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Jerusalem Resident Suspected Of Spreading Computer Virus


Israel Police detectives acting on a tip from Interpol arrested a Jerusalem resident suspected of spreading the viper computer virus. Police report the suspect admitted to spreading the email virus that has infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.

Israel Seals Gaza, Sharon, Abbas to Meet Friday

By VOA News &

Officials say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will meet with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas on Friday as Israel imposes a sweeping new travel ban on the Gaza Strip. Both developments came just one day after Secretary of State Colin Powell met separately with both leaders and urged them to take immediate steps to implement the "road map" peace plan.

Powell urged Israel to ease harsh restrictions on Palestinian movement in the occupied territories. Israel responded by lifting its closure of the West Bank and Gaza. However, by nightfall Sunday, the new travel ban was in effect. Israeli media says the Gaza closure follows new intelligence that terror groups were planning to carry out more suicide bombings inside Israel.

Sharon has officially rejected the U.S. demand for a total freeze on construction activity in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza). It was learned Monday that Sharon told Powell that he would not prevent young people who were born in the towns from building their homes there. "I don't call them settlements, but rather communities," Sharon said, adding, "We also won't force young mothers to have abortions."

Powell told Israel's Channel Two last night that President Bush "expects to speak to [Prime Minister Sharon] in very open, straightforward, honest, candid terms about settlement activity and settlements in general when he sees Sharon next week." Sharon, however, rebuffed the veiled threat, telling Ynet that his relationship with Bush is not one where Bush "makes demands."

Dr. Mati Erlichman of Beit El told Arutz-7 that the birthrate in Binyamin-area communities is very high, "and just as significantly, very consistent. In Beit El, for instance, we have a natural growth rate of 4%, which is very high, and there are 10-11 nurseries here... What this means is that these towns are dynamic, alive. Many of the babies born here 20-25 years ago are now establishing their own families in other communities nearby - children from Beit El are now in Ofrah, and some from Ofrah are now in Eli, etc. We're alive!"

While calling for Israeli concessions, Powell also urged Palestinian leaders to rein-in militant groups responsible for the suicide attacks. Powell continued his peace mission Monday, meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before traveling to the Jordanian capital, Amman, for Tuesday talks with King Abdullah.

Jordan has been a staunch U.S. ally and is one of only two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Powell was expected to thank the Jordanian monarch for his country's quiet support during the Iraq war and also promote the road map. A spokesman for the royal court told VOA the king would emphasize the need to begin implementing the road map immediately.

Powell's peace efforts have been met with disappointment and skepticism among Arabs. There is disappointment that even after talks Sunday with Sharon, he could not get Israel to endorse the road map, while the Palestinians have done so. Powell said the important thing was that Israel and the Palestinians have found enough common ground to at least take some steps toward defusing tensions. He says the two sides need to sit down to negotiate other differences.

The peace plan - authored by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - calls for a series of goodwill concessions by both sides leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005.

Soviet Double Agent May Have Betrayed Wallenberg

By Reuters

A Soviet double agent may have betrayed the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps in World War II, a researcher said Monday.

Swedish author Wilhelm Agrell said his study of secret service correspondence in Swedish and Soviet archives led him to believe his friend, Vilmos Bohm, turned in Wallenberg, who was arrested by Soviet secret police in Hungary in January 1945. Agrell said in an article in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter the archives show Bohm was a Soviet double agent codenamed Orestes, who may have told the Soviets of Wallenberg's activities.

A Swedish government report in March says Wallenberg and Bohm both worked undercover for Britain and the United States, with Bohm acting as a middleman in Stockholm. "If Bohm reported to his Soviet employers what he reported to his superiors in the British delegation, Raoul Wallenberg was betrayed and the fate he met no longer appears a mystery," Agrell wrote in the newspaper.

Russia has said Wallenberg was taken to Moscow's notorious Lubyanka prison where he died in 1947 and acknowledged the diplomat was held by the Soviets for political reasons.

Wallenberg helped thousands of Hungarian Jews escape transport to and near certain death in Nazi Germany's concentration camps by issuing them Swedish passports.

A Hungarian, Bohm spent the war years in Sweden posing as a Social Democrat and political refugee. He was later Hungary's ambassador to Sweden after the war.

Wallenberg's fate has been an unsolved mystery and critics have said Sweden has made little effort to find out the truth - possibly because of Wallenberg's close ties with Washington.

Sweden was neutral in World War II and walked a diplomatic tightrope between the superpowers during the Cold War. It has refused to declare Wallenberg legally dead without proof.

"Information on Bohm's role as a Soviet agent does not solve all the puzzles around Wallenberg, but they open another dark dimension in an intelligence game which the drama of the young diplomat Raoul Wallenberg clearly was a part of," Agrell said.

Teen Dies When Loudspeaker Hits his Head at Graduation Party

By Uri Ash (Ha'aretz)

An 18-year-old boy from Kibbutz Maoz Haim in the Beit She'an area died overnight Monday when a loudspeaker fell on top of him at his high school graduation party. The teen had climbed up a stand to which a large speaker was attached, the Beit She'an police said. The stand, which was in a chicken coop-cum-club in Kibbutz Hemdiya, north of Beit She'an - where the party was held - then fell on top of him.

The loudspeaker hit the teen's head, seriously wounding him. He died from his wounds a short time later and his body was taken to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute. The teen was one of 60 12th graders celebrating their graduation from the Neve Eitan School, also in the Beit She'an area, which is on the edge of the Jordan Valley.

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