Egypt-Israel Gas pipeline sabotaged

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Posted on: 
27 Apr 2011
Egypt-Israel Gas pipeline sabotaged

An Egyptian pipeline supplying natural gas to Israel was sabotaged Wednesday near the northern Sinai town of El-Arish. "An unknown armed gang attacked the gas pipeline," a security source said. "Authorities closed the main source of gas supplying the pipeline and are working to extinguish the fire." Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon declared that Israel must work towards supplying its own energy needs. "In light of regional instability, we must accelerate the production of Israeli natural gas in order to reach energy independence," Ayalon said. Other officials echoed the call to speed production at the recently discovered Leviathan and Tamar gas fields off Israel's northwest coast. Israel receives 40% of its natural gas from Egypt, a key component of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries. Most of Israel's electricity is produced by plants that run on natural gas and when the supply is disrupted they must use other sources of fuel that produce substantially more pollution.

Bloody crackdown continues in Syria despite sanctions
An increasingly violent government crackdown on anti-regime protesters in Syria has resulted in widespread condemnation as leaders from major powers as well as the UN and the Arab League called on President Bashar Assad to halt the escalating use of force and implement reforms.

Iranian ties with Arab states has Israel worried
In a sign of warming relations between Iran and its former enemy Iraq, Justice Ministers from the two countries signed an extradition agreement on Monday in Teheran, a move sure to cause unease among other Arab governments worried about the growing power and aggression of the Islamic Republic.

Syria up for UNHRC seat despite bloodshed
Syria has a good chance of being elected to the UN Human Rights Council at a meeting on May 20, despite the bloody crackdown on protesters currently taking place there. Geneva based NGO UN Watch has initiated a campaign to raise awareness of the crimes committed by the Assad regime in an effort to prevent its ascension. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said that even thinking of Syria joining the UNHCR "is a moral outrage." Advancing Human Rights executive director David Keyes added that "if Syria is elected to the UN Human Rights Council, it will be yet one more indication of an organization that has totally lost its moral clarity and betrayed the lofty ideals on which it was founded."

Ties warming between Egypt and Hamas
Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas political bureau, is reportedly scheduled to visit Cairo for meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby. His visit to Egypt marks a clear intensification in the relationship between Hamas and the Egyptian interim government only weeks after another high Hamas official met with Egyptian officials. Meanwhile, Egypt recently released several Palestinian prisoners as a sign of cooperation with Hamas and are also considering opening up an unofficial "Hamas embassy" in Cairo. In addition, Hamas Foreign minister Osama Hamdan earlier this week said that there are ongoing discussions whether to open up the Rafah border crossing linking Egypt with the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.

Michael Douglas helps Jewish General
After a Jewish General Hospital first detected a cancerous tumor in the famous actor Michael Douglas' throat, the celebrity will headline for McGill University's annual Head and Neck Cancer Fundraiser on May 3, as a show of appreciation. Physicians at Jewish General found the tumor after American physicians had proclaimed him healthy. Today, after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments, the 66-year-old actor says he is cancer-free. Dr. Saul Frenkiel, co-chair of the annual fundraiser, and a head and neck surgeon, said Douglas' help will bring attention to important research in the medical field.

Israel 7th-most thriving country
Results of a Gallup poll released last week indicate that Israel is the world's seventh-most "thriving" country. Gallup classifies respondents' well-being as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering," according to how they rated their current and future lives on a scale from 0 to 10. Residents  of only 19 countries rated their lives well enough to be classified as thriving. These included Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Venezuela, Finland, Israel and New Zealand. The US finished twelfth, four percentage points behind Israel. Among Arab nations, the United Arab Emirates ranked highest.

Israel to cooperate on AIDS research
The State of Israel recently signed an agreement with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS in order to help in the fight against the devastating AIDS virus. Both the Foreign Ministry as well as the Health Ministry will contribute with their expertise and the amount of $250,000 to UNAIDS in an effort to battle the disease which is behind the death of several millions of people across the globe. UNAIDS officials expressed excitement and were eager to have Israeli expertise on their team as Israel's health system is seen as one of the best in the world.


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