Newsletter : 4fax0730.txt
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Arrow Missile Downs Scud Over Pacific
The Arrow anti-ballistic missile system performed as hoped during Thursday's test held
off the California coast. Wednesday's planned test was postponed due to inclement weather
conditions. Military officials proudly boasted the Arrow was on target, downing an
incoming SCUD rocket over the Pacific Ocean.
Hizbullah Warns Against the Harming of Al-Aqsa
In letter to Muslim sages, Hizbullah Secretary General warned Israel that such an act
could "change the region entirely."
Only days after the warning of Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi about the threat of
Jewish extremists harming mosques on the Temple Mount, Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan
Nasrallah warned of any harm being done to the site.
In a letter sent to the Arab and Muslim religious sages around the world, the leader of
Hizbullah called on all the governments and people to regard the matter gravely and to
enforce an "historical stance," in order to make clear that harming the al-Aqsa mosque and
changing the Temple Mount would bring about the end of the Jewish entity, changing the
"We stand upon the verge of a dangerous and sensitive step and we must address it as
Arabs and Muslims, as well as other Semitic religions who respect the holy places. We must
cope differently than in the past", he wrote. Nasrallah referred to Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, and called for never allowing,
violating or spreading filth in the holy places again "as Sharon did in al-Aqsa".
Israel to Probe if Vanunu Violated Release Terms
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli police are investigating whether freed former nuclear technician Mordechai
Vanunu violated the terms of his release and endangered national security.
The high-level inquiry was launched after Vanunu told an Arabic newspaper that Israel
possesses hydrogen as well as atomic bombs. A special high-level team comprised of state
prosecutors, police and intelligence officers, has been formed to investigate Vanunu. The
key question before them is whether Vanunu has breached the conditions of his release by
giving interviews to the foreign media and endangered Israel's security.
The probe follows an interview published in the London-based Arabic weekly Al-Wassat.
Vanunu is quoted by that newspaper as saying Israel has up to 200 atomic warheads, as well
as a neutron bomb and hydrogen bombs. Israeli officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said Vanunu would be brought in for questioning over the interview.
He was set free in April, after serving 18 years in prison for divulging classified
information about Israel's nuclear program to the London Sunday Times. The article was
based on Vanunu's employment at Israel's secret Dimona reactor in the southern Negev
desert. In releasing him, Israel placed a number of strict restrictions on Vanunu,
including a ban on talking to foreign media and traveling abroad.
On Monday, Israel's Supreme Court rejected his petition to have the restrictions
lifted. The court ruled that Vanunu still has more secrets to disclose about the Dimona
reactor and this posed a risk to national security. The head of the Israeli parliamentary
committee on defense and foreign affairs, Yuval Steinitz, said the government should place
Vanunu in administrative detention. Steinitz said the interview given by Vanunu
constitutes a flagrant breach of the conditions for his release.
Israeli Algorithms Help You to Get Your Dates Straight
By Tel Aviv University Press Service
The e-mail came from a Swede requesting that Tel Aviv University Professor Nachum
Dershowitz look into the rules of the Samaritan calendar "since he was already there in
Thus began the latest odyssey of Dershowitz, a member of the School of Computer
Science, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, in systemizing yet another
of the world's dating systems - this time of a secretive, traditionalist religious sect of
only 1,000 people that live in a radius of about 65 miles from the TAU campus.
To date, Dershowitz and his colleague Prof. Edward M. Reingold of the Illinois
Institute of Technology have mathematically analyzed 25 of the world's calendars in the
first and only project of its kind. They have provided equations and algorithms for quick
and accurate calculation of dates within each system, as well as for conversion of dates
The second edition of their book, Calendrical Calculations, encodes the rules for two-dozen calendars in mathematical form, and describes how they relate to one another. Among the systems described are the Gregorian (in near universal use today), Islamic, Persian, Coptic, Baha'i, Hebrew, Mayan, Chinese and modern Hindu. (www.calendarists.com)
"When you want to know in advance whether a particular date is a holiday, or when
Ramadan will be in 2010, or how to convert the Chinese New Year into a date in the Jewish
calendar," Dershowitz said, "the calculations can be very intricate."
What he and Reingold did was to define for several major calendar groups exactly how
they could be computed. Their algorithms for date conversion are surprisingly concise,
considering the complicated math on which they are based.
One problem solved by the calendrical algorithms is rampant errors in computer
software. Leap years were inserted into spreadsheet programs where they shouldn't be, and
daylight savings time was miscalculated in computer operating systems. Now, the
researchers' accurate dating and conversion tools are used in business, communications,
genealogical and diary software.
Dershowitz noted that, for the Chinese calendar, there had been no calculations in a
Western language beforehand. For the difficult, geographically based Indian calendars -
which can vary from province to province - there had never been an attempt to program
But the best story by far involves the Persian calendar. Like the Gregorian calendar,
the Persian calendar is solar, but the lengths of the months are calculated differently,
as are leap days and leap years. Using library resources and faxed messages with an
official in Tehran, Dershowitz and Reingold cracked the system, simplified it, and wrote
up the math.
Their solutions were so elegant that the government of Iran invited them to attend a
conference there - the first time that American-born scientists were asked to visit since
the fall of the Shah in 1979.
Their calendrical calculations are also being used by computer scientist W. Daniel
Hillis, laureate of Tel Aviv University's 2002 Dan David Prize, who is building a clock
for all time. His '10,000 year' clock synchronizes the date-keeping systems of many
cultures and displays various calendar systems such as the Mayan, Muslim and Hindu ones.
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