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Elderly Husband Kills Hospitalized Wife


An elderly man shot his wife to death in the geriatric ward of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem Wednesday. According to witnesses, he shot her in the head several times, critically wounding her. She died a short time later. After he shot his wife, he remained seated at her bedside with the licensed handgun in his hand. When questioned by police, he told them she asked him to put her out of her misery. Other patients in the room told police that he was at her bedside regularly, hours a day, waiting on her "hand and foot."

Report: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan Sign Nuclear Agreement

By Ha'aretz

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed a secret agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear weapons technology, The Washington Times reported Wednesday. Saudi Crown revealed the deal following an official visit to Islamabad Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

The agreement "will be vehemently denied by both countries," a Pakistani source told The Washington Times, "but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide [Saudi Arabia] with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent." Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia denied the reports of a secret agreement on nuclear arms cooperation.

IDF Intelligence Commander Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that senior Saudi officials are now conducting negotiations in Pakistan for the positioning of Pakistani nuclear warheads within Saudi territory. According to Ze'evi, the long-range surface-to-surface missiles the Saudi military has can be armed with nuclear warheads. The belief is that the Saudis desire to counter the Iranian attempts to arm themselves with nuclear weaponry.

Egypt Insists Israel Raze Security Barrier

By James Martone (VOA-Cairo) & Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, says Israel must comply with a United Nations resolution to tear down the security barrier it is building in the West Bank. Ahmed Maher, Egypt's Foreign Minister, said he would take up the issue with visiting Secretary of State Colin Powell. Maher said the international community should pressure Israel into complying with the U.N. non-binding resolution demanding that Israel "stop and reverse" the construction of a security barrier in the West Bank.

"Whether the resolution is binding or not binding, it does indicate resolve of the international community and its rejection of Israeli policies," said Maher. "I think this should be followed by actions by the countries who have voted for the resolution to make sure that Israel stops its actions in the occupied territories and particularly the building of this wall."

The U.N. General Assembly approved the resolution by a 144-4 vote. Among the countries that opposed the resolution were the United States and Israel, which said it needs the barrier for security reasons. The Israeli government said it would press on with the barrier.

Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed the lopsided U.N. vote and described the world body as routinely hostile towards Israel. Olmert told Israel Radio the government will press ahead with the security barrier. Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep out potential Palestinian terrorists and to protect Israeli lives. According to opinion polls, most Israelis support building a barrier, as do most political figures.

The barrier is part electronic fence topped with razor wire and part concrete wall, interspersed with watchtowers. Construction began more than a year ago.

EU Funds Sesame Street Show to Teach Mideast Kids Peace


The European Commission has unveiled a special pro-Middle East peace version of the popular U.S. children's television series "Sesame Street" for broadcast in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Officials said "Sesame Stories", produced by Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization with the help of a 2.5 million euro (about $2.8 million) European Union grant, will use the popular "Sesame Street" format of animated puppets to help spread a message of peace and tolerance among Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian children.

A total of seventy-eight stories designed to entertain 4 to 7-year old children have been co-produced by Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians in consultation with the Sesame Workshop, producers of the popular American series.

Themes dealt with in the Middle East version include acceptance, empathy and appreciating similarities and differences, the Commission said, adding that the programs had been produced after close consultation with educational advisors and child psychologists. "Working with children today will help build peace tomorrow," said Michael Leigh, the Commission's Middle East deputy director.

Swiss Banks to Provide Data on Holocaust-Related Accounts

By Shlomo Shamir, Ha'aretz

Swiss banks that settled a suit with Holocaust victims for $1.25 billion have agreed to give investigators limited access to information on millions of accounts.

The agreement, reached five years after the compensation fund was established, will help identify accounts that were lost or looted, the head lawyer for the Holocaust victims said. "It will enable us to determine if we should continue to press for further access," Burt Neuborne said in the New York Times on Monday.

An October 2 report by a court-appointed official criticized the Swiss banks for using bank secrecy laws to bar access to 4.1 million Nazi-era accounts, opened from 1933 to 1945. The banks released information on only 36,000 accounts.

Neuborne disclosed the new agreement in a filing in federal court in Brooklyn, where Holocaust victims and their relatives who deposited money in the banks for safekeeping before or during World War II filed the class-action lawsuit. In that lawsuit, settled in 1998, the plaintiffs charged that after the war, the banks refused to release the money, asking them to produce detailed account information or impossible-to-provide death certificates from Nazi concentration camps.

Under the new agreement reached this week, the banks will allow investigators appointed by the court to check a sample of 550 claims filed by heirs of Holocaust survivors against the list of dormant account owners maintained by the banks to see whether there are any matches. If accounts belonging to Holocaust survivors are identified in this way, the banks are expected to permit additional account names to be checked in this fashion.

Last week, a spokesman for the Swiss Bankers Association, Thomas Sutter, claimed that the banks were not obstructing access to information necessary to identify those who should be compensated. He said that the vast majority of accounts were unrelated to the Holocaust.

To date, the Swiss bank fund has dealt with 1,751 claims and paid out $131 million in compensation. Of the $1.25 billion in the fund, $800 million is earmarked for the payment of claims filed by survivors' heirs, while the remainder is earmarked for programs to assist needy Holocaust survivors.

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