Newsletter : 5fax0127.txt
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At Least Two Killed, 14 injured in Arad Bus Accident
At least two people were killed and at least 14 injured, one critically, in a bus
accident at the Arad central bus station Wednesday. Three people were moderately injured
and 10 others were lightly injured in the incident. All of the injured were taken to
Soroka hospital in nearby Be'er Sheva for treatment; the person critically injured was
evacuated by helicopter. An initial investigation into the accident determined the bus
driver lost control, swerved from his lane onto a sidewalk, and hit pedestrians.
Egged spokesman Ron Ranter said the 32-year-old bus driver apparently suffered from a
stroke and lost consciousness while driving. A few minutes before the accident the driver
told the dispatcher that he did not feel well.
Magen David Adom emergency medical teams arrived on the scene and found the two people
who were killed and the person who was critically injured trapped under the bus. A truck
with a crane that happened to pass by the scene aided in the rescue effort. The MDA Negev
regional director said the driver was found partially conscious with his head resting
against the steering wheel. He emphasized that to the best of his knowledge the driver had
no history of health problems, and passed periodic health tests.
Israel Warns of Nuke Development in Iran and Syria
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel warned of attempts by Syria and Iran to develop nuclear capability along with
upgraded missile systems. Although Iran and Syria have rejected the allegations, Israel
said the international community must deal with what could turn into a regional and global
threat. Israel has stepped up its warnings in recent weeks of the potential dangers posed
by Iran and Syria. In particular, Israeli officials warn that Iran could soon develop
nuclear weapons and they object to what they say were Syrian attempts to purchase upgraded
missiles from Russia.
Earlier this week, the chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency told a
parliamentary committee that by the end of 2005 Iran would have the technology needed to
develop nuclear weapons within several years after that. The head of Israel's
parliamentary security and foreign affairs committee, Yuval Steinitz told VOA, the
warnings are urgent. "The Iranian very ambitious nuclear program is combined with a very
ambitious ballistic missile program and the real aim of this is not becoming a regional
nuclear power, but a global nuclear superpower and if this will happen a dark curtain will
cover the Middle East and Europe and the rest of the world."
The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency (IAEA) has been looking into Iran's nuclear program,
but has yet to find clear evidence that Tehran intends to make nuclear weapons. Iran's
Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected the Israeli allegations and accused Israel of simply
trying to divert attention from its own nuclear program.
Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, but will neither confirm nor deny
their existence and has not signed on to the international nuclear non-proliferation
treaty. Israeli officials have also recently raised alarm bells about what they said were
plans by Syria to purchase upgraded weapons from Russia, in particular the SA-18 Igla
shoulder-fired surface to air missile. The Israeli warning came prior to a visit to
Moscow this week by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In Moscow, Assad denied that the
issue was under discussion, but also defended his country's right to buy what he called
Israeli security analyst, Shlomo Brum of Tel Aviv's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
said the SA-18 missile was not really new. He said he inspected one of them 15 years ago.
"When I was Israeli Defense Attaché in South Africa and the South Africans had
captured some of these missiles in Angola. We know it for the last 15 years and so I
presume we are quite capable of developing countermeasures against these missiles.
Brum added that such missiles in the hands of Syria or Syrian-supported terrorist
groups such as Hizbullah would present a challenge though it would not likely change the
balance of military power between Syria and Israel.
But, Yuval Steinitz said there is information that Syria is also attempting to acquire
nuclear capability, making the threat more complex. "This is a terrorist-supporting
country and if such a country will also get new ballistic missiles from Moscow or
anti-aircraft missiles and if such a country will be able to acquire nuclear capability it
will be disastrous for the Middle East and the entire world. He said both Syria and Iran
present a global threat and therefore the international community must act, adding western
governments should apply continuous diplomatic pressure, invoke sanctions and, if need be,
use force to deal with these dangers.
The United States already lists Syria and Iran as state sponsors of terrorism and has
imposed sanctions. Washington also said Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear
weapons and has not ruled out the use of force to prevent that from happening. The United
States also raised concerns about any Syrian attempts to purchase new weapons.
Survivors, World Leaders Remember Auschwitz
By Australian Broadcasting Company
Events to mark the liberation 60 years ago of the Auschwitz death camp have begun with
an ecumenical prayer service in a southern Polish village.
Around 100 people, including survivors of the camp, gathered in Harmeze, three miles from
Auschwitz, to pray for all victims of World War II.
President George W Bush said Auschwitz serves as a reminder to the world to oppose evil
and join forces in combating anti-Semitism. "It is a sobering reminder of the power of
evil and the need for people to oppose evil wherever it exists. It is a reminder that when
we find anti-Semitism, we must come together to fight it."
Vice-President Dick Cheney is one of 40 world leaders who will take part in ceremonies
marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The main ceremony will begin amid tight security later on Thursday at the memorial erected
to the memory of the men, women and children who died at the camp. Auschwitz was the
Nazi's biggest death camp. At least 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz, most of them
The Legacy of Auschwitz
By Samuel Pisar (Commentary)
Sixty years ago today the Russians liberated Auschwitz, as the Americans approached
Dachau. The Allied advance revealed to a stunned world the horrors of the greatest
catastrophe ever to befall our civilization. For a survivor of both death factories, where
Hitler's gruesome reality eclipsed Dante's imaginary inferno, being alive and well so many
years later feels unreal.
When the liquidation of the ghetto in Bialystok, Poland, began in August 1943, only
three members of our family were still alive: my mother, my little sister and I, age 13.
Father had already been executed by the Gestapo. Mother told me to put on long pants,
hoping I would look more like a man, capable of slave labor. "And you, and Frieda?" I
asked. She didn't answer. She knew that their fate was sealed, but she desperately wanted
to give me a chance to live, if only one in a million.
As they were chased, with the other women, the children, the old and the sick, toward
the waiting cattle cars, I could not take my eyes off them. Little Frieda held my mother
with one hand, and with the other her favorite doll. They looked at me too, before
disappearing from my life forever.
Their train went directly to the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau; mine to the no lesser hell
of Majdanek. Months later, I also landed in Auschwitz, still hoping, naively, to find
their trace. When the SS guards, with their dogs and whips, unsealed our cattle car, many
of my comrades were already dead from hunger, thirst and lack of air. At the central ramp,
surrounded by electrically charged barbed wire, we were ordered to strip naked and file
past the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. The "angel of death" performed on us his ritual
"selection": those to die immediately to the right; those fit for hard labor or atrocious
medical experiments, to the left.
In the background there was music. Near the central gate of the camp - with its
sinister slogan "Work Brings Freedom" - and dressed in striped prison rags like mine sat
one of the most remarkable orchestras ever assembled. It was made up of virtuosos from
Warsaw and Paris, Kiev and Amsterdam, Rome and Budapest. To accompany the selections,
hanging and shootings, while the gas chambers and crematoria belched smoke and fire, these
gentle musicians were forced to play Bach, Schubert and Mozart, interspersed with military
marches to the glory of the Fuhrer.
In the summer of 1944, the Third Reich was on the verge of collapse, yet the tyrants in
Berlin found no higher priority than to accelerate the "final solution." The death toll in
the gas chambers now reached unprecedented levels. My labor commando was assigned to
remove garbage from convoys arriving at a ramp near the crematoria. From there I observed
the peak of human extermination and heard the blood-curdling cries of innocent men, women
and children as they were herded into the gas chambers. Once the doors were locked, they
had only three minutes to live, yet they found enough strength to dig their fingernails
into the walls and scratch in the words: "Never Forget." Have we already forgotten?
I also witnessed an extraordinary act of heroism. The Sonderkommando - composed of
inmates coerced to dispose of the victims' bodies - attacked their SS guards, threw them
into the furnaces, put fire to buildings and escaped. They were rapidly captured and
executed, but their courage reanimated my will to live.
As the Russians and Americans advanced, those of us still able to work were evacuated
deep into Germany. My own misery continued at Dachau, with the same backbreaking slave
labor, bitter cold, hallucinating hunger and sadistic punishment as at Auschwitz. During a
final death march, while our column was being strafed by Allied planes that mistook us for
Wehrmacht troops and our SS guards hit the dust, their machine guns blazing in all
directions, I and some others made a break for the forest. A few weeks later, an armored
battalion of GIs brought me the gift of life and freedom. I had just turned 16.
In the autumn of their lives, the remaining survivors of Auschwitz feel a visceral need
to transmit to new generations the memory of what we have experienced in our flesh and our
souls, to warn our children that today's spreading intolerance, hatred, fanaticism and
violence can destroy their world as they once destroyed ours, that powerful alert systems
must be built not only against the fury of nature - a tsunami or hurricane or eruption -
but also against the folly of man. Because we know from bitter experience that the human
animal is capable of the worst, as of the best, of madness as of genius, that the
unthinkable, the unimaginable, remains possible.
In the wake of so many recent disasters and tragedies, a tide of compassion and
solidarity for the victims, a yearning for peace, democracy and freedom, seem to be rising
on all continents. It is far too early to evaluate their potential. Mankind, divided and
confused, still hesitates, vacillates, like a sleepwalker on the edge of an abyss. But the
irrevocable has not yet happened, our chances are still intact. Pray that we learn how to
(The writer is an international lawyer in Paris, New York and London, and the author of
"Of Blood and Hope." )
Hitler Film Wins Oscar Nomination
Can a film that humanizes Adolph Hitler win an Oscar? Oliver Hirschbiegel hopes so. He
is the director of "Downfall" ("Der Untergang"), a film about the last days of Adolph
Hitler's life, which was nominated for an Oscar on Tuesday as one of five foreign language
films. Few films have been as controversial in modern-day Germany as "Downfall," which
starred Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as Hitler. Some critics in Germany savaged it, though the
film industry newspaper Variety hailed it as "a powerful Gotterdammerung centered on the
last 10 days of the Fuehrer."
Hirschbiegel said he was surprised at the nomination. "My film is very controversial.
Are we as filmmakers allowed to depict Hitler as a man or are we supposed to depict him as
a monster. We owe it to the victims to show that this was not a demon from hell but a man
born in Austria and raised in Germany. I am very proud of this movie. It is my best
Variety said the film would "undoubtedly raise discussion in some quarters for its
coolly objective, humanistic approach to the characters and subject-matter. But as
thoughtful entertainment, cast in depth and going for the long burn, this is classy
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