Newsletter : 6fax1118.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Nov. 18, 1996 V4, #209
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Hamas terrorist blows himself up
A Hamas terrorist was killed Saturday while preparing a bomb.
Mahmoud Asaf died in an explosion in the yard of his home in
Kabatiya, near Jenin. Palestinian sources said he was released from
an Israeli prison two months ago, and had served numerous jail
sentences for Hamas activism.
Documents show Nazis had access to Jews' Swiss bank accounts
Newly unsealed documents reveal the Nazis used French-speaking
sympathizers working in Swiss banks to gain access to the secret
accounts of Jewish clients.
The documents refer to the secret numbered account of Henry
Lowinger, a rich Austrian Jew, imprisoned with his wife for three
According to the documents, Lowinger was given the opportunity to
buy his freedom by surrendering his accounts to the Gestapo, which
"knew exactly how much Lowinger had on deposit and where it was
US-Egypt Military Exercise Ends
The US and Egypt concluded a large military exercise Sunday. The
exercise, which included 500 Americans, practiced various measures
to protect the Gulf. As part of the exercise, 1,500 soldiers with
their vehicles and equipment were transported between two bases to
test the ability to move forces quickly.
Israeli Supreme Court OKs Torture
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's Supreme Court has given the country's security service the
right to use increased physical pressure in the interrogation of an
alleged member of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.
Israeli authorities say the man has information about impending
A special Supreme Court panel ruled that Israeli security services
can increase the level of physical pressure in the interrogation of
Mohammed Hamdan, 30, who was arrested three weeks ago.
The services convinced the court that Hamdan has information about
attacks against Israelis which have been planned, but not yet
Israeli law allows the use of what is called "moderate physical
pressure" in all interrogations, and more severe measures in
special cases. The tactics used are believed to include putting
smelly bags over prisoners' heads, depriving them of sleep, tying
them in uncomfortable positions, or locking them in small cabinets
and violent shaking. At least one prisoner died last year after
being shaken by interrogators.
Opponents of such measures -- including Hamdan's Israeli lawyer
Andre Rosenthal -- call them "torture" and say they are never
justified. Rosenthal says he does not want to live in a country
where such things are done. But Rosenthal says that in a closed
court session the president of Israel's Supreme Court, Aharon
Barak, rejected that idea, asking rhetorically whether upholding
that principle was worth the lives of thousands of people who could
die in a terrorist attack.
Female Circumcision Outlawed in U.S.
By Nancy Steinbach (VOA-Washington)
Congress has approved a bill banning female genital cutting. The
law makes it illegal in the United States to cut the sexual organs
of girls under the age of 18. It also requires government
officials to warn parents moving to the United States. The parents
could be sent to prison for five years if such an operation takes
place on their daughters. American health officials believe that
about 15,000 girls and women could be threatened or already have
Female genital cutting includes a number of different operations
to cut off parts of female sexual organs or to injure them.
Sometimes the vaginal opening is sewn closed. Health experts
have long recognized the operation's harmful effects, including
extreme pain, infection and the inability to experience sexual
Female genital cutting is done in about 28 countries in Africa and
Asia. Experts say as many as 100 million women around the world
have experienced it.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., led the effort to approve the law. He
said female genital cutting cannot be considered similar to male
circumcision where the foreskin of a male baby's penis is removed.
He says that operation causes little pain, and the pain stops in a
day or two. Female cutting causes extreme pain that may never stop.
He says about 15 percent of the women have very severe problems and
die as a result.
Ovadia Yosef Rules Kidney Donations a mitzvah
Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has published a Jewish
law ruling permitting those who can afford to spare a kidney to
donate one to people in need of transplants.
The ruling, or Halacha, applies both to living donors and to those
newly deceased, and designates organ donation a mitzvah -- a
Jewish-law commandment. The new Halacha is being viewed as a
breakthrough in the effort to involve the traditional and religious
population in the practice of organ donation.
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