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Israeli Navy Isn't Certain That Submarine was Friendly


Senior sources in the navy told IDF Radio, Tuesday, that it was not certain the submarine that infiltrated Israeli territorial waters, last week, was registered to a Western, friendly country. "The assessment that what we are talking about is a submarine belonging to a friendly, Western country is not necessarily correct," the sources were quoted as saying.

Powell to Meet with Israeli, Palestinian Leaders

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-State Department)

Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week to discuss prospects for reviving the Middle East peace process. He will travel to Israel and Palestinian-controlled territories ahead of a scheduled conference in Egypt.

On Monday, Powell talked of new opportunities for peace in the Middle East following the death of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The Bush administration had considered Arafat an obstacle to progress. "Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll be able to see how much potential there is in this new opportunity in the Middle East with the passing of Chairman Arafat," he said.

On Tuesday, spokesman Richard Boucher announced that Powell would travel this coming weekend to Israel and the Palestinian territories to talk about prospects for peace and to offer support for the Palestinian elections for a new leadership. "The secretary will meet with Israeli officials and the new Palestinian leadership to discuss how during this period of transition we can move forward toward peace and realize shared goals of the president's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security," he said.

France to Give Arafat's Medical Records to Family

By VOA News

France said it will give Yasir Arafat's medical file to his immediate family, but would not disclose the cause of his death to Palestinian officials who had asked for details. Speaking Tuesday in Paris, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said French law dictates that only family members are entitled to such information.

Arafat died Thursday in a French hospital near Paris, after slipping into a coma and suffering what doctors said was a brain hemorrhage. Physicians have not said what caused his death. Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia asked for a full medical report. The request is seen as an effort to end widespread Arab speculation that Arafat may have been poisoned by Israel. Senior Palestinian officials said there is no evidence of poisoning.

GSS Agent Firmly Planted in Yeshiva


A GSS (Shabak/General Security Service) agent who was planted as a "sleeper" agent in a hareidi yeshiva apparently fell into a deeper-than-expected slumber - and is now an observant Jew.

Yehoshua Meiri, host of a weekly show (in Hebrew) on Arutz-7 internet radio, told his listeners this week of a young man, loosely affiliated with the Shas Party, who signed up with the GSS in 1991. After a training period, his GSS handlers sent him to a yeshiva, with "instructions to be detailed later." He was told that some time in the future, he would be asked to act within right-wing circles in Jerusalem yeshivot such as Mir and Hevron, as well as Breslover institutions.

In the meantime, however, the "agent" became heavily involved in the spiritual life of the yeshiva, and married and built a family. A year and a half ago, when his handlers attempted to "wake him up" and utilize his services, he informed them in no uncertain terms that he was no longer the same person, that he was now fully religious and that he had no intention of cooperating with them. "Let me live my life," he told them.

Several months ago, they returned, though with a slightly more modest request. They asked that he gather around him right-wing/hareidi students from the above yeshivot - but again he rebuffed them. He has not heard from them since. Meiri, a veteran journalist with ties in the security establishment, stated that he knows of at least one other case similar to this one.

Imported Israeli Flags Cause Outcry


The Histadrut national labor union has called attention to the IDF practice of outsourcing the production of the flags used by the various branches of the military. "The government of Israel is dirtying the flag," said David Yifrach, chairman of the Histadrut's social welfare department. Yifrach added that while it may be more cost-efficient to produce the flags overseas, the money saved is then paid out as unemployment compensation to those workers fired as a result of the outsourced labor.

Yifrach called upon the public to refuse to wave flags made outside of the Jewish State, and to apply pressure on the IDF Chief of Staff, the Finance Minister and the Industry and Trade Minister to halt orders for Israeli military-unit flags from China.

Knesset member Shaul Yahalom (NRP), who serves as the chairman of the Knesset Labor and Social Affairs Committee, also condemned the practice. Yahalom suggested that in certain cases, tenders should be limited to Israeli companies. "We have to ensure that Israeli products receive proper market placement, especially when we are talking about symbols of the state," he told Voice of Israel Radio.

Israeli Technology Puts the Chill in Motorcycle Riders


If you're a motorcycle rider, there's not too many times of the year when you can feel comfortable riding in the elements. In the summer, all that protective clothing and helmet have you sweating buckets. And in the winter, despite all that protective gear, you're just as likely to freeze your tootsies off.

But an Israeli physicist-turned-inventor has developed the air-conditioned motorcycle - a novel solution that cools all those easy riders in the summer and warms them in the winter. And most importantly, as motorcycling fatalities in the U.S. rose for the sixth consecutive year during 2003 to 3,592, an increase of 11%, it will make motorcycle riding safer.

Glen Guttman and his company Entrosys have developed the prototype for the electronic unit powered by a standard motorcycle battery which funnels cold or warm air into a thermal undershirt worn under a motorcyclist's heavy outer jacket. "We've built the prototype for a personal climate control system. It's a compact unit weighing about eight pounds, and it's mounted on the back of the cycle and connects to the battery. It drives cool or warm air via a hose connected to a vest the rider wears under his protective gear. A small keychain remote control unit enables the rider to control the unit."

Guttman, who's not a motorcycle enthusiast himself, said he came up with the idea after talking to friends who are bikers. "Around the time I was doing my Ph.D. in the mid-'90s, a friend of mine who is a motorcyclist visited me; he was all hot and sweaty from the humid Tel Aviv air. I looked at him and realized I could solve his problem," Guttman said. "I began to develop the idea in 1997, but we didn't formally establish the company until four years ago when we started raising funds.

"According to our plan, we hope to begin production during the second half of next year. People have come to us and said they love the idea. We had a visitor from Canada and he was thrilled at the heating aspect," said Guttman. "In cooling, we have no competition, but in heating there are heating blankets and active heating with lots of electrical wiring over the body. However, there's a psychological aversion to that, which our system solves."

Guttman explained that the temperature-controlled comfort that Entrosys is providing to bikers is just a means to an end. The ultimate benefit is making motorcycles safer on the road. "We're offering not only comfort but safety. When cyclists are hit with heat or cold fatigue because they're exposed to the elements, they lose concentration making them more susceptible to accidents. We give them a micro-climate, a nice comfort zone that will keep them alert," he said.

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