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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     March 22, 1995, V3, #52
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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AIDS Test Developed for Saliva

A new diagnosis developed in Israel can determine the presence of the AIDS virus in saliva specimens. The system has been tried in Israel and the U.S., and found to be as reliable as the standard blood tests for AIDS. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a similar test. The Israeli system was developed by scientists at the Orgenics Lab in Yavne. Researchers emphasize that, despite the presence of the AIDS virus in saliva, the disease cannot be transmitted through saliva.

Palestinian Explosives Found Near Beersheva

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

Israeli authorities have banned the entry of Palestinian vehicles from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The step was taken after police seized an explosive-laden truck near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva.

Israeli police discovered several dozen kilos of explosives in a truck with Gaza license plates, near a bedouin Arab village close to Beersheva. One Palestinian on the truck was arrested immediately, a second who escaped, was captured hours later hiding in the bedouin village.

Police believe the truck had been rigged by members of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, for use in a major bombing attack in Israel. The explosives had been packed in cartons and plastic crates inside the truck, normally used to transport farm produce from Gaza to Israel. Hamas, a leading opponent of the Israel/PLO peace accord, has been responsible for a string of suicide bombings in Israel.

The ban on all vehicles leaving the Gaza self-rule enclave was imposed immediately, and is in effect until further notice. Israel has been gradually lifting a ban forbidding all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from entering Israel - a ban imposed in January after two Islamic Jihad suicide bombers from Gaza killed 21 Israelis in central Israel.

The discovery of the truck came a day after a roadside shooting ambush on a public bus in which Palestinian gunmen killed two Jewish settlers near Hebron on the West Bank.

Secret Israeli-Syrian Talks Restart in D.C.

By Victor Beattie (Washington)

Peace talks between Israel and Syria have resumed in secrecy in Washington after a three-month break. Three years of discussions have so far seen little progress on the future status of the disputed Golan Heights -- a crucial point in the talks:

The talks at the ambassador level were revived after the latest shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East by Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
Involved are Israeli Ambassador Itamar Rabinovitch, Syrian diplomat Walid al-Moalem and Special US envoy Dennis Ross.

The talks broke off in December over the issue of the Golan Heights captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. Syria has demanded an unconditional, complete Israeli withdrawal before peace. Israel has called for a phased pull-back coupled with full peace with Damascus.

Washington is trying to focus on the talks on security issues such as the width of a future demilitarized zone, limited deployment zones behind the border of the DMZ and an early warning system to protect against sudden attack.

Israel calls the resumption of the talks significant. Christopher has indicated that Ross will travel to the Middle East in about two weeks to arrange further talks between the two sides' military officials.

Jordan's American Debts will be Forgiven

By Al Pessin (Amman)

Vice President Al Gore says the US government will fulfill its pledge to forgive all of Jordan's official debt to the United States, and will do it by the end of the year. Gore also promised military aid in a speech to senior army officers and other dignitaries.

Gore says decades of conflict have held back Jordan's development for too long, and that the United States is now ready to help change that, and to encourage other industrialized countries to help, too.

"Jordan has taken great risks for peace, and the United States will demonstrate by its actions that we are at Jordan's side now and in the future. You have my pledge this evening, and that of President Clinton, that we will fulfill our commitment on debt forgiveness and our pledge to help Jordan meet its defense needs. We are committed to full debt forgiveness in 1995, and we will meet our commitment."

A committee of the US House of Representatives has temporarily blocked most of the $275 million worth of debt forgiveness the Clinton administration wants to provide for Jordan. But the Senate supports the administration plan, and senior house leaders say they will work to reverse the committee's decision.

Gore told his Jordanian audience the United States is committed to supporting Middle Eastern countries which join the peace process, and also to continuing its vigilance against what he called "the forces of terror."

Jordan's Prime Minister Zeid ben Shaker thanked the US for its aid, and called on other industrialized countries to take what he called "immediate and meaningful" steps to support a "stable, secure and prosperous era of peace in the Middle East."

Gore will shift the focus of his visit somewhat today, traveling to Oman and Saudi Arabia. But he returns to the issue of Middle East peace tomorrow and Friday, with meetings in Israel and in the autonomous Palestinian city of Jericho.

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