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Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Toughest Tests

Israel 'trains Iraqi Kurd forces'
By Magdi Abdelhadi, Arab affairs analyst, BBC News

Arabs have long accused Kurds of co-operating with IsraelisThe BBC has obtained evidence that Israelis have been giving military training to Kurds in northern Iraq.

A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in northern Iraq, drilling Kurdish militias in shooting techniques.

Kurdish officials have refused to comment on the report and Israel has denied it knows of any involvement.

The revelation is set to cause enormous problems for the Kurds, not only in Iraq but also in the wider region.

Israel is seen as an enemy of Arabs and Muslims, both inside Iraq and elsewhere in Arab and Muslim countries.

<< Read about the War In Iraq

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Condemned Remarks
BBC News

Mrs Rinkel never told her Jewish husband her secretAn elderly German woman who kept secret her role as a Nazi concentration camp guard for more than 60 years has been deported from the US, it has emerged.

Elfriede Rinkel, who was married to a Jewish man, was described as a "nice, sweet lady" by those who knew her.

Mrs Rinkel's husband Fred was a German Jew who arrived in the US after escaping the Holocaust. He died in 2004, never learning of his wife's secret.

While in the UK, Liberal Democrat peer Jenny Tonge has been summoned for talks with her leader after saying her party was "probably in the grip" of the pro-Israel lobby.

Ms Tonge said: "The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they've probably got a grip on our party."

Gavin Stollar, a spokesman for the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, said: "I think her vulgar repetition and rhetoric means that her position within the party needs to be seriously reviewed."

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Humanitarian Hollywood
Source: PA

Movie stars Angelina Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commission for Refugees, and Brad Pitt are giving gifts of one million US Dollars (£530,000) each to two humanitarian organisations, Global Action for Children and Medecins sans Frontieres.

"Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt not only care, but more important, are taking concrete action to address the fact that there will be 20 million children orphaned by Aids by 2010, and millions more orphaned by tuberculosis, malaria and conflict or whose parents are sick and dying," Jennifer Delaney, US director for Global Action for Children, said.

Nicolas de Torrente, executive director of Medecins sans Frontieres, said the group appreciated the donation.

"Their generous gift will enable us to continue assisting people whose plight is often forgotten, such as those displaced by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Sudan, or those living and struggling with HIV/Aids," he said.

Meanwhile, Richard Gere said he hopes a film he is making in Bosnia will raise questions about why those wanted for the Balkans' worst wartime atrocities remain at large.

The film, Spring Break In Bosnia, about a pair of journalists hunting a Serbian war crimes suspect, is being shot in Bosnia and Croatia.

Director Richard Shepard said he also hopes the film "is asking a bigger question, which is why are there war criminals throughout the world who the world said they want to catch and yet they don't."

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Helping poor Indians crack toughest test
By Amarnath Tewary in Patna, Bihar

Underprivileged students in an Indian state where nearly half the population cannot read or write have been helped by a small, derelict training school in the state capital, Patna.

The private coaching school has attained a cult status among academics and students for consistently churning out students who crack arguably one of the world's most competitive exams.

Patna's four-year-old Ramanujan School of Mathematics is the brainchild of a local maths teacher, Anand Kumar.

Word has spread about his training school far and wide - some 5,000 students turn up from all over Bihar for a place in the school, run out of a thatched hut with fraying wooden benches and creaking tables.

Pictures courtesy of BBC News online.

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