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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Jan. 15, 1996 V4, #6
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israel's President Visits Germany

By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)

Israeli President Ezer Weizman is making his first official visit to reunified Germany, where he paid tribute to the victims of Nazi violence. The president was greeted at Berlin's Tegel Airport by German President Roman Herzog.

He then traveled to the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, where he urged younger generations to study the past to learn what happened and avoid it.

After touring an exhibit about Jewish prisoners at the camp, Weizman and the German President laid a wreath near the gas chamber where tens-of-thousands of people were executed, most of them Jews.

Today, Weizman is scheduled to visit the Ploetzensee Memorial to honor those who gave their lives trying to resist Hitler's Nazi regime. He then travels to Bonn, where he will address the German Parliament and meet with Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Christopher Discusses Election with Arafat

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Secretary of State Warren Christopher met with the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, Saturday at the Israel-Gaza border for a discussion about elections, terrorism and financial aid. Officials report Arafat asked Christopher for help in convincing Israel to change some of the arrangements for Palestinian elections, which will be held Saturday. The Palestinians want Israel to grant easier access for candidates and voters to some areas, particularly the still-occupied town of Hebron.

The meeting came the day after the secretary apparently achieved a breakthrough in Israel-Syria talks. After meeting with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in Damascus, Christopher announced the resumption of negotiations near Washington, with the addition of military experts. Israeli officials say that round of talks should make clear whether it is possible to reach a peace agreement this year.

Should Hate Groups be Banned from the Internet?

By Alan Silverman (VOA-Los Angeles)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is asking commercial Internet service providers to ban hate groups from the World-Wide Web of computer networks. VOA spoke with the associate dean of the Los Angeles-based center which monitors the activities of neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and other radical groups. Hatred has found a home in cyberspace. That's the view of Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who says organized groups are using the WWW to promote "racism, anti-Semitism, mayhem and violence."

"We already see between 70 and 75 of such groups posting their own 'web sites.' Among them are not only hate groups, but individuals who have chosen, for whatever reason, to instruct people how to build the bomb of their choice: everything from a smoke bomb to a car bomb. These kinds of postings, which promote mayhem and become guidebooks to domestic terrorists or teenagers who may not know better are a great source of concern to us."

In a letter to some 2,000 Internet service providers across the US, the Wiesenthal Center asks the commercial companies that rent computer space and Internet connections to reject subscribers who use the access for bigotry and anarchy.

The right to express unpopular views is protected by the "free speech" provisions in the First Amendment to the Constitution; but cooper urges Internet companies to follow the lead of traditional commercial media -- newspapers and broadcasters -- which refuse to accept advertising from hate groups.

"By and large, these groups and their message have been marginalized. We are the asking the providers of the Internet services to choose to do the same. Don't take their nickel; if people cross the line...And we can show them evidence they have done so in abusing that kind of service...invite them to take their money back and go elsewhere.

The commercial services like "America Online," "CompuServe" and "Prodigy" all have codes of ethics for postings by subscribers; acknowledging the difficulty of imposing restrictions on the global reach of the Internet, Cooper believes the new "electronic society" must have standards.

"We are urging the Internet community to start saying 'are there any parameters? Do we draw the line anywhere?'"

If Internet service providers adopt the Wiesenthal Center proposal, groups denied commercial access could, at greater expense, establish their own Internet connections; and Associate Dean Abraham Cooper believes they probably will.

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