Newsletter : 1fax0523.txt
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>JN May 23, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 89
Tensions High on Israel-Lebanon Border
By VOA News
Tensions are high in the Lebanon-Israel border region on the
anniversary of the Israeli troop pull-out from Lebanon.
The Israeli army says it is on alert for an expected attack by
Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas, while the Lebanese have been
bracing for an Israeli attack. Israel has given repeated warnings
to Syria about the consequences of any Hizbullah attack.
Taleban: Non-Muslims Must Wear ID Tags on Clothing
By VOA News
A senior Taleban official in Afghanistan said Hindus, Christians
and Jews living in that nation will be required to wear distinctive
tags to identify themselves as non-Muslims.
The Associated Press previously reported that most Jews in the
capital city of Kabul have emigrated, however one rabbi still
resides in the city.
The head of the Taleban Ministry for Promoting Virtue and
Suppressing Vice, Mohammad Wali, says Islamic scholars plan to
enforce an edict on the matter soon, but no exact date was given.
The AP reported at least 5,000 Hindus live in Kabul and thousands
of others live in other Afghan cities. Most are shopkeepers.
Many Hindus fled in the mid-1990s, when their property was looted
during the country's civil war.
The Taleban official said Sikhs, another sizeable minority, will
not have to identify themselves because they can already be
distinguished by the turbans they wear.
However, he said non-Muslim women, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and
Christians will have to cover their faces in public like other
Afghan women. He said these new rules will be implemented for
Ariel Sharon Calls On Palestinians To Accept a Ceasefire
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called on Palestinians to
accept a ceasefire to end months of violence between Israelis and
Palestinians and pledged not to expropriate any more land for
Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Sharon's statement was his first in response to a report on the
violence, issued Monday by a fact-finding commission led by former
Sen. George Mitchell.
Sharon called for a total truce, saying if the Palestinians accept
his proposal to stop fighting, then Israel will stop retaliating.
The prime minister said he accepts the Mitchell commission formula
of a ceasefire, followed by a cooling-off period and
confidence-building measures leading to a resumption of peace
Israel's army said it has ordered its soldiers not to open fire on
Palestinians except if their life is in danger.
The order issued Tuesday by Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben
Eliezer closely followed Sharon's statement.
A spokesman for President Bush said the president welcomes Sharon's
call for an end to the violence and would welcome a similar
statement from Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.
German Industry Ready to Begin Slave Labor Payments
By VOA News
German industrial leaders say that in the wake of recent court
rulings they are ready to begin making payments to Nazi-era forced
and slave laborers.
In a statement, the industry group says they now feel able to
support government action to begin the payment of about $4.5
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in a statement, welcomed industry
acceptance of the program. He said parliament can now endorse the
plan, allowing the payments to proceed. Lawmakers are expected to
act by July.
Earlier, Germany's chief negotiator on compensation for Nazi-era
forced and slave laborers, Otto Lambsdorff, said he also believes
conditions are in place for payments to begin. He was referring to
an American court decision Monday dismissing a key claims case.
German industry has been waiting for American courts to dismiss
outstanding class action suits before paying several billion
dollars to an estimated 1 million former forced and slave laborers.
In another development, the government of Lichtenstein has
established a commission to investigate the principality's role in
hiding or transferring to third countries assets stolen by the
Nazis during World II.
It appears that Israelis will soon be drinking Turkish water.
The Finance Ministry has publicized a five-year tender for
ships that can carry some 50 million cubic meters of water from
Water shortages are expected to be felt in Israel as early as
this summer. Desalinated water will not be ready for at least 15-18
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