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Newsletter : 10fx1029.txt

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IsraAid Team Heads to Haiti as Cholera Outbreak Looms


The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid – IsraAID – sent a team to Haiti Thursday night to check the progress of its work on that quake-struck island. Now a cholera outbreak is threatening the city and its surrounding communities. Thus far, some 200 people have already succumbed to the epidemic.

Services provided over the past 10 months to the island population by the IsraAid staff, beyond the basic emergency medical care, included primary family medical care, medical rehabilitation, informal education, food production, women empowerment and children's safe-space programs.

Netanyahu: Settlement Building Won't Affect Final Status Peace Deal

By Ha'aretz

West Bank settlement construction will not affect the final status peace deal between Israel and a future Palestinian state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday, adding that he felt the settlement issue wasn't an obstacle to continued peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The premier had refused to extend a 10-month moratorium on new West Bank settlement housing that expired on September 26, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying he won't resume the talks without an extension on the building curbs.

Earlier Thursday, Abbas hinted that the Palestinians would try to persuade the United States to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, if Israel kept up its refusal to freeze settlements. "For now, we are focusing on the first option [negotiations]," Abbas said.

Speaking after a meeting with U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman on Thursday, Netanyahu seemingly rejected the Palestinian stance, saying the settlement issue was "not substantial" and that construction in the settlements "will not influence the peace map."

In a statement released by the premier's office earlier Thursday, Netanyahu also seemingly related to the tacit PA threat of unilateral statehood, saying he expected the "Palestinians to live up to their obligations by holding serious direct negotiations, without malice and without preconditions."

"Any attempt to bypass direct talks by appealing to international bodies will do nothing to advance the true peace process," the PM's statements said, adding that the two peoples could achieve "a secure and stable peace solely through direct negotiations, a path I hope we shall return to in full force soon."

IDF: Only 60% of Israelis Will Be Equipped with Gas Masks

By Ha'aretz &

Only 60% of Israel's population will be in possession of gas masks by 2012, GOC Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said on Thursday, adding that approximately 24% of Israeli citizens did not have access to bomb shelters.

The nationwide distribution of gas mask kits began in May, part of a program in which masks were expected to be provided to the entire population over the next three years.

Speaking to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Golan, citing NIS 230 million in insufficient funds, said however that current production lines allowed providing only 60% of the population with gas masks, adding that production lines were scheduled to close in 2012.

The GOC Home Front Command also indicated that once those lines close, the production of gas masks will cost twice it does today. To date, masks have been distributed to 16% of Israelis.

The data revealed by Golan also revealed that a significant amount of Israelis did not have sufficient access to bomb shelters, with as much as 24% of Israelis devoid of any shelters whatsoever, whether private of public. Golan's report also said 40% of existing bomb shelters were not in working order.

The special mask kits that could serve bearded people will not be distributed to people with beards but to people who have difficulty breathing. People with beards will simply have to shave them off if they wish to be protected by a mask.

Most Popular British Name: Mohammed


The most common name given to baby boys born in England in 2009 was none other than Mohammed, in its various forms.

The name Mohammed is spelled 12 different ways. The most popular spellings were Mohammed and Mohammad, which were the given names of 3,300 and 2,162 babies, respectively. Other spellings include Muhammed, Mohamed, Mahamed, and even Mohmmed. In total, the name was given to 7,549 British baby boys in 2009 - 185 more than were named Oliver.

A report issued by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in London indicates that the second-most popular name was Oliver, followed by Jack, Harry and Alfie. Next-most popular were Joshua, Thomas, Charlie, William, James, and Daniel. The ONS does not recognize the various spellings of Mohammed as being the same name, and therefore pronounced Oliver the most popular name of 2009.

Muslims make up roughly 3% of Britain's 58 million people, but their birth rate is higher than the norm for England. The most popular girl's name in Britain last year was Olivia, followed by Ruby, Chloe, Emily and Sophie.

Netanyahu's Million Dollar Car


While the Prime Minister's Office is on the lookout for a new plane for Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister will be receiving a gift with a price tag that leaves it nothing to be ashamed of – his new official car.

The armored limousine version of the Audi A8 is manufactured mainly for presidents and prime ministers and is considered the most expensive car in Israel. The price tag: $1 million. The first one is making its way to Israel, where it will soon be joined by two more – all three will be joining the ranks of the prime minister's convoy, at a total cost of roughly $3 million.

As reported by Yedioth Ahronoth Thursday, the Audi A8 that has been designated to serve Netanyahu includes a unique security package crafted in cooperation with the Shin Bet's bodyguard unit. The unit even blew up one car during experiments it held in Israel in order to test the car's endurance to various threats, including small arms and roadside bombs.

So what does the astronomic price include? First of all, a state of the art defense system. The car's exact defense capabilities are being kept under wraps, but among other things they include bullet proof tires and a bullet and grenade proof armored cabin. The vehicle may also be equipped with an automated fire extinguishing system.

The immense defense increases the weight of the vehicle, bringing its total weight to nearly three tons. In order to ensure adequate performance levels in spite of its weight, the car is equipped with the largest engine the model offers: W12 version with a 12-cylinder, 6-liter engine, an output of some 450 horsepower and four-wheel drive.

But the security system with its outstanding capabilities is not all the car has to offer. Netanyahu's official vehicle is fitted out with every luxury you could possibly dream of: Automatic seats, sunroof, leather interior, wide screen DVD screen, refrigerator, and even a humidor.

Notably, the three cars will be used to chauffer foreign dignitaries and VIPs as well as the prime minister. Though it is highly likely that the PM's convoy will include more than one of the cars at a time, making it harder for potential assassins to know the exact car the prime minister is in at any given time.

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