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Thailand Charges Israeli with Wife's Grisly Murder

By Reuters

Eli Cohen, 236, an Israeli tourist accused of killing his wife, chopping up her body and dumping it into a Bangkok canal was charged with murder by Thai prosecutors Monday. He was arrested in February and accused of murdering his 26-year-old wife, Carol, after the discovery of a torso in a suitcase dumped in a canal. Other body parts and a head were found later in the canal and forensic tests confirmed the dismembered body was his wife. Cohen is charged with violent and premeditated murder. He is also accused of removing, hiding and destroying his victim to cover up the crime. Cohen, who denies the charges, is due to give a formal plea in court on April 22. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of death by lethal injection.

Bush, Mubarak Back Proposal to Close Gaza Strip Settlements

By Greg Flakus (VOA-Crawford, Texas), & Ha'aretz

President Bush and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are backing a proposal by Israel to close settlements in the Gaza Strip, as long as it is part of an overall move for peace in the Middle East. The two leaders are meeting at Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas,

Both said closing Israeli settlements in Gaza would be a positive development. They added that the ultimate goal should be a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution. Bush said he and Mubarak both want a lasting peace and a stable, prosperous region. "Our objective in the Middle East must be true peace, not just a pause between wars," he added. "This can only happen within a framework of democracy and stability." Bush said he would discuss these issues further when he meets Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Bush warned that a Gaza withdrawal would not take the place of the road map to Middle East peace, which he unveiled in June 2003. "If he [Sharon] were to decide to withdraw, it would be a positive development. We both are in agreement that if Israel makes a decision to withdraw, it doesn't replace the road map."

But, the president said, a Palestinian state would remain in jeopardy "if terrorists are willing to kill" in order to interrupt progress. "We can't let people blow up the process, but that's what's happening," he said. Mubarak added, "It's a very complicated problem."

The two countries want to make sure the withdrawal does not allow the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas to cement its grip over Palestinian affairs in Gaza, where the militants have been a powerful force. Egypt has offered to secure its side of the border with the Strip, a move Israel sees as crucial to stemming the flow of weapons to Hamas.

While welcoming a pullout from occupied land, the Palestinians have said unless Israel leaves the West Bank entirely there is little hope of reviving the road map, which has been stalled by tit-for-tat Israeli-Palestinian violence. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Monday that any U.S. guarantees regarding an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that jeopardize final status negotiations with Israel would not be recognized by the Palestinians.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Americans are resisting such assurances. Instead, he said, the Americans will say a final settlement has to be reached through negotiations. "Any guarantees to Israel that affect the final status issues... are unacceptable and will be rejected," said Qureia following a meeting of the Palestinian cabinet in Ramallah on Monday.

"We warn, starting from now, that there should not be promises made at the expense of our issues... or at the expense of final status issues in particular," Qureia told reporters. "We will not accept anything that will prejudice the outcome of permanent status negotiations... We are the side that needs assurances."

Hours before departing for the United States, Sharon said Monday evening that the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim would be included in the "Jerusalem envelope" plan. He went on to say that the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, Givat Ze'ev, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, and enclaves in the West Bank city of Hebron would remain under Israel's control. Ariel, Gush Etzion, and Givat Ze'ev will remain under Israeli control, and will continue to develop and strengthen. Hebron and Kiryat Arba will be strong."

Terror Infiltration Attack Prevented in Netzarim

By, Ha'aretz & VOA News

Soldiers over the holiday prevented another infiltration into the Gaza community of Netzarim. Three terrorists were killed. IDF commanders believe the terrorists were eight in number, attempting to infiltrate the community from a number of directions under the cover of mortar shellfire. Soldiers stationed in the community repelled the attack.

The 400 residents were instructed to remain in their homes and bomb shelters Monday morning and pray alone as opposed in the community synagogues as is customary on the holiday. Later in the morning they were permitted to make their way to synagogues and recited the "Hallel" prayer of praise and thanks to the Almighty, which become especially relevant following the planned major attack that was thwarted. At noon, residents were once again permitted to resume regular holiday activities.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed joint responsibility for the operation. The three groups have increasingly cooperated in attacks on Israelis. A joint statement issued in Gaza in the name of the three groups said that the intended target of the operation was an IDF headquarters near Netzarim. No soldiers or settlers were injured in the incident.

The Mormon-Jewish Controversy: 'The Problem That Won't Go Away'


The controversy over posthumous baptism of Jews by members of the Mormon Church is heating up again--just 10 years after the Jewish genealogical community exposed the practice.

A group of genealogists has examined recent versions of the Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI) and Ordinance Index (OI) and have determined that Mormon religious rituals on Jews go on unabated. In 1995, the Church removed the names of 360,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust from their records. Some of these very names have reappeared in the IGI and OI. Other research has demonstrated that the names of tens of thousands of Jews have appeared in the IGI/OI since 1995 despite the Church's agreement to limit the practice.

Mormons practice the ritual of posthumous baptism on Jews and other non-Mormons to save the souls of these persons. To save their souls, it is the Mormon belief that the individuals must accept the teachings of Jesus.

Israeli Computer Whiz Develops Linux Application for Windows

By Ha'aretz

Dan Aloni, a 21-year-old computer science student, has caused a stir in the computing world by developing a Linux application that works within Microsoft's Windows system. Linux is a popular open source operating system - unlike Windows with which it competes, its code is freely available for users to see and modify.

Aloni, a graduate of an IDF computer unit, developed his project along with several Japanese programmers who, like him, are members of the open source community on the Internet. The significance of the development is that Linux and Windows are able to work in parallel on the same computer or server. To now, the computer world is divided into systems that operate either with Windows or with Linux.

Shahar Shemesh, a member of the Israeli open source forum, said the advantage of the application for large organizations is that it allows them to make large savings by running systems on the same machine, which until now required separate computers.

Aloni's project, called CoLinux, was released on the Web a month ago, but is only at a trial stage. Pini Cohen a senior information systems analyst at computer research company Meta Group Israel has called the development "an important stage in breaking Microsoft's monopoly.

"As the trend is for Linux to take a more important role in organizations, Aloni's development is extremely interesting. The question is how Microsoft will react and whether it will allow support for Windows systems if they have Linux systems installed on them." Microsoft has so far made no comment on Aloni's development.

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