathering was to seek arrangements for control of the
holy places, principally the ultrasensitive Temple Mount, ahead of the
permanent settlement.

Pundak and Hirschfeld, who maintain that the Temple Mount constitutes the
major stumbling block for achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty,
invited senior leaders of the three faiths to the meeting. The conference was
held under the auspices of the European Union and an Italian peace group,
which oversaw the technical arrangements.

Among those who attended the meeting were Hayan al-Idrisi, an imam and
qadi, or judge, on the Muslim sharia court, considered to be one of the
extremist Muslim leaders in Jerusalem; Majdi Siriani, a Roman Catholic
priest prominent in the city's Christian community; Prof. Nazami Juaba from
Bir Zeit University in the West Bank; and two Jerusalem members of the
Palestinian parliament, Khatem Abdel Kader and Ahmed al Batash. The
Vatican sent an observer to the meeting.

Bakshi-Doron's personal representative in the Israeli delegation was Rabbi
David Brodman, the chief rabbi of Savyon, near Tel Aviv. Brodman, who has
considerable experience in negotiations with the Palestinians, came with the
surprising message from Israel's Sephardi chief rabbi.

Others in the Israeli delegation, besides Pundak and Hirschfeld, were Rabbi
Sirat, a former French chief rabbi; Rabbi David Rosen, the chairman of the
Anti-Defamation League in Israel; and Prof. Aharon Kleiman from Tel Aviv

The last time the Israeli Chief Rabbinate addressed the status of the Temple
Mount was after the 1967 war. At that time the chief rabbis agreed that the
site would be administered by the Palestinians as part of the status quo
arrangements that preceded the signing of any agreements.

Since then, chief rabbis have made only indirect references to the issue, and
all from the hawkish side - such as Rabbis Avraham Shapira, Mordechai
Eliahu and Shlomo Goren - based on their desire to apply Israeli sovereignty
to the Temple Mount.

"For the good of the peace," Bakshi-Doron wrote, "we find that at the present
point in time, a declaration should be made of our understandings regarding
the holy places in Jerusalem ... We must respect the status quo of those
places, especially of the Temple Mount, which to others is known as the
area of Al Aqsa Mosque. We must be concerned at any change in this
status quo, as that could cause harm to the place and lead to bloodshed ...

"Instead of doing injury to the holy places, we must respect and accept the
status quo of the holy places.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) The Approaching Battle for Jerusalem and the War of Gog
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 08:40:35 -0400

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date forwarded: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 11:29:04 -0400
Date sent: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 18:29:48 +0300
From: Temple Mount Faithful <>
Subject: The Approaching Battle for Jerusalem and the War of Gog and Magog
Forwarded by:

The Approaching Battle for Jerusalem and the War of Gog and Magog

As we have previously stated in this news-letter, Israel
is now living in the most critical time in her history. On
the one hand Israel is in the midst of her godly end-time
redemption while on the other hand she is in the midst of
the political and violent attacks of he Arab enemies in the
Middle East together with their backing of many Islamic
nations as well as their supporters all over the world led
by the UN and the President of the United States, Bill

Using the false and evil Oslo so-called “Peace”
agreements, they cut off piece after piece from the body
of the land of Israel and give them to the foreign so-
called “Palestinian Authority” which was planted by them in
the midst of the land of Israel and which grows like a
cancer in the midst of the body of the Holy Land of
Israel. These agreements were signed by the weak and
secular government of Israel under the pressure of the
above powers. Now these powers are putting pressure on
Israel to give away more parts of the land and the main
pressure is now on Jerusalem, the capital of the G–d and
people of Israel.

The terrorist and murderer, Yasser Arafat, has stated that
there will never be peace and that he will renew the
Intifada, the battle against Israel, unless Israel agrees
to give him Jerusalem as the capital of a “Palestinian”
state and give up her sovereignty over Jerusalem. More
than this, he is demanding all the area of Judea, Samaria
and Gaza to be immediately given to him and that on 13th
September, or earlier, he will declare a “Palestinian”
state in those areas with Jerusalem as its capital which he
knows that the UN and all the nations will recognise.
President Clinton is now acting to hold a summit in
Washington DC together with the Prime Minister Barak and
Yasser Arafat and there to put further pressure on Barak
and force him to agree to Arafat´s demands.

The agents of Arafat on the Temple Mount are now in the
midst of an intensive, violent campaign to destroy and
remove all the remains of the First and Second Temples and
to change the identity of the Temple Mount into an Islamic
site. They realise that, whether they want it or not, the
Third Temple is going to be built on the Temple Mount as a
major event in G–d´s end-time prophetic plans. By this
barbaric violence against the G–d and people of Israel
they try to prevent this even through such a terrible
revolt and violence against G–d and His holy house. As we
have stated, they bitter illusions if they think that they
can succeed in doing so but it is a terrible sin and a
shame for them and that the weak Israeli Government and
everyone in the world allows them to do this.

In a speech which Arafat gave in Ramallah (the Biblical
city of the Hill of G–d, Givat Elohim, and was a Jewish
city settled by Jews but occupied by the Arabs in 630 CE)
he stated that he is ready for a war and that he is not
afraid of the Israeli tanks and aircraft. The same threats
of war are coming closer and closer to Israel from the
north from the Hisb´allah terrorist organisation in
Lebanon which has stated that their battle will not stop
until they have occupied Jerusalem. The same spirit of war
is coming form Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt, all these
enemies of Israel who are preparing their weapons
including nuclear, biological and chemical warheads and who
are preparing their forces to destroy Israel. The UN and
the European Union have stated on more than one occasion
and made resolutions that Jerusalem is not the capital of
Israel but occupied territory and that Israel should
withdraw from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

All of this brings Israelis to the conclusion that the
time is very critical and that the prophecies of the
prophet Ezekiel about the War of Gog and Magog against
Israel and Zechariah´s and other prophets´ prophecies about
the war of all the nations against the land of Israel and
Jerusalem are soon to be fulfilled. Never since the
foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 has Israel felt
that the black clouds of this terrible war were so close to
Jerusalem. This war will not be a simple war and Israel
will pay a high price because of the sinful weakness over
her leadership in signing false agreements with the agents
of the devil and not with the G–d of Israel. Zechariah
states that half of the population of Jerusalem will go
into exile. However, the Israelis, after great
disappointment in the behaviour of their leadership, are
coming closer to the G–d of Israel and understanding that
they can only trust in their One Father, the G–d of Israel,
Who saved has repeatedly saved them over the last 4000
years and Who will save them again now from all those
powers and nations who will attack them and that He will
severely judge all their enemies as He promised in His
Word. “Son of man, set your face against Gog, the land of
Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy
against him, And say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am
against you, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;
.. After many days you shall be called upon; in the
latter years you shall come against the land that is
brought back from the sword, and is gathered from many
peoples, against the mountains of Israel, which have been
always waste; but it is brought out from the nations, and
they shall dwell safely all of them. You shall ascend and
come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the
land, you, and all your bands, and many people with you.
.. And you shall come up against my people of Israel,
like a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter
days, and I will bring you against my land, that the
nations may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you, O
Gog, before their eyes. ... And it shall come to pass on
that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel,
says the Lord God, that my fury shall be roused. For in my
jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely
in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of
Israel; ... And I will contend with him by pestilence and
by blood; and I will rain down upon him, and upon his
bands, and upon the many people that are with him, a
torrential rain, and great hailstones, fire, and
brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify
myself; and I will make myself known in the eyes of many
nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. ... You
shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you, and all your
bands, and the peoples that are with you; I will give you
to the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of
the field to be devoured. ... And I will send a fire on
Magog, and among those who dwell securely in the islands;
and they shall know that I am the Lord. And I will make my
holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I
will not let them profane my holy name any more; and the
nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in
Israel.” (Ezekiel 38:2,3,8,9,16,18,19,22,23; 39:4,6,7) “For
I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and
the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the
women raped; and half of the city shall go into exile, and
the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the
city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those
nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. ...
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the
people around, and it shall also be against Judah in the
siege against Jerusalem. And on that day I will make
Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all who
burden themselves with it shall be grievously hurt. And all
the peoples of the earth shall be gathered together
against it. ... And the Lord shall be king over all the
earth; on that day the Lord shall be one, and his name
one. All the land shall be changed like the Arabah from
Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she shall be lifted
up, and remain in her place, from the Gate of Benjamin to
the place of the first gate, to the Corner Gate, and from
the Tower of Hananeel to the king's wine presses. ... And
men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter
destruction; but Jerusalem shall dwell secure.” (Zechariah
14:2,3;12:2,3,6,9; 14:9,11)

The prophet Zechariah states that the weapons (the
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons) used against
Israel will backfire and will hurt the enemies of Israel
and not Israel: “And this shall be the plague with which
the Lord will strike all the people who fought against
Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand
upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in
their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in
their mouth. And it shall come to pass on that day, that a
great panic from the Lord shall be among them; and they
shall lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbour, and
his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.”
(Zechariah 14:12,13)

We know that the coming time will not be an easy time in
Israel. This will be the climax of all the end-time
troubles which Israel through which Israel is now passing.
Israel must trust in G–d and be strong and, together with
the G–d of Israel, we will overcome these terrible events.
The G–d of Israel is determined to accomplish the
redemption of Israel and all the universe and nothing can
or will prevent Him.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement and
all the others in Israel who are with the G–d of Israel
and who are in His army to serve and fight with all their
devotion and dedication for Him and His end-time plans are
ready to face these events and their challenges as they
have been up to this time. We do not fear the enemies of
the G–d and people of Israel but only G–d and we trust and
love Him and we shall continue to serve Him and His
prophetic plans with all the strength which He gave us.

We warn all the enemies of Israel and their allies all
over the world that G–d will severely judge and punish
them because of their violence and there battles to
destroy Israel.

To all the wonderful friends of Israel all over the world
who decided to be with the G–d and people of Israel at
this great and critical time we send our sincerest thanks
and love and the deep appreciation of the G–d and people
of Israel. Exactly as the prophets prophesied, you will be
redeemed together with the people of Israel whom you love
and support with such devotion. It is so good to know
that, together with the G–d of Israel, we have righteous
friends and brothers and sisters like you who have placed
themselves together with Israel at a time when it is so
needed. You are an important sign, example and a great
hope for this prophetic, godly time in which we are now
living. Continue to be strong with the G–d and people of
Israel and the G–d of Israel and the Universe will continue
to bless you richly.

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

To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) Gas Field Found Off Gaza Strip
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 08:14:43 -0500

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 18:12:29 -0400
Subject: Gas Field Found Off Gaza Strip

Gas Field Found Off Gaza Strip

Associated Press
June 26, 2000; 7:21 p.m. EDT

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –– A large natural gas field recently discovered
near the shoreline of the Gaza Strip has enough gas to supply
Palestinian areas as well as neighboring countries, Palestinian
officials said Monday.

Mohammed Rashid, an economic aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat,
wouldn't say exactly how large the natural gas field is. But he said
it is big enough to also supply Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.

The Gaza Strip – along southern Israel's coast and adjacent to the
Egyptian border – is jointly administered by Israel and the
Palestinian Authority. Another large natural gas field was found in
the area in September, during a search for an ancient shipwreck off
the coast of Israel, Gaza and Egypt.

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

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) Russia's Gorbachev Visits Vatican
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 08:14:43 -0500

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 18:08:47 -0400
Subject: Russia's Gorbachev Visits Vatican

Russia's Gorbachev Visits Vatican

Associated Press
June 27, 2000; 3:54 p.m. EDT

VATICAN CITY –– He sat between two clerics, quoted the pope and helped
plug a book recounting a cardinal's battle against church repression
in the Soviet bloc.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's poll ratings are sagging at
home, but he has become a popular figure at the Vatican after forging
a friendship with Pope John Paul II.

Gorbachev sat on a dais Tuesday along with two cardinals, the Italian
foreign minister and the president of the European Union's commission
to promote the book "The Martyrdom of Patience," the memoirs of
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli.

Casaroli, who died in 1998, was considered an architect of the Vatican
policy that helped the church survive in Eastern Europe during the
Cold War.

Gorbachev called Casaroli "a great personality," recalling their
meeting in Moscow to help prepare Gorbachev's historic visit to the
Vatican in 1989, the first by a leader of the Soviet Communist party.
Gorbachev has met with the pope at least a half dozen times since.

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

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - The Search for Jesus Chat Session Log
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 09:39:03 -0500

[ This is the log (obtained via another mailing
list) of the chat session that ABCNews held the
night of the airing of their special report
"The Search for Jesus" hosted by Peter Jennings.
I took the liberty of reformatting the text a
little bit to make it more readable. Other than
that, nothing else has been changed. ]

<ABCNews> Welcome to our conversation this evening with
ABCNEWS anchor and correspondent Peter Jennings, whose
special report, The Search for Jesus, aired tonight. "We
went in search of Jesus as reporters," he says. But he
acknowledges that the effort to be objective is bound to
spark debate: "If you raise questions, you're going to stir
things up." Mr. Jennings joins us now for a live discussion
of the broadcast. Thanks for being here.

<Peter_Jennings> I apologize for being late. I'm in
Arizona tonight taking my son to college. The broadcast is
just beginning in the Western part of the United States,
and I wanted to see if it got on the air okay. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Jo Shafer asks: Decades ago, Albert
Schweitzer began his quest for the historical Jesus and
documented his findings and analysis in a book by the same
title. Today, researchers continue the quest. What
compels this search - mere curiosity or a deep longing to
know this man, Jesus, whose very name means "salvation"?

<Peter_Jennings> Joe, from my point of view as a reporter,
and from someone who was raised as a Christian, the
fascination with Jesus is as powerful as ever. In this
particular program we confined ourselves to being what we
are, which is reporters. ...and we confined ourselves,
though I recognize it is difficult, to what we could know
about Jesus the man. As I said in the broadcast, we
recognize and respect that for millions of people, Jesus is
the son of God. Our quest here was to simply see what we
could find in this deeply troubled corner of the world
based on the Gospels, obviously as well as the scholarship,
and archaology which has always been part of the quest for
Jesus. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Mary asks: As you followed Jesus'
footsteps, what place did you find most moving? Which place
had the most "presence"?

<Peter_Jennings> Mary, it ALL has presence. Whether we
were in the church of the Nativity or on the edge of the
Sea of Galilee. We met hundreds of people who were in one
way or another profoundly moved by His presence, His
teaching, and His legacy. One of the place I enjoyed most
was Sephorus, Herod Antipas' capitol you could realize how
different life was for him and Jesus in Nazareth, which we
could see just across the hill. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Angelina asks: Peter, you've had a rare
opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Jesus; to
research and investigate; to ponder and weigh upon all that
you've seen and learned. Did this confirm what you already
believed? Or did it point you to some unexpected

<Peter_Jennings> Angelina, I grew up with the New
Testament It was a very different experience to listen and
try to understand all of the scholarship which has been
applied to the quest for Jesus. We have tried in this
program to not make my own faith or judgements a factor,
and I am one of those who prefers to keep my own faith
private. ...which I hope you'll understand. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-James Smith asks: While I appreciate
your willingness to grapple with such an important topic, I
must say I'm disappointed that your documentary is so
lopsided in favor of those who reject the historical
accuracy of the gospel accounts. How do you respond to the
criticism that the program is heavily influenced by
participants of the Jesus Seminar and other like-minded
scholars who hold a skeptical view of the Bible?

<Peter_Jennings> James, in the course of our research we
certainly visited the Jesus Seminar. I recognize that it is
controversial At the same time, I firmly believe that in
Father Jerry Murphy-O?Connor Tom Wright from Westminster
Abbey Paula Fredrickson from Boston University. we have
people who are not skeptical at all about the Gospel. While
I am aware that the Jesus Seminar, in and of itself, is
something of a lightning rod for various individuals, we
believe that the individual scholarship, the testimony, and
beliefs held by all our participants speaks pretty much for
itself. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Philip Novack writes: I understand the
irresistible qualities of this story that make it worth
pursuing. But I wonder, as a journalist -- one who is
supposed hold the facts above everything else -- why did
you produce a report that presented more speculation than
fact and perhaps, through that speculation, only further
blurred the facts for some or possibly many people?

<Peter_Jennings> Philip, the very phrasing of your
question makes it difficult to answer. As we pointed out
several times, for those people who take the Gospels as
literal truth, any other scholarship may be deemed
irrelevant. But, I genuinely believe the legitimate role of
a journalist is to see what else there is, and to try
understanding why, for hundreds of years scholarship has
had a role in biblical study. I do appreciate that for
literalist Christians, if you'll permit me calling them
that, that the real power and value lies precisely in the
fact that Jesus' birth story, for example, follows a script
that fulfills the prophecies proves He was the Messiah.
Similarly, we have met hundreds of Christians, as I'm sure
you know, who believe that understanding the symbolism and
truth behind these stories is possible. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Nick Peterson asks: I am perplexed as
to why the ethnicity of Jesus has not been mentioned. Was
Jesus white or black? It is evident by the images on this
site that your research is partial to Jesus being white.

<Peter_Jennings> Nick, I can't speak for the
representation of Jesus on the website, but I thought that
N.T. Wright was the most helpful in this regard when he
pointed out that there is no description that we know of of
what Jesus really looked like You and I both know that
there have been thousands of representations of Him through
the ages, and that living on the Eastern side of the
Mediterranean in the first century, that image you saw of
him in the broadcast is as close as we are able to get. I
have no predisposition as to what he looked like at all. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-H.C. Wright asks: This feature seems
to have no time peg. Why now, mid-summer? It seems oddly
out-of-synch - something one would expect at Easter.

<Peter_Jennings> H.C., to be honest I had hoped that this
broadcast would be on the air at the beginning of the year
rather than now. There were some scheduling difficulties
but I hope you think it's as valid a story in summer as it
is in winter or spring. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Robert Metcalf asks: Did you feel
welcome while you were over there? How long did your stay
last while you were there?

<Peter_Jennings> Robert, I lived in the Middle East for
six years. I think I have made more than 30 visits to
Jerusalem now. I have never felt anything BUT welcome. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Diana L. Heald asks: You pick a later
timeline for the writing of the gospels, even though many
scholars chose an earlier time (like before the burning of
Rome). Why did you choose the later timeline?

<Peter_Jennings> Diana, I recognize that the timeline
itself is a matter of debate We relied on the historians
and scholars ...after talking to them, we decided on those
dates upon which most agree. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Ernest Gurulé asks: I certainly don't
know the size of the towns in which Jesus did his ministry,
but I presume they were, relatively speaking, fairly small.
I'm curious, then, if they were essentially modest in
population, how did his message manage to get out so far
and wide, resonating in such a concentricity that he became
a threat to the ruling authorities? Or, for that matter,
endure beyond a few years following his death?

<Peter_Jennings> Ernest, to remind you, I'm a journalist,
not an historian. But many historians remain uncertain to
what degree Jesus truly was a threat to the authorities in
the first century, as we said in the program. As for the
width and depth of the message to the rest of the world,
permit me to name one of many; Paul. Paul. Paul. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Heather asks: Much Debate debate has
been going on for many years about Jesus living like a
regular man and yet we can't seem to find out if he was
married or "involved" with anyone. Lots of guessing but no
answers. Do you have any information on this?

<Peter_Jennings> Heather, the speculation goes on, we
found no evidence whatsoever of any relationship in that
regard. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Brian Anzaldua asks: How do scholars
account for the fact that at the time Jesus' followers were
spreading the news of the resurrection, it would have been
easy for the Romans or Jews to undercut the movement by
producing his dead body. Certainly it was under
guard/protection to prevent this sort of claim from being

<Peter_Jennings> Brian, I confess this is much too
complicated a subject for me, but it sounds like a perfect
subject for *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Amjad Tariq asks: Did you consult with
the Muslim's Holy Book (Holy Quran) as this book has lot of
detail about the prophet Jesus?

<Peter_Jennings> Amjad, living as I did in the region for
years, I am modestly familiar with the Koran, and while
there are of course references to Jesus in it they were not
particularly relevant to this particular project.

<ASKABCNews> guest-Jesse asks: How do you think Americans
will react to your investigation?

<Peter_Jennings> * Jesse, I can only really tell you how I
reacted. I found, when this was over, that it was an
extraordinary story and that thanks to our historians, our
archaeologists, in fact to ALL the people we met, skeptics,
seekers, believers, that Jesus the man was extraodinarily
accessible. *

<ASKABCNews> guest-Donna asks: Was there anything that
surprised you during the making of this program? Did you
come away with more questions than answers?

<Peter_Jennings> Donna, the truth is, as you know, most of
what we know about the story has been there for aeons. What
I found enriching was learning more about the time and
circumstances of Jesus' life. *

<Peter_Jennings> Many of you have asked why, in your view
we didn't speak to more "conservative" scholars. It's hard
to answer the question without fully undertanding your
definition of "conservative." The majority of people we
spoke to are practicing believing Christians, My suspicion
is, it's unfair to categorize them one way or the other
based on the brief biographical information which appeared
on the screen. All of their credentials can be found at and and
many of them, I know, would value the experience to speak
for themselves. Just one other point: we, knowing our
limitations, we realize that the question of the
resurrection is perhaps the most delicate one. Some of our
scholars believe that the resurrection occurred. Some
believe that the resurrection stories were metaphorical. At
least one says, most eloquently, that he simply cannot
explain why Christianity began without it. *

<Peter_Jennings> A final word for this evening, as my
allotted time has expired. This has been one of the most
enriching experiences of my journalistic life. I value
immensely the thousands of observations which have been
made tonight. I hope we will find a way for this dialogue
to continue. I am grateful to and to for giving us all this
opportunity. As I said at the beginning of the broadcast,
we have tried to be respectful about what people believe,
as we have gone in search of what we can know about Jesus
the man. Thank you all. *

<ABCNews> Mr. Jennings, thank you for taking the time to
talk with us this evening. And thanks to all you who
participated in this live event. Viewers can continue this
conversation by visiting our special Search for Jesus
message board at
hjesus . Plus, you can explore the special Web version of
the special by clicking here
_promo.html . Good night! . This has been a production of and Talk City, Inc. Copyright 2000, all rights

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Real World News Items - 6/28/00
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 11:33:30 -0500


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A closely divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down on Wednesday a law
makes it a crime for doctors to perform a surgical abortion
procedure, a
significant victory for abortion rights advocates and the Clinton
administration. In its first abortion rights ruling in eight years,
high court by just a 5-4 vote declared unconstitutional a Nebraska law
that outlaws a procedure that opponents of abortion call ''partial
abortion.'' The decision could have far-reaching impact as some 30
states have nearly identical anti-abortion laws, and President Clinton
has twice vetoed a similar federal ban approved by the
Republican-controlled Congress.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday said that
if Israel sells the Phalcon airborne radar system to China, it will
jeopardize all future US aid. In a bipartisan unanimous vote, the
committee approved an amendment to the 2001 foreign appropriations
that strongly urges Israel to cancel the deal. Passage of the
was followed by staunch promises from both Democrats and Republicans
reject aid requests if Israel delivers the Phalcon system at the start
of next year.

National Security Adviser Danny Yatom said today if Palestinian
Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat unilaterally declares a
Palestinian state, then Israel will have to take appropriate
measures against it, Israel Radio reports.

Israel is being forced to buy water abroad by a prolonged drought
which has underlined the limits of its reputation as the Biblical
land of plenty. After years of bureaucratic paralysis, an Israeli
government team has begun negotiations with Turkey to make up the
shortfall caused by two dry winters. Israeli officials expect to
buy 1.8 billion cubic feet of fresh water a year from a plant near
Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. The water is to be shipped in
converted oil tankers to Israel.

Israel appealed to the Palestinians Wednesday to halt "inflammatory
speeches and declarations" and to join in a compromise approach to
peacemaking. Foreign Minister David Levy said there will be no
"capitulation" in the lagging negotiations, and that Palestinian
insistence that Israel surrender all of the West Bank, Gaza and Eat
Jerusalem is not "a process of peace."

He´s done the rounds with Western leaders, now President Vladimir
Putin is ready to look East, with trips to North Korea and
Kazakstan on the cards and a key visit this week from Indian
Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, ahead of a reciprocal trip to New
Delhi in October.

Tony Blair was on a collision course with France and Germany last
night over plans for a two-speed Europe which could leave Britain
in the slow lane. After President Chirac called for a "pioneering
group" of EU nations to move faster than others, Mr Blair and Robin
said they wanted to maintain a Europe of equal states. In a speech to
the German parliament in Berlin, before France takes over the EU's
rotating presidency on Saturday, M Chirac said he saw France and
as continuing their traditional role as the "motor of future European
The prototype for a gigantic airship the length of four Jumbo jets
and capable of carrying 880 cars from London to New York in three
days is due to be unveiled tomorrow. The 100mph craft, SkyCat 1000,
designed by British engineers, will use hovercraft technology to
it to land anywhere, even on water, without the need for a ground

Bodies of seals are washing ashore like driftwood as a mysterious
ailment continued to kill off thousands of the animals in the
Caspian Sea, environmental officials said. Seals living in the
landlocked, slightly salty sea began dying in large numbers over
the last two months for reasons that are not yet clear to
biologists. Most suspect pollution from oil drilling or a virus.

One in 80 children born in Britain today is a test tube baby,
according a major study into fertility care across Europe. The
first study of its kind found France, Germany and Britain carry out
than half of all IVF treatments. The success rate is consistent across
most of the continent with an average of 22 per cent of treatment
resulting in a live birth.

Peter Jennings' "Search For Jesus" Comes Up Empty - Review by
Craig von Buseck.

The Colorado State Board of Education plans to enter the national
fray over religious language in public schools on July 6, when it
will consider encouraging schools to post the national motto - "In
God We Trust." The nonbinding resolution, authored by the board's
Republican chairman, Clair Orr of Greeley, would allow local school
officials to follow or ignore the state board's advice. Orr said his
resolution is not religious, nor does it promote religion. Rather, it
would simply put the phrase, ordered printed on U.S. coins by
Lincoln in 1864 and made the national motto by President Eisenhower in
1956, in public schools.

The Presbyterian Church's chief policy-setting body is expected to
consider a proposed amendment to the denomination's constitution
that bans same-sex union ceremonies. The church's Committee on
the Physical and Spiritual Well-being voted 25-22 on Tuesday to
recommend that recognition of such rites be prohibited. The
560-member General Assembly plans to consider the issue Friday at
the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

To say the least Peter Jennings' "In Search of Jesus" was a major
disappointment. Jennings stated on "Larry King Live" last Thursday
he was going to use the well respected ABC Religion Editor Peggy
Wehmeyer (a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary) to help him
produce the program. Obviously her beliefs didn't have an impact on
program. The program was obviously put together by people who have
concept of Christianity, and specifically what a "close and intimate
relationship" with Jesus Christ is about. Many of the "so-called"
scholars on the program have no idea that Christianity is not a
but a "relationship" with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Jennings
approached it wrong by not allowing opposing views to be heard. It was
shabby journalism at best.

Pokemon cards have been known to take a mystical hold on the young
and innocent - and now their unseen powers have been harnessed to
teach the Bible. Sunday school teacher David Tate has trumped the
Pokemon craze with his own Christian version by creating 120
Pokemon-style characters to represent those in the Bible.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Arutz-7 New items
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 13:07:34 -0400

Prime Minister Ehud Barak confirmed yesterday that most of the media's
speculations about his planned concessions to the Palestinians are correct.
 In his first in-depth briefing to his government on the state of the
negotiations with the PA, Barak said yesterday that he has agreed to:

        * the establishment of a Palestinian state on close to 90% of Judea and Samaria;
        * leave 20% of the Yesha residents under Palestinian control;
        * transfer the Jordan Valley to the PA and lease it for several dozen years;
        * allow limited resettlement of displaced Palestinians within Israel.

Barak's office released an official statement today denying some of the
comments attributed to him: "The report broadcast yesterday on army radio
to the effect that Prime Minister Ehud Barak told ministers that Israel has
offered 85% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Palestinians, is incorrect.
The Prime Minister did not mention the number '85' at all during the
discussion," the announcement stated.

The Prime Minister's office announced that displaced Arabs will be allowed
to return only on a humanitarian basis and for the purpose of "unification
of families." Barak expressed confidence today that a vast majority of
Yesha residents would support the agreement in a national referendum.

Yasser Arafat is unimpressed with Barak's generosity, however. He
continues to demand nothing less than 100% of Judea and Samaria, total
return of all Palestinian refugees, and more. Leading American officials
participating in the talks - Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, Special
Envoy Dennis Ross, and his assistant Aaron Miller (the three of whom also
took part in Barak's briefing of the ministers yesterday) - see the gaps
between the PA and Israel as very large, and are presently not in favor of
holding a Barak-Clinton-Arafat summit in the near future.

After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Albright this afternoon, Arafat
called a press conference in which he demanded all of Judea and Samaria
and the evacuation of all settlements "just as was done in the Sinai Desert."
Albright then returned to Jerusalem, where she is briefing Barak at this hour
on her talks with Arafat. Earlier today, Foreign Minister David Levy and
Secretary Albright convened a press conference, where Albright said that the
decision on holding a summit would have to wait until she consults with U.S.
President Clinton upon her return to Washington.

A top headline in Ha'aretz today reads, "Chief Rabbinate Agrees to
Palestinian Control for Temple Mount." The Chief Rabbi in question,
however, vehemently denies anything of the sort. The Ha'aretz story refers
to a letter written to an interfaith conference in Milan, Italy, last year
by Rishon Letzion Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, in which he wrote, "We
must preserve and respect the status quo at the holy Temple Mount site,
which is known to others as the Al Aksa mosque area..." Rabbi Bakshi-
Doron explained to Arutz-7 today his version of the story:
        "The quotes in the story are correct, but not the headline. I did not
write a letter on behalf of the Rabbinate, but rather a personal letter of
greeting to an interfaith conference. One of the problems facing
interfaith dialogue is that the Moslems claim that we plan to conquer the
Mount and not allow Moslems to visit the Mount. The Moslems do not
believe that there are no such plans, no matter how many times the other rabbis
explained, and so I clarified this point in my greeting, that there are no
current plans to build the Holy Temple. This does not mean, Heaven forbid,
that we waive the Jewish people's claim to the entire Temple Mount [- a
claim which is eternal]... The fact that we are not permitted Halakhically
[by Jewish law] to enter the Holy of Holies and other areas on the Mount
because of our present status of impurity is not germane to the question of
our sovereignty there. On the contrary - we must continue to be sovereign
there in order to ensure that its sanctity is preserved."

The Chief Rabbi added that "there are those who think that if entry to the
Mount would be permitted by the Rabbis, this would help us in our
negotiations with the Palestinians. This is a great mistake, because it
might lead to the erection of a little synagogue in the corner somewhere,
while the Arabs continue to have control over most of the area. We must
not fall into this trap, but must rather insist that the entire Mount is
ours... What I wrote in the letter was that the status quo must be
preserved, to assure the Arabs that we are not throwing them out, but only
in the sense that nothing should be changed in the way the Mount is
currently run. Meanwhile, it is the Arabs who are changing the status
quo... The headline in Ha'aretz was therefore very far off from what I

A Moslem riot erupted today at Lion's Gate in Jerusalem, the entry point
for Arab trucks to and from the Temple Mount. Some 150 Arabs attacked
three Jews protesting there against the ongoing illegal Waqf construction
on the Mount. The Arabs hurled rocks at Moshe Feiglin (Zo Artzeinu), Prof.
Hillel Weiss (Professors for a Strong Israel), and Yehuda Etzion (Chai
VeKayam). The attackers also tore the Jews' posters, and smashed the
windshield of their car. A large contingent of police officers quickly
arrived on the scene, squelched the riot, and arrested several of the Arab
rioters. Feiglin, Weiss and Etzion said afterwards that the Arab attack
"strengthens our resolve to hold further vigils here at Lion's Gate."

Following a top-level meeting in the Prime Minister's Office today, Barak's
office announced that the Prime Minister "has approved the Israel Police's
recommendations on what measures are to be taken or avoided regarding the
Temple Mount in line with the principles of maintaining the status-quo and
not damaging archaeological artifacts while recognizing the importance of
the site for both Jews and Moslems." To understand the implications of
this announcement, IMRA's Dr. Aaron Lerner today called Israel Police
Jerusalem District Spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Ruby. Ben-Ruby confirmed that
there is a police position at the Lion's Gate, but added that only Barak's
office could explain whether the acceptance of police recommendations
means that trucks hauling building material to and from the Mount would now be
prevented from reaching the Mount. A Prime Minister's spokesman later told
Lerner that "the meeting and details of the decision are secret."

Hizbullah leader Sheikh Nasrallah instructed his men not to shoot at
Israelis "until further notice." He emphasized, however, that the
"liberation of Palestine" is one of his organization's main goals, and said
that the Palestinians must not be left alone in their struggle.

Former Israeli attache in Washington Yoram Ettinger commented on Arutz-7
today on the tensions between Israel and the American Congress regarding
the Israeli sale of aircraft systems to China. Ettinger:
        "The problem is that Barak does not understand the U.S. Congress. The
present sad situation is a symptom of Barak's narrow understanding and
non-strategic thinking, his arrogance in not listening to others, and his
misunderstanding of what is going on in Washington. This is causing an
unprecedented depression in our strategic alliance with the U.S. - there
have been political problems between us before, but not regarding strategic
issues... For a quarter of a billion dollars, or even $2 billion, Barak is
willing to sacrifice our 52-year-old relationship with the U.S..."
"What Congress cannot understand," said Ettinger, "is an Israeli Prime
Minister who shows weakness regarding his own country's interests - in the
Golan, Jerusalem, Jordan Valley, Judea and Samaria - but takes a strong
stand against the U.S. in something that it regards as its security
interests. For instance, former Prime Minister Shamir was very tough when
it came to Judea and Samaria, and even if the Americans didn't agree, they
understood him - but in the Persian Gulf War, Shamir figured that that was
something he could give in on [and did not retaliate against Iraqi Scuds],
as this was something that the Americans saw as vital to their own
interests. Barak is now acting in the opposite manner: he is giving in on
Israel's own vital interests, but is standing tough against what the U.S.
sees as its important interests."

Arutz Sheva News Service
Wednesday, June 28, 2000 / Sivan 25, 5760

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Go-ahead given for database of DNA samples
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 12:13:52 -0500

Go-ahead given for database of DNA samples

The first DNA database in Hong Kong is to be set up soon, after Legco passed
a bill yesterday allowing samples to be taken from those suspected or
convicted of serious crimes.

Under the Dangerous Drugs, Independent Commission Against Corruption and
Police Force (Amendment) Ordinance, police and anti-graft officers can be
authorised to take DNA samples from anyone suspected or convicted of
"serious arrestable offences".

The DNA will be stored permanently in the database, although suspects who
are not convicted will have their samples destroyed. The data could be
retrieved and matched if the criminals are suspected of involvement in other

Serious arrestable offences are those that carry a jail term of not less
than seven years.

An attempt by Democrat James To Kun-sun to specify in the law that Chinese
state organs should be barred from access to the database was voted down.
Another amendment by Mr To to limit the administration's right to match DNA
data to subsequent serious arrestable crimes, not lesser ones, was also

Mr To and Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier expressed concern about the
future use of DNA samples. Mr To said: "Technology is developing, we don't
know what DNA will tell in the future. We only know that the data may affect
the privacy of an individual. This reminds me of 'Big Brother' in the
[George Orwell] novel 1984."

Ms Lau urged the Government to conduct a review at a later date to monitor
the gathering of DNA data as she feared the Government might accumulate many
samples after a few years.

The Government estimates about 5,000 cases might require DNA tests each
year. Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said it was difficult to
know what other crimes a person whose sample had been taken might become
involved in.

She said there was no need to bar access to Beijing specifically, as the law
already barred any person, including state officers, from the database. That
meant state organs could not access it. Mrs Ip said DNA data would help
greatly in the investigation of crimes.

She dismissed fears about intrusion of privacy, because the DNA data was
just a set of figures and meaningless to members of the public.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Vatican accused of genocide
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 13:24:59 -0400

June 27, 2000

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been called upon to investigate claims
of World War II era Genocide by the Vatican and Franciscans.

Law Offices of Easton & Levy Tel. (513) 528-0586  E Mail:

An open letter on behalf of Serb and Jewish survivors of wartime atrocities by
the fanatical Catholic Croatians known as the "Ustasha" requests the UN
Secretary General to investigate allegations of genocide committed by the
Vatican and Franciscans. Specifically the victims claim:

The Vatican and Franciscans knowingly helped Croatian and Nazi war
criminals escape justice by organizing and funding the Nazi smuggling
ratline based at San Girolamo and the Vatican whose many beneficiaries
included Eichman, Barbie, Artukovich and Pavelic. Allegations of money
laundering of the Croatian Nazi (Ustasha) Treasury consisting of loot stolen
from concentration camp and other victims; and as to the Croatian
Franciscan order, actual participation in genocide against Serbs, Jews, and
Roma comprising the over 500,000 victims of the Croatian Nazis slaughtered
in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia during Word War II.

Victims claims in the class action Alperin v. Vatican Bank include mass
rape, beheadings, torture, mutilations, burnings, establishment of
concentration and forced labor camps, destruction of Orthodox Churches and
Jewish Synagogues, and looting of assets valued in the hundreds of millions
by the Ustashe and Franciscans. Post war the Vatican provided sanctuary
for the Ustashe killers until they could be whisked away to safety in South
America via the Vatican ratline financed by Ustashe loot.

The Vatican and Franciscans have steadfastly denied involvement in these
activities despite documentation by the US State Department, recently
declassified documents, and numerous exposes of the ratline.

The victims through their attorneys Easton and Levy have called upon the
Secretary General to consider and investigate the allegations and to call
upon the Vatican and Franciscans, both of whom enjoy Observer status at
the United Nations, to open their wartime archives.

For more information and full text of letter see:


For more info please see:



To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Davka Sale: Soncino Midrash Rabbah
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 13:20:05 -0500

[BPR is not associated with Davka, but we do have a couple
pieces of their software, and the Midrash Rabbah at $100
off the regular price is a great bargain, IMO. So for those
interested in Jewish commentary, this would be a great time to
get this.]

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The indispensable CD ROM for those who thirst for knowledge about
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The Soncino Midrash Rabbah
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The indispensable CD ROM for those who thirst for knowledge
about Judaism, its homiletic interpretations, and the Bible.

The Soncino Midrash Rabbah on CD-ROM is the most striking testimony
to the joy and reverence with which the Jews have cherished the
Bible. It
contains homiletical, ethical, and moral interpretations of the
Bible, as
expounded by the rabbis during Talmudic times.

The Soncino translation of the Midrash Rabbah is renowned as the most
scholarly, authoritative, yet easy-to-read translation available. You
easily and effortlessly search through the entire Midrash, in Hebrew
English with lightning speed. Hebrew and English text can be printed,
placed in existing word processors for later usage.

The Soncino Midrash Rabbah contains the following libraries on one

Hebrew text of the Midrash Rabbah
Soncino English translation of the Midrash Rabbah with footnotes
Subject index of Midrash in English, glossary, and dictionary of
Hebrew text of the Tanach with vowels
English translation of the Tanach
Hebrew text of Rashi on Chumash

The Soncino Midrash Rabbah covers the
following books of the Bible:
Song of Songs

The inclusion of the Tanach and Midrash on this CD is particularly
noteworthy. When the Midrash quotes a verse from the Tanach, with a
click of a button, the user can instantly see the verse in the Tanach,
complete with the surrounding text, and English translation!

Produced by Davka Corporation and Soncino Press

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - E-bomb
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:01:23 -0400

             IT SOUNDS like the perfect weapon. Without fracturing a
             single brick or spilling a drop of blood, it could bring a city to
             its knees. The few scientists who are prepared to talk about it
             speak of a sea change in how wars will be fought. Even in
             peacetime, the same technology could bring mayhem to our
             daily lives. This weapon is so simple to make, scientists say, it
             wouldn't take a criminal genius to put one together and wreak
             havoc. Some believe attacks have started already, but
             because the weapon leaves no trace it's a suspicion that's
             hard to prove. The irony is that it's our love of technology
             itself that makes us so vulnerable.

             This perfect weapon is the electromagnetic bomb, or e-bomb.
             The idea behind it is simple. Produce a high-power flash of
             radio waves or microwaves and it will fry any circuitry it hits.
             At lower powers, the effects are more subtle: it can throw
             electronic systems into chaos, often making them crash. In an
             age when electronics finds its way into just about everything
             bar food and bicycles, it is a sure way to cause mass
             disruption. Panic the financial markets and you could make a
             killing as billions are wiped off share values. You could freeze
             transport systems, bring down communications, destro

Full Story:

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - (Fwd) Earth Charter Launch at the Hague
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:04:50 -0400

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Subject: Earth Charter Launch at the Hague
Date sent: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 15:04:08 -0600
Send reply to:

Earth Charter International Campaign to be launched at The Hague

On Thursday, June 29th, 2000 a new phase of the Earth Charter
Initiative will be officially launched at The Hague. The purpose of
this occasion is also to celebrate the accomplishments of the
consultation process to date, and the release of the final Earth
Charter document. This important event is being organized in
collaboration with The Netherlands National Committee for
International Cooperation and Sustainable Development and will
take place at the Peace Palace from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
(European time). This historic event will be honored with the
presence of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, and leaders from
governments and religious and business groups.

The event is expected to further promote the Earth Charter Initiative
from consultation to action. The Earth Charter empowers and links
the efforts of ongoing civil society movements and is used as a
framework for personal and professional codes of conduct.

For more information, please contact us at or
visit our website at:

Thank you,

The Earth Charter Initiative Secretariat

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

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Infobeat News items
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:37:16 -0400

*** Diseases said biggest world disaster

LONDON (AP) - Earthquakes and other natural disasters may have
captured donations and headlines, but preventable diseases killed far
more people - 13 million people in 1999, according to a report
published Wednesday by the Red Cross. An estimated 150 million people
have died from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria alone since 1945,
compared to 23 million in wars, said the World Disasters Report
issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies. Last year, 160 times more people died from AIDS, malaria,
respiratory diseases and diarrhea than the number killed by natural
disasters, including the massive earthquakes in Turkey, floods in
Venezuela and Indian cyclones, it added. See

*** Albright hears of Mideast woes

JERUSALEM (AP) - Prospects for a Mideast summit in early July faded
as Palestinian and Israeli leaders advised Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright they were too far apart on the key issues.
Reflecting deep disagreement seven years after negotiations began,
Yasser Arafat demanded Israel turn over all of the West Bank, Gaza
and east Jerusalem, while Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy said
"this would be capitulation" and not "a process of peace." Arafat,
after a two-hour meeting with Albright in Ramallah, on the West Bank,
indicated at a news conference Wednesday that peacemaking was at a
low ebb by thanking President Clinton and the U.S. administration for
trying "to move it forward and save it." See ***
Also: PLO says Force Israel on commitments, see ***
And: Albright gives Arafat Israel message, see

*** Russian launches tiny satellite

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian rocket launched two experimental British-made
satellites and a Russian search and rescue satellite from the far
northern Plesetsk launch pad Wednesday, the Russian Space Agency
said. All three satellites successfully entered their planned orbits,
said Konstantin Kreydenko, an agency spokesman. One of the British
satellites was a tiny, 14-pound "nanosatellite" testing a type of
space craft which may someday be used to clean space junk out of the
skies. SNAP-1, built by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, is
a cube about the size of suitcase complete with its own navigation,
rockets and imaging equipment capable of inspecting other spacecraft
in orbit. See

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Court Says Boy Scouts Can Bar Gays
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:37:16 -0400

Court Says Boy Scouts Can Bar Gays

                  By Laurie Asseo
                  associated Press Writer
                  Wednesday, June 28, 2000; 11:13 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON –– The Boy Scouts can bar homosexuals from serving as
troop leaders, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, placing a limit on how
far the courts should go to force open admissions upon private

The 5-4 decision said forcing the Scouts to accept gay troop leaders
would violate the organization's rights of free expression and free
association under the Constitution's First Amendment.

"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the
values it seeks to instill," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote
for the court. Requiring them to accept a gay scoutmaster "would
significantly burden the organization's right to oppose or disfavor
homosexual conduct."

The ruling reversed a New Jersey Supreme Court holding that the Scouts
wrongly ousted assistant scoutmaster James Dale when the organization
learned he is gay. The state court had said the scouts' action violated
a New Jersey law banning discrimination in public accommodation.

Dale, who was an Eagle Scout, had sued the Scouts under the New Jersey
law. But the Supreme Court said Wednesday that law must yield to the
Scout organization's right of "expressive association" under the
Constitution's First Amendment.

Rehnquist's opinion was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin
Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Dissenting were Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader
Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Writing for the four, Stevens said the New Jersey law "does not impose
any serious burdens" on the Boy Scouts' goals, "nor does it force (the
Boy Scouts) to communicate any message that it does not wish to endorse.
New Jersey's law, therefore, abridges no constitutional right of the Boy

Dale was 19 and an assistant scoutmaster of a Matawan, N.J., troop when
in 1990 he was identified in a newspaper article as co-president of a
campus lesbian and gay student group at Rutgers University.

The Scouts' Monmouth Council revoked Dale's registration as an adult
leader, telling him the organization does not allow openly gay members.
Dale sued, contending the Scouts violated New Jersey's
anti-discrimination law.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in his favor, saying the expulsion of
Dale was based "on little more than prejudice."

During oral arguments in April, the Scouts' lawyer, George Davidson,
said the group had a right "to choose the moral leaders for the children
in the program."

The Scouts relied on a 1995 Supreme Court decision in which the justices
let the private sponsor of the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade exclude a
group of gays and lesbians, saying parades are a "form of expression."

Dale's lawyer, Evan Wolfson, said giving public accommodations the broad
freedom to exclude people who do not match their message could swallow
the civil rights laws.

Dale's attorneys cited Supreme Court decisions during the 1980s that let
states force the Jaycees and Rotary International to admit women as full
members. The court also let New York City bar large private clubs from
discriminating against women and minorities.

Rehnquist's opinion said "it appears that homosexuality has gained
greater societal acceptance" in recent times.

"But this is scarcely an argument for denying First Amendment protection
to those who refuse to accept those views," the chief justice wrote.
"The First Amendment protects expression, be it of the popular variety
or not."

The Supreme Court has dealt with gay rights infrequently. In 1996, the
justices struck down a Colorado measure that barred ordinances giving
gays legal protection from discrimination, such as in housing or
employment. But the court also has repeatedly turned away challenges to
President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the

Dale now lives in New York City and is advertising director for a
magazine for people who are HIV-positive.

The case is Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 99-699.


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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Vermont Prepares For First-Ever "Civil Unions"
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:50:32 -0400

June 28, 2000 -- 7:48 pm

    Vermont Prepares For First-Ever "Civil Unions"

MONTPELIER, VT (CNSNews) -- Barring last-minute court appeals, the first
"civil union" ceremonies will take place in Vermont this holiday
weekend, despite the fact that a number of Vermont town clerks have
resigned, rather than issue the requisite licenses to homosexual

"As a practical matter, the law is going to go into effect on Saturday,"
said Vermont's chief Assistant Attorney General William Griffin.

In April, Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation's first law granting
same-sex couples the same legal rights and benefits of those enjoyed by
heterosexual married couples.

Critics say the civil union system creates a parallel system of
marriage, and some town clerks don't want anything to do with civil

Topsham Town Clerk Juanita Claflin said her "moral fiber" does not allow
her to support civil unions. "I feel it's a very harmful's a
form of government- endorsed perversion," she said. "My beliefs tell me
I would be hurting the people of the state if I issued the licenses and
I will not hurt the people of Vermont."

Two weeks ago, Claflin sent a letter to every home in her community,
informing voters that she would not issue the licenses and asking fellow
residents if they thought she should resign, defy the law, or appoint an
assistant to issue the civil union licenses, something the law permits.

Claflin says of the 200 letters sent, 100 people have responded. "An
overwhelming number want me to refuse to issue the licenses and see what
happens," she said. A dozen respondents told Clafin she should resign,
while 11 said she should appoint an assistant to issue the licenses to
avoid involving the town in an expensive legal battle.

At her swearing-in ceremony, Claflin added the phrase "except to sell
civil union licenses," to the traditional oath. At the time the oath was
administered, Claflin said she did not believe the proposed civil union
bill would become law. "I was wrong," she now admits. "The unthinkable
did become law."

"I am unwavering in my commitment to refuse to be a party to this
endorsed perversion, and I base my decision on both my personal beliefs
and my constitutional rights," she added.

On Monday, a Vermont Superior Court judge refused to block the first
civil union ceremonies from being performed on July 1. Judge Stephen
Martin said those filing the lawsuit - including 11 members of the
Vermont House -- had failed to demonstrate how the law would cause them

An informal opinion issued by the Vermont attorney general says a person
who is denied a civil union license can sue the town clerk or the town
for compensatory and punitive damages.

The aggrieved person or couple can also ask the attorney general to go
to court on his or her behalf. The state's Human Right's Commission
could also intervene on behalf of the couple, under the state's public
accommodation law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender and
sexual orientation.

Asked if she was prepared to resign, Topsham Town Clerk Juanita Claflin
responded, "No, I'm not. I don't feel I should have to. I was elected
and I believe I am following my conscience and that I am working for the
good of the people." At this writing, Claflin had not yet made up her
mind. She plans to think about it over the upcoming holiday weekend,
when town offices will be closed.

The town clerk of Tunbridge, Vermont recently resigned rather than issue
civil union licenses.

 © 2000,

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Gay's boom Rome hotels as Catholic Jubilee sluggish
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:53:45 -0400

Gay's boom Rome hotels as Catholic Jubilee sluggish

Copyright 2000 by Agence France-Presse

ROME, June 28 (AFP) - Disappointed by slack business during the Vatican's
Jubilee 2000 celebrations, hotel owners in Rome are setting their sights on
gay tourists expected for a week-long World Gay Pride.

"Many hotel owners were initially less than convinced, but after other
bookings were slow to come they gave in," said a spokesman for the gay-
friendly tourist operator Tour Visa.

The Italian capital's first gay fest is to kick off Saturday, bringing in an
expected 200,000 gays and lesbians.

Some hotels expected hordes of pious pilgrims but when they failed to show
up in sufficient numbers, warmed to reservations by gay tour operators -- but
not without demanding assurances against clothing or behavioral excesses.

"They were mainly afraid that Gay Pride participants would run around hotel
corridors naked," said the Tour Visa spokesman.

The Vatican, conservative Italian politicians and even Prime Minister Giuliano
Amato, a former socialist and head of a center-left coalition government, have
protested that festivities represent a provocation as Catholics celebrate the
2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ.

Alberto Pica, who heads an association of 5,900 owners of coffeeshops and
ice-cream parlors in Rome, still believes that the city could have done
without the gay money.

"For us this should have been done in another place and at another time," he
said. "But since they are coming, we will treat them like any client.

But apparently fearing the worst at the center of Roman Catholicism which
also happens to be the capital of a secular state, he added that those who
"enter cafes half-naked, or dress strangely or offensively will be asked to
leave, get dressed and come back if they want to."

"We have the law on our side," he added.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Convicted Ex-Mafia killer to star in Vatican TV program
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:56:29 -0400

Convicted Ex-Mafia killer to star in Vatican TV program

Copyright 2000 by Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY, June 28 (AFP) - A convicted Mafia killer will be the special
guest at a live television show Saturday that will call on potential blood
donors to come forward, a blood donation official said Wednesday.

Salvatore Grigoli is serving a 14-year prison sentence after a court found him
guilty of killing Sicilian anti-Mafia priest Pino Puglisi in 1993 but he has also
admitted to killing more than 80 other people.

The director of the Catholic donors' association Unio Sanguis Christi,
Michele Colagiovanni, said Grigoli would recount his path from willing
executioner of Mafia orders, who spilled innocent blood, to prison.

His participation in the Vatican television show was made possible after an
agreement with the Italian justice ministry, which will provide a police escort
to take him to Rome.

The show will also feature singers and artists. It was produced by CTV, the
Vatican television network, at the request of Unio Sanguis Christi.

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Pope says belief in Christ proscribes contempt for other faiths
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:59:42 -0400

Pope says belief in Christ proscribes contempt for other faiths

Copyright 2000 by Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY, June 25 (AFP) - Pope John Paul II said Sunday that the
Catholic Church did not consider other religions with contempt, even if it
strongly defended Jesus Christ as the world's only saviour.

"We firmly believe that Christ is the world's only saviour," the pontiff declared
during a daily prayer service before several thousand people gathered in
Saint Peter's Square.

He added: "In light of this truth, the Church does not hold in contempt what
man may accomplish through diverse religious expressions to approach God
and receive his purification."

John Paul II said he hoped for a "profitable interreligious dialogue."

The pope, who will conclude on Sunday the 47th international eucharistic
congress, announced the next would be held in Guadalajara, Mexico in

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Chinese rainmakers to step up efforts in arid west
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 20:01:03 -0400

Chinese rainmakers to step up efforts in arid west

Copyright 2000 by Agence France-Presse

BEIJING, June 28 (AFP) - Chinese meterologists will give nature a helping
hand in the arid northwestern part of the country, using articificial means to
make it rain more, Xinhua news agency reported.

The China Meteorological Administration will set up an artificial rain center to
lift precipitation in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Gansu, where water
resources are under threat because of limited rainfall.

The area, which is inhabited by 90 million people, covers 30 percent of
China's land area, but has only 10 percent of its water, slowing down
development, Xinhua said.

The agency did not specify the techniques and methods the center would
employ. Beijing authorities early this year caused snow to fall in the capital
by spreading chemical products in the clouds.

China's rainmakers have already achieved some success in the west. In
Qinghai province, they boosted rainfall by five billion cubic meters over the
past two years at a cost of 1.45 million dollars, Xinhua said.

The administration will also set up a unified command that will coordinate all
efforts at creating artificial rain nationwide, the agency said.

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