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Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower Arrested


Nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu was arrested Thursday for allegedly revealing classified information, seven months after he completed an 18-year prison sentence for treason, police said. He was put under house arrest after being detained on suspicion of leaking national secrets and violating legal rulings since his release from prison. Vanunu ended an 18-year prison term for treason in April, but was barred from leaving Israel. Security sources had said he was under surveillance on suspicion of giving unauthorized interviews to foreign media.

Arafat's Funeral Set for Friday; U.S. Kowtows, Sends Official Envoy

By Ursula Lindsey (VOA-Cairo)

The body of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, who died early Thursday in a Paris hospital, has been flown from France to Egypt. Preparations are under way in Cairo for a memorial service for Arafat. A video obituary is available at

His body arrived in Cairo Thursday evening, after receiving a solemn military send-off in a ceremony at the French Villa Coublay airport. On Thursday morning, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak paid tribute to Arafat during the opening session of the Egyptian parliament. Mubarak offered Egypt's condolences to the Palestinian people, describing Arafat's death as a heavy loss for the Arab and Islamic nations.

The Egyptian parliament observed a moment of silence in honor of Arafat. Egypt has declared three days of official mourning, and will host a memorial service for Arafat on Friday morning, at which the Palestinian leader will receive official military honors. Heads of state of most Arab countries and foreign ministers from around the world are expected to attend the ceremony. European Union High Representative Javier Solana and U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns will also attend. Heightened security measures are in place around the airport and in the city itself.

Arafat was born in Cairo on Aug. 24, 1929. He grew up in Cairo and Jerusalem and attended the University of Faud I, later Cairo University, before abandoning his studies at 19 to dedicate himself to the Palestinian resistance. Egypt has been a friend and supporter of Arafat's throughout most of his career, and has played a key role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Some in Egypt have criticized Arafat's leadership. In the government-backed Al Ahram newspaper, columnist Anis Mansour recently wrote that "We in Egypt will not forget that Yasir Arafat broadcast the [Um Kulthoum] song Rejoice my Heart when [Egyptian] President [Anwar] Sadat was assassinated."

But in general, Egyptians associate Arafat with the Palestinian struggle, with which they have great sympathy. As the head of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Mohamed Abdel Moneim Saiid, also wrote in the pages of Al Ahram, "it has become difficult to talk about the Palestinian state and the Palestinian cause without talking about Arafat."

The official ceremony on Friday will be held under tight security and will not be open to the public. But many ordinary Egyptians are expected to gather in downtown Cairo in front of the Al Azhar mosque after Friday prayers to express their sadness over Arafat's death and their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Senior PA official Saeb Erekat reiterated his statements to the media, explaining he is certain that Friday's burial of Arafat in Ramallah is temporary, and that "The president" will be buried in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, when it is the capital of a Palestinian state.

Palestinians Mourn Arafat's Death; Israelis Step Up Security

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinians are mourning the death of their leader, Yasir Arafat, as preparations are made for his burial in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and Israel has stepped up security and sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to avert unrest. Palestinian radio and television carried readings from the Muslim holy book the Koran.

At Arafat's compound in Ramallah, security guards were seen wiping away tears, flags were lowered to half-staff and workmen were preparing the Muquata compound for Arafat's burial there. In Ramallah, Palestinian journalist Nabhan Kreishi described the scene, earlier Thursday. "The people in the streets are sad and looking to the gates of the Muquata [Arafat's compound]. People are coming. They are chanting with tears and sadness," he said. "They cannot believe their leader is gone."

In Gaza, Palestinians took to the streets, early Thursday, to demonstrate their grief. Many carried Palestinian flags and pictures of their long-time leader. Others waved black-and-white checkered headscarves -- long an Arafat trademark. Others fired guns into the air.

Even though the news of Arafat's death came as no great surprise -- he had been seriously ill for two weeks and in a coma for a full week -- a sense of grief prevailed. "He gathered the Palestinian people," said Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat. "He united them and kept the national identity alive. " He's the one who began the peace process." For Palestinians, Arafat remains a hero -- the father of a nation they hope to build. For many Israelis, however, he was a supporter of terrorism.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said. Arafat's death could bring about an "historic turning point for the Middle East." Sharon said Israel is a country that seeks peace and would continue efforts to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. He said the new Palestinian leadership must work toward stopping terrorism.

Israeli opposition Labor Party leader Shimon Peres knew Arafat throughout many years. The two men shared the Nobel Peace Prize with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, for concluding the Oslo Peace agreements in 1993. Peres told Israel Radio that Arafat's death marks the end of an era. He said Arafat's biggest achievements were when he turned to peace and his worst mistakes were made when he turned to terror.

IDF on High Alert Following Arafat's Death

By & Ha'aretz

Forty days of mourning have been declared in the Palestinian Authority, but the IDF is not assuming they will pass quietly. Disturbances have already been registered in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Heavily beefed-up forces are deployed around Ramallah and elsewhere in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. A full military closure has been declared in these areas, but Arabs will be allowed to leave Yesha in cases of medical or other emergency. All official PA activity will be halted for a week, and there will be no commerce for three days, in commemoration of the death of arch-terrorist Arafat.

The PA leadership held an emergency meeting Thursday, ratifying decisions made in the past few days regarding the allocation of power. Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, will have the top spot, namely, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee; Muhammed Qurei (Abu Ala) will continue as Prime Minister and head the National Security Council and the security organs; and Rouhi Fattouh, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (the parliament), will serve as Palestinian Authority chairman for the coming 60 days, until elections for a successor are held.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon warned that the PA lacks the manpower in Ramallah to maintain control, in the event that the funeral gets out of hand. The IDF will not enter Ramallah Friday, but will rather isolate it, maintaining a tight outer perimeter - especially to the south, making sure no attempt is made by the mobs to advance towards the capital. The Chief of Staff said that if the Arabs attempt to march towards Jerusalem, they would be stopped. Protection has also been reinforced in the country's prisons, where some 4,000 terrorists - known as "security prisoners" - are incarcerated.

Israel will allow Palestinian security forces to take charge of security arrangements during Arafat's burial in Ramallah, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided Thursday. Since Israel still has not issued any official permit for security staff to carry weapons in the West Bank, the decision effectively means that Israel will not act against Palestinians carrying weapons during the burial. The Israel Defense Forces will continue to secure the area surrounding Ramallah (the "Jerusalem envelope").

The IDF will permit Israeli citizens who want to participate in the burial to do so, provided that they get advance permission and agree that they are responsible for the consequences.

Police on Thursday closed the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors, as part of the general alert declared in the wake of Arafat's death. Though there is no specific intelligence regarding plans to spark a riot, the violent incidents in East Jerusalem on Tuesday, in which dozens of Muslim worshipers clashed with policemen after emerging from neighborhood mosques, are thought likely to repeat themselves Friday.

The Temple Mount, where tens of thousands of worshipers are expected to attend the Ramadan prayers, is likely to be a particularly volatile flash point. Israel will not allow worshippers to enter Jerusalem from the West Bank for Friday prayers there.

And Knesset member Uri Ariel (National Union) said that Arafat's funeral would cause widespread Sabbath desecration for thousands of Jews, and should be put off. He informed Prime Minister Sharon that such Sabbath desecration "as a result of this evil person" is unacceptable. "The funeral is liable to cause thousands of Jewish soldiers, policemen, Border Guard fighters, and guards to massively desecrate the Sabbath. They will be forced to deploy at the border crossings at Rafiah and the Allenby Bridge, as well as around Ramallah."

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Ariel said that the funeral must not be allowed to take place on Friday or Saturday night, or anytime in between, "in order to prevent this massive and unnecessary Sabbath desecration."

The late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who was the IDF's Chief Rabbi for many years, said almost 10 years ago that soldiers must not take part in anything having to do with the Sabbath arrival of Arafat in Yesha. The situation Friday may or may not be analogous, in that the funeral is liable to lead to rioting and an immediate danger to Jewish life, for which Sabbath deployment would be permissible.

Going 3D the Israeli Way


The virtual world of computers is finally catching up with reality and going three-dimensional, and an Israeli company is pioneering a simple approach to creating 3D content using a regular digital camera.

Until now, anyone who wanted to take a 3D photograph needed many cameras in different positions to take pictures of a scene from various angles. All these views of the scene were then merged to create a stereoscopic image, which means that, just like in real life when we look at something, each eye sees a different image and the brain combines the two to create a three-dimensional picture, without having to wear 3D glasses.

HumanEyes does away with all these cameras. In 2001, the company licensed technology developed by Professor Shmuel Peleg at the Hebrew University for taking 3D images with just one camera. The software that HumanEyes developed, called HumanEyes 3D, creates a stereoscopic photograph by taking the pictures from a single digital camera which has been swept over a scene in continuous mode, or has taken a number of still pictures of the scene. It can even create a 3D picture of a complete 360-degree panorama - something that could never be achieved before with multiple cameras.

Using only one camera, "the software calculates the virtual places where [multiple] cameras would be taking pictures if they existed," HumanEyes CEO and founder Gideon Ben Zvi said. The software pretends that there are many cameras photographing the scene, and creates the views that each of these pretend cameras would see, merging them to create a three-dimensional rendering of the scene. HumanEyes also allows the photographer to then create a picture of the scene from a different angle or zoom in on one particular place without having to re-take new photographs.

The resulting picture, which is made up of tiny, one-pixel-wide slices of selected views of the scene, is printed out and a special lenticular plastic sheet put over it so each eye sees a different image, and the viewer sees a 3D picture. Now the image can also be seen on the new 3D monitors, such as those from Sharp, that are just hitting the computer market.

HumanEyes' first application was aimed at graphic artists working in the packaging and advertising markets. One of the first to test the software in 2003 was Coca Cola, which used it to design vending machines with 3D pictures of Coke cans.

Despite the fact that almost four years have passed since HumanEyes was founded, no single-camera "shoot-and-click" 3D competitors have appeared on the scene. HumanEyes, which is based in the High Tech Village of the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem, has offices in New York and Osaka, Japan, is now in the enviable position of having enough money in the bank, and doesn't need to raise any more funds. Ben Zvi believes it will become something everyone will have to have, even if they don't have a 3D content creation application. "It's like buying a mono radio for your car," he says. "Even though you only listen to news, you want to hear it in stereo."

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