Newsletter : 0fax0615.txt
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>JN June 15, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 102
Clinton to Meet Arafat Thursday
By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)
President Clinton meets with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat at the
White House Thursday - a day after Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
in the Washington area were abruptly suspended.
Clinton had hoped the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
would make enough progress to allow him to schedule a three-way
meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat.
But just as the Palestinian delegation decided to suspend the talks
over disputes about the Israeli handover of more West Bank land and
the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, Clinton
told reporters at the White House that the time is not yet right
for a three-way summit.
"Obviously, I have never ruled that out. But I think we need to
get the parties a little closer before we can go there. We do not
have a lot of time, we are down to all the hard issues now, and we
are working on it. I am hopeful, but I do not want to hold out
false hopes. I do not think I can tell you anything other than
that I think that we are making steady progress. We have seen the
narrowing of some of the gaps, but I do not think we are ready to
have the final meeting yet."
Palestinian negotiators say they want to consult with Arafat during
his visit to Washington before they proceed. Clinton - who met with
Barak earlier this month in Lisbon - hopes to use his meeting with
Arafat to accelerate the talks.
The two parties have committed themselves to a self-imposed
deadline of mid-September for completing a final peace accord.
They are working on a framework agreement on so-called `final
status issues,' including the status of Jerusalem, borders, and
Jewish settlements on occupied lands.
Bashar Assad Expected to Maintain Father's Policies
By Scott Bobb (VOA-Damascus)
Hundreds of people in Syria on Wednesday offered their condolences
to the son and designated heir of the late President Hafez
al-Assad. One day after the late president was buried near his
family home in northwestern Syria, the country continues to
mourn its leader of nearly 30 years, and begins to ponder the
future with his likely successor.
The sounds of Koran verses emanated from mosques and radios across
Syria, as the country continued to mourn the late Hafez al-Assad.
Streets were virtually deserted. Attention is increasingly focusing
on the late president's son, Bashar al-Assad, who is expected to be
Syria's next president.
Dr. Bashar -- as he is known here -- was named commander of the
armed forces on Sunday, one day after his father died. And he is
expected to be named head of the sole legal political party on
Saturday. He is due to be nominated for the presidency by
parliament in 10 days, after which a popular referendum is to be
held to confirm him as Syria's next president.
Syrian political commentators agree Dr. Bashar is well on his way
to grasping the main levers of political power in Syria. In foreign
policy, Syrian observers say the main challenge will be the peace
negotiations with Israel, which currently are deadlocked over a
small strip of the Golan Heights bordering the Galilee Sea, or Lake
A former advisor to President Assad, Georges Jabbour, said he does
not believe Dr. Bashar has the intention or the liberty to give up
any part of the Golan.
Jabbour says until there is peace with Israel, it will be difficult
to modernize the economy or to fully participate in the technology
revolution and the movement toward globalization.
Although most observers do not expect rapid change under Syria's
new leadership, they acknowledge that there are expectations of
some change -- especially from the younger generation. They are
waiting to see how Syria's new leadership will address these
Suffering From Modesty
Women who dress in clothing that covers their entire bodies are
liable to suffer from a lack of vitamin D, which effects bone
density, and could lead to breaks of the hip bone.
In a study made of Saudi Arabian women, whose dress covers up their
bodies, it was discovered that even the younger women suffer a lack
of vitamin D, which is created in the skin through exposure to the
sun. Researchers believe the lack of vitamin D is due to the modest
Dr. Tzofia Ish-Shalom, director of the department of the metabolism
of the bone and calcium in the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa,
recommends that Hareidi (ultra-Orthodox) women and others who avoid
exposure to the sun check their vitamin D levels.
"I recommend to continue being careful about exposure to the sun,
but also to examine young women who cover their bodies in order to
catch and treat vitamin D deficiency at an early stage." She also
stated that there is no danger in receiving treatment levels of
vitamin D, since the body knows how to modulate use of the vitamin,
and there is no danger of vitamin D poisoning.
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