Newsletter : 7fax1202.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
>JN Dec. 2, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 220
Iraq Could Destroy the World
By IINS News Service
Saddam Hussein may have produced enough of the deadly chemical VX
to kill everyone on earth, US Defense Secretary William Cohen said
last week. "Originally they indicated they had just a small
quantity of VX. One drop on your finger would produce death in a
few moments. Now the UN believes that Saddam may have produced as
much as 200 tons of VX. This would theoretically be enough to kill
every man, woman and child on the face of the earth." said Cohen.
Nazi Gold Conference opens in London
By Andre de Nesnera (VOA-London)
A three-day conference on Nazi gold opens in London Tuesday with
about 40 countries attending. The British government is hosting
this conference which builds on a pledge made by the new Labor
administration after it came to office in May.
British officials make clear it is not a decision-making
conference. They say it will give historians and researchers
attending the meeting a chance to pool their information and
resources concerning the gold looted by the Nazis from countries as
well as individuals.
Greville Janner is a former member of parliament, now chairman of
Britain's Holocaust Educational Trust -- a lobbying group. He
told reporters the three-day session will give participants a
chance to "open their minds as well as their archives."
"This conference is a moral miracle. It is the first time that
there has ever been a gathering of this sort of many nations with
the sole purpose of seeking the truth as a step on the path to
restitution -- restitution to survivors of Nazi persecution and
Janner would like the gathering to focus its attention on the
issue of the 5.5 tons of Nazi gold worth about $60 million still
held in British and American banks. In 1946, Britain, the United
States and France set up the so-called Tripartite Commission to
deal with and distribute gold recovered by the Allies to
Nazi-occupied countries. All but two percent of the original total
-- in other words the 5.5 tons -- has been given back. Janner
wants the gold to be given to the 350,000 survivors of the Nazi
One of the conference participants -- Switzerland -- is expected
to come under heavy criticism for its role during World War 2.
Historians say during that time, Nazi germany deposited about $7
billion worth of gold in Swiss banks. Most of the gold came from
central banks overrun and occupied by the Nazis. But the gold also
came from dispossessed private businesses and individuals -- mostly
The head of the Swiss delegation to the talks -- Thomas Borer --
told British radio it is time for the Swiss to stop apologizing for
their role during World War 2. "The Swiss government is in a very
good position because we have taken unprecedented steps. We have
established a 270-million Swiss franc (about $190 million) special
fund for needy Holocaust victims. No other government has set up
such a fund. I do not think that other countries are going to
attack us, because all countries know they have committed many,
many mistakes during the Second World War -- and there is no
country that is really in a position to throw stones at
Switzerland because they may sit in a glass house themselves."
But Borer warns if Switzerland will be attacked at the conference,
he will not hesitate to respond.
Who Will Succeed Arafat?
By IINS News Service
Concerns about Yasir Arafat's state of health have raised
speculation about likely successors to the man who holds the reins
of the PLO and the self-rule Palestinian Authority.
Although he continues to insist that reports of his ailing
condition are nothing but Israeli "propaganda," the 69-year-old
Arafat hasn't looked well for months. One expert has suggested he
has entered early stages of Parkinson's Disease.
This has led to discussion among Palestinians, Israelis and
diplomats about his replacement and the future of the Palestinian
Arafat's likeliest successor is Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), 62,
usually referred to as Arafat's deputy, although reportedly not
popular among ordinary Palestinians. Abbas was a key player on the
PLO side in negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords. Another
possibility is Ahmed Korei, 60, another Oslo architects and now the
speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
A gloomier prospect -- but one more in keeping with Mideast
transfers of power -- is that one or both of Arafat's preventive
security chiefs will seize control. They are Jibril Rajoub, 42, who
runs the division in the "West Bank," and his Gaza counterpart,
Mohammad Dahlan, 37. This could in turn lead to a deteriorating
security situation, as various security agencies and other armed
groups compete for power.
Optimists are hoping that whoever succeeds Arafat will usher in a
more open, democratic system in the self-rule area, and a more
pragmatic approach to negotiations.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)