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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     March 29, 1995, V3, #57
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israeli Satellite Launched on Russian Rocket

An Israeli satellite developed by the Technion was launched into space Tuesday by a Russian rocket at a site north of Moscow. The team working on the satellite project is headed by the Technion's Prof. Giora Shaviv and comprises both Israeli and Russian scientists.

Clinton Tells Jordan Debt will be Forgiven

By Deborah Tate (White House)

President Clinton has reaffirmed his commitment to forgive Jordan's $480 million debt, despite lawmakers' efforts to reduce the proposed debt relief.

During his meeting with King Hussein, Clinton expressed his determination to work with Congress to write off all of Jordan's debt. The House of Representatives earlier this month voted to cut the debt relief to $50 million this year.

Clinton vowed to seek to reverse the action. White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry says in a statement the president emphasized to the king that the U.S. must demonstrate it stands by those who take risks for peace.

Before their meeting ended, Clinton and Hussein discussed the latest developments in the Middle East peace process, including the decision by Israel and Syria to resume high level talks following Secretary of State Christopher's recent trip to the region.

Congress Reluctant to Forgive Jordanian Debt

By Ron Pemstein (State Department)

Congress is reluctant to approve forgiving debts abroad when it is looking for ways to control the federal budget. The Republican controlled House has cut Jordan's debt relief to $50 million.

The Senate last week agreed to relieve $50 million of Jordan's debt in 1995 and $225 million next year. The differences between the two houses of Congress will be resolved in a conference before the legislation is sent on to President Clinton.

King Hussein met with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and said here at the State Department he is encouraged about the prospects for winning debt relief. "The meeting was a very good one. We had the opportunity to discuss many matters. I had the opportunity to answer many questions about developments in our region and I believe that the atmosphere is very, very promising."

Because of Jordan's peace treaty with Israel, Israeli diplomats and American Jewish groups have put pressure on Congress to forgive Jordan's debt. Jordan's economy has suffered from a cutoff of aid from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states angered by King Hussein's support of Iraq during the Gulf war.

Palestinians-Israelis Discuss Election

By Kim Reid (Cairo)

Israeli and Palestinian delegations have returned to Cairo for another round of talks on how and when to hold Palestinian elections. Palestinian officials in Gaza continue to be pessimistic over Israel's commitment to meet a July 1 deadline on elections.

But Israeli delegation head Yoel Zinger has said repeatedly the deadline will be met. He says that the two sides are drafting an elections plan, and they are narrowing their differences.

With three months left, the two sides continue to debate the details of how Palestinian elections will take place, and who will be allowed to vote. Palestinian delegation head Saeb Erakat says differences remain over whether the electorate will include Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem.

Israeli officials have argued that allowing east Jerusalem residents to vote in a Palestinian autonomy poll is tantamount to acknowledging the Palestinian claim to east Jerusalem.

That aside, the Palestinians are still trying to figure out who will vote, even in their own territories. No census has been carried out in Gaza or the West bank in years. Palestinian officials say it could take six months to record all citizens of voting age, even with the use of Israeli records of the area.

But PLO officials insist all would go much faster once Israeli troops withdraw from the autonomous territories. That is something Erakat says the two sides must agree on by July 1, or Palestinian elections simply cannot take place.

Government Decides to Dismantle Israel Shipyards

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has decided to dismantle the state-owned Israel Shipyards. The move marks the first time the government has decided to dismantle a state-owned company. In recent years, the Haifa-based Israel Shipyards has recorded mounting losses and has laid off hundreds of workers.

The decision came after the Knesset's Finance Committee rejected a Finance Ministry request to sell the shipyard to a private company.

Head of the Government Companies Authority Yossi Nitzani said there are now two possibilities; either immediately dismantle the shipyard--thus dismissing all workers and selling all holdings--or allow the courts to temporarily run the company until current contracts are completed.

Israel Radio reports that employees of Israel Shipyards ended their strike and returned to work Tuesday. Attorney Shmuel Tsur, appointed as receiver for the company, is now holding talks with the shipyard's management.

The Histadrut criticized the decision to dismantle the company and said they will organize workers committees throughout Haifa in an effort to save the shipyards.

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